One day, the Devil, who was known for his craftiness, was thinking up new ways to block God’s efforts towards human salvation. He wanted to come up with a sure-fire strategy that no one would ever suspect.
The Devil felt most threatened by God’s interjecting suffering into the lives of human beings.
He knew what men and women on earth didn’t know—that God permitted suffering so that people would turn their attention to that which was beyond mere worldly concerns and seek a heavenly life. (After all, one’s spiritual destiny involved an eternal reality rather than a finite terrestrial existence spanning a mere handful of decades.)
Also, human beings consider themselves to be evolving rather than being in a “fallen” or atrophied state. The Devil knew that this put God behind the “eight ball” because alerting humans to their self-delusion would be met with intense aversion and rebellion by all worshippers. But the Devil still wanted more guarantees.
It was just then that the Devil came up with a brilliant scheme to keep human eyes off the ball. He decided to promote a special kind of prayer!
He invented an insidious new way for people to pray. He would sneak into the hearts and minds of the human race and steer them into praying for God to remove all kinds of worldly suffering.
The result was that people started to pray only for things that would give them personal comfort and relief. Like praying for the health and welfare of loved ones (as if God needed prodding) rather than for their spiritual welfare. Or, to pray to God to make their favorite sports team win the championship. Even praying for the earliest and biggest tomatoes on the block to grow from their garden.
The Devil knew that this kind of prayer would not only put the kibosh on people approaching their personal pain and sufferings as an opportunity for real spiritual growth, but would even make people blame God if their flawed prayers went unanswered.
The Devil was pleased with this “double whammy.” He knew that rather than being tested, people would choose comfort and would continue to pray for the world to be as they would like it. This kind of prayer was in total opposition to the way that Jesus taught the world to pray—that “Thy will be done” (not “my” will be done).
The Devil broke out into great laughter because he well understood that humankind would not accept God’s non-terrestrial conditions for true happiness, preferring that physical life on earth should always be a paradise and utopia. People want to trust their own prudence rather than trust in God’s providence. Because of this, the Devil was delighted to give them what they want—misdirected hope!