i’m not praying for your dog

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.

9 Replies to “i’m not praying for your dog”

  1. Well, you are a brave soul 🙂 Very well said…..I only hope it was not our family requesting the healing for their dog!! LOL

  2. Just my thoughts…I believe as a pastor you have so much to pray for that praying for animals may not be time well spent. I also believe that having animal memorials is showing too much honor. Considering Jesus wasn’t even concerned with burying family…because His work for living people was / is much more important (Luke 9:59 ~60). Our time should be spent serving the living, not necessarily mourning the dead (human or non-human).

    However, if my dog is sick, I will and do personally pray for him. I believe God created animals, in particular domestic animals as companions for us. Animals didn’t end up being a good enough companion for Adam, so He created Eve…but still a companion (Gen 2:18 ~19). Since my dog is a companion, I’ll pray that I can keep Him and he will stay healthy. Fully understanding that my dog shouldn’t take priority (i.e. we need to be like Abraham, not be too attached to any living thing over God). This being said, I don’t pray for my dog every day…just if he’s sick.

  3. Rick great job fitting in the gospel into a blog about sick animals! I’d bet not too many pearchers can say that. Well done!!

  4. Here’s a somewhat humorous post script. A week or so ago, a new guest at our church informed one of our leaders that, if we offered pet sitting during services, our attendance would increase. Many folks do not like to leave their dog at home during church services.

    I am thinking we may start some new small groups: one for dogs, one for cats, one for dogs that hate cats, etc….

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