OK, let’s begin by saying that I am a dog guy. I don’t like cats so much (I’m allergic and they’re aloof). This post has nothing to do with my appreciation or lack thereof for animals or those who love them. A couple years back, when our 14 year old Yorkie, Princess was sick and eventually died, I did not pray for her. I did pray for my family, however.
But this is becoming a topic of discussion and a disconcerting issue for me. For those of you who aren’t aware, we live in Palm Beach County, Florida which is, shall we say, an interesting place in which to live. It is not uncommon to see dogs at the mall, wearing jewelry, in baby strollers, or riding (not driving) in a Mercedes Benz. I have seen dogs in upscale restaurants. And yes, we even have people who bring their dogs to church. We do not, however, include them in attendance numbers.
On a weekly basis, we receive prayer requests for animals. I’m dead serious. These do not come from children, they come from adults. The requests range from arthritis to digestive problems to sight and hearing problems (no fleas requests yet). To top it all, last week we were asked to perform a memorial service for the dog of someone who attends our church. We politely declined. Doggonit!
I don’t pray for dogs (ok, on occasion, I have prayed for a child’s pet – but for the benefit of the child).
Only people are created in God’s image. Regardless of how much humans are devalued in our culture, in God’s eyes, they are more important than animals. Jesus died on the cross for humankind, not animals. I cannot seriously go to God’s throne in prayer on behalf of an animal. While I care very much for what is important to people, the provision of God’s mercy and grace at the cost of the blood of Jesus cannot be relegated to animals.
For the record, I despise animal cruelty and abuse. There is never an excuse for mistreating an animal. And we have done a miserable job of caring for our world – we are destroying natural habitat at an alarming rate. But I can’t bring myself to pray for your sick hamster.
Here’s the way I look at it: once all the people in the world are saved and healed and clothed and fed, then maybe we will have time to start praying for the animal kingdom.
Please don’t call the Humane Society on me. I’m afraid they’d have to put me down.