You might ask how I, a non-believer, can give a sermon. Well, you have a point, but I’ll do it anyway. I believe that believing is the original sin, so I don’t believe. That will not stop me from preaching here.
The topic of this sermon is: should you pray for help? Some people, when faced with a problem, pray for help. Some even believe that the god they are praying to must help them if they only pray hard enough (and if they are still not successful, witchcraft or the devil must have been involved). The idea seems to be related to that of a vending machine: throw in a coin and out pops a bar of chocolate. Or bribe somebody and he has to do what you want. Pray really hard and god must help you.
If there is no god, that idea is silly. If there is a god, then it is blasphemy. I conclude that one should not pray for help at all.
Instead, suppose your Creator (be that god or evolution or whatever) has already sent you all the help you are ever going to get from there. Actually you will now see that the help package you have received is really great:
Just look into the mirror. You have legs to walk and hands to work. Your hands are, in a way, universal tools. Pre-stone-age people just picked up some stones and sticks and made tools, and with those made some other tools and so on … and with those made machines and all the technical stuff you know. They just started with sticks and stones and their hands.
You have ears to hear and eyes to see and a few other senses. Best of all, between your senses and your hands, you have a brain, containing a mind. This mind is another universal tool. It is creative. It can make sense of the senses and make plans for your actions. It can learn anything. Look into the internet or go into a library or learn a profession or talk to people to find out all the things known already that you might learn. And use your ability to analyze and think and invent, use your creativity to find new ways.
Your brain and mind come without an instruction manual. The message of that is that you can use it for anything, but you have to figure out yourself how to do that. No god will tell you how to use it. I repeat: unlike other complex tools, you get this tool without a manual. So follow that “no-instructions”-instruction and use your brain in a creative way. Unlike the brain of most animals, your brain is not pre-programmed.
Don’t let any guru step in to program it for you, you got your creativity for doing that job yourself!
Don’t just take what I am telling you here. Be skeptic of what I am telling you here! If you have sound arguments against what I am telling you here, post a comment. Discuss. Take nothing for granted. Think! Think yourself!
If you have a problem, think and learn. Train your brain. A lot of knowledge exists already. Go and find it.
Moreover, you are part of a community and a society. You are equipped with empathy and other social abilities that enable you to team up and cooperate with others. Your ancestors invented a language and your community has taught it to you, so you can communicate. Turn to others and then solve the problems together. Communities are not for praying together but for helping each other and cooperate. Also, look at what institutions have been created already to help you solve your problems. Maybe start a new one. You are also equipped with the ability to reproduce, so that the community will not become extinct. What do you want more? From that perspective, praying for help looks like a childish attitude. Grow up instead.
Eventually, try to become wise. The wisdom comes from inside you and from interacting with others, with the world and with your problems. It does not come from any divine revelation or supernatural spark of light that is suddenly switched on in your head. It comes as a result of varied experiences over many years. Wisdom enables you to make the right choices, to distinguish those things that lead to happiness and a god life from those that don’t.
If there is a god, why should it miraculously intervene and send some help in your way to take your problems away, when you have already received the most marvelous help package that can exists: universal tools in the form of creativity, intelligence and the ability to learn, hands, senses and the ability to form communities, to build up, use and share knowledge and help each other. Ask anybody for help, but not god.
If there is no god, you have to find your way using that same “equipment” anyway.
Waiting for divine help will make you passive and stop you from building solutions. You are all the help you are ever going to get from whatever created you. You are the solution. You are the way yourself.