The Temple of Good Will is one of many religious centers in the Brasília area dedicated to New Age philosophy. It is the most visited site in the country by Brazilian tourists. Even non-religious observers are fascinated with its pyramid shape and gigantic, suspended crystal.
As I entered the building, the attendant invited me to take off my shoes and to follow the black spiral path on the floor and to say a prayer till I reached the center of the room. “Then circle back on the white line to cleanse your soul. Say the prayers that go with your specific religion and if you don’t believe in anything that’s okay. Just think positive thoughts, which are the same thing as prayer.”
It sounded like a line from J. M Barries’ children’s classic: “ Just think happy things, and your heart will fly on wings.” Unfortunately, happy thoughts and prayer are not the same thing. Prayer is communion with the true and living God and involves complete surrender to His will and utter dependence on His power. If we relegate it to the realm of pleasant wishes, we relegate Him to the role of kindly fairy godmother, which is a character trait the Bible never gives Him.
It’s easy to see why the Good Will Temple is popular. It allows worshippers to keep God at a safe distance. A few twirls around the sanctuary floor, a few prayers for His blessing (no strings attached) and we can “fly” through the day feeling sanctimonious, all the while never bowing before His great power or recognizing his right to our lives. Sadly, this can be a reality even in the Christian Church. Lord, preserve us from half-hearted devotion and wimpy praying!