In my professional field of economics, there is something called a Zero Sum Game.Â It happens when the only way for one person to win is for another person to lose.Â To leave the sum at zero, the gains and losses must be exactly equal.
Unfortuately, much of real life seems to be a zero sum game.Â Â When we encounter it, I don’t understand how prayer makes things better.Â
If there is one job opening and two devout Christians apply, why does it make senseÂ for both to pray the prayer, “Give it to me.”Â The implication of the prayer is that the other person should fail. The same principle applies to praying that one will win the lottery.
The zero sum result is especially true in sports.Â One team wins, the other loses.Â When the coach leads the team in prayer, he/she is praying for the other team to lose.
I would think this concept would be confusing to youngÂ people.Â They are trained, especially these days, to cooperate, work in groupsÂ and encourage each other.Â Â To then be told,Â ”We’re going to pray that we winÂ (and those others lose),” seems out of step with the value system they are being taught.Â
It would make more sense if people would limit their prayers to requests that did not make others worse off.Â For example,Â if there is no limit to the numberÂ of people that can reach enternity,Â one could pray for that.
Maybe during this season of flooding the best prayer would beÂ for all boats to rise.