You know in AA we have what amounts to a rule that we never pray for people.
Bill W, July 30, 1950 speaking to 3,000 at the first International Convention, Cleveland, OH.
Bill said this and then waffled, suggesting that maybe we could make an exception for Dr. Bob who was seriously ill. Bill was, of course, human too and thought that just this once we could tell God what to do, rather than asking God what to do. “Thy will, not mine be done.” The Big Book makes it clear to avoid selfish prayers—selfish simply defined as whatever I want to happen. Some day it will be God’s will that I cease to exist and I would sincerely hope that no AA group or individual is praying that that be otherwise.
Many of our members belong to “faith healing” forms of religion and that’s just fine. AA, however, has no opinion on this belief. By asking for prayers for people at some of our meetings, we may well be giving the impression that we do. Since I was confused, I turned to my co-sponsor, “Handshake” Ralph asking just what we should pray for these people. Ralph got his nickname since he shook everyone’s hand at a meeting and somehow remembered everyone’s name. Ralph was also a former mathematical physicist for NASA and like many super bright folks often had simple answers to hard questions. “I just pray that they may come to accept whatever God’s will may be for them,” he answered. This seemed like a plan in keeping with AA principles and I’ve used it since.
When I came to AA, my home group asked if there were “any home group members sick or in the hospital that we could get a card out to or go visit.” This also seemed like a good idea. Praying for someone may give me a warm feeling, but a card or visit would give them a warm feeling too. Other groups had like requests. But then we ran out of cards! Maybe it’s time to get back to basics.
Dave at the Cleveland Central Office has mentioned difficulties in getting folks to visit AA members in hospitals and nursing homes. Perhaps you know someone willing to do this. Could it be you? Call Dave.
By Bob M.