This particular post is a day late but the reason is that I was waiting for a finish. The Voice is an American television program that is classified as a reality show, one of the few that actually is aired in real time about real people with real results all based upon…a voice.
Last night was the finale, the last program in a series of twelve weeks and over twenty programs that aired regarding thousands who competed. The premise is simple: What truly counts for a singer is their voice. Hundreds of local and regional judges hear contestants at local levels and the competitors go through an elimination process until almost one hundred make it to the show’s airing of auditions. The field of hopefuls is narrowed down to a group of twenty-four who ultimately take part in the team and individual competitions. The final four compete in the two-part grand finale, having spent months going through this process with the four industry-seasoned judges who act as role model and mentors.
This year’s field of hopeful singers included men and women who were over fifty years old as well as aspiring fifteen-year-olds. One was blind and another told of escaping an deadly airplane crash as a teenager. One contestant sang and all four judges turned their chair wanting to see the soprano voice who had hit every pitch perfectly and then were amazed to see a man standing there, a man over six feet tall that seemed more suited to the position of linebacker rather than vocalist. During the months of competition and proceedings, one male teenager had his voice change, learning to sing in his new range on national television.
While the program aired fall through the beginning of winter, these vocalists spent almost a year in the process necessary to become a contestant on this program. As the seasons changed, their experiences underwent changes and eliminations. Some moved on and others moved out. AS in life, the seasons of their experience with “The Voice” left some feeling depleted while others went home renewed in their passion to sing.
Last night was the finale and no one was surprised that one of the biggest surprises during the audition phase took him the crown. The guy with the highest range and biggest presence also had the biggest prize. He gained the title of winner on the television program and a recording contract but the biggest win was his acceptance of himself, knowing it was okay to be unique with his talents.
I wanted to wait to post this until the conclusion of the program because we all have a voice when it comes to prayer and… if you believe in prayer, then you will also be a winner. Someone asked me about answers to prayer. They were not asking if I believed in our prayers being answered or if I had ever gotten any. They were asking why their prayers were not answered the way they wanted.
I will remind you that nowhere on my bio does it say I am an expert and certainly I am not a theological wizard that has all the answers. I describe myself as a pilgrim in life and I firmly believe I am. I explore many facets of life but, for me, they all connect to my spiritual beliefs, some of which are religious.
I also believe that supplications, the prayers in which we ask something or for something, are just one form or type of prayers. Having said all that as one big caveat, I am not going to refuse to answer the question, though. I am just trying to explain that this is just my opinion and not fact.
I do think prayers are answered and I do believe I have received such answered. I think my voice has merit, though it is imperfect. I believe all our voices are imperfect. The winner of “The Voice” last night sang almost impeccably during his quest but there were a few missed notes and phrases. None of us are perfect. Yet, that voice of his (and yes, it was a male who took home the title and crown) was heard and loved. I think our prayers are as well.
Parents may very well be the only group of people that ask questions to which they are positive they already know the answer. “Who broke my favorite vase?” “Who ate all the cookies?” “Who ate my bedroom slipper?” “Who left the light on?” Having been a parent, I’ve asked my fair share of such questions and, occasionally, I was surprised with the actual answer.
The fact is that we seldom ask questions to which we are positive we know the answer. When parents ask questions like those above, they seldom are really listening to any answer they received. They have already decided the answer and are asking for dramatic effect before issuing the punishment or consequence.
When we pray, we usually know the answer we are hoping to receive. The reality is that we do not control those answers and sometimes what we think might be the best outcome might not be the best ultimately. We are not all-knowing.
Someone asked me about the correlation between prayer and humility. When we pray we are acknowledging we are human; we are not deities or supreme spirits. We humble ourselves in the presence of that god or goddess and confess to being infallible and not all powerful. We do not control the reality show that is life. The voting on what happens is not fixed and we have to accept the results. We try to create positive results but ultimately, we are merely contestants on the stage of our living.
So why bother to pray? One of the final nine contestants on the program, a bright, cheery, angelic fifteen-year-old lad with cherubic curls all over his head, was thrilled at his experiences. Rather than be devastated at going home before the finale, he was bubbling with the thrill of his experiences. “I thought we were wasting the gas to go to that first competition” he explained. Doubtful of his talent but emboldened by his belief in singing, he competed. He took part and became a household name and fan favorite. Without ever having had his first date, he became the sweetheart of an entire country of fans.
The Voice contestants sing before the backs of judges. There is no eye contact, no swaying with clothing or hair styles. The only “it factor” is the voice of a hopeful. It is a wonderful analogy for prayer. We stand, sit, walk, or kneel before that which we can feel but not see. Our only talent is our faith, evidenced by the voice through which we pray. It is not perfect not does it need to be. It just needs faith. Somebody to love us while we climb life’s mountains…Prayer is our stage on which we garner attention and guidance. When we lift our voices, we pray. In prayer, there are no losers.