Holy Week: Noragami and Treating God as a Genie, Part 2

I mentioned yesterday that at first, even our (generally) level-headed heroine in Noragami, Hiyori Iki, treats Yato with little respect.  Further, she looks to him to fulfill her own needs.  This is no surprise, of course, as she’s in a very unusual and confusing situation, and Yato has agreed to take her case, even taking payment from her.  Thus her communication with Yato early in the series is mostly focused on her desire for him to fix her troubling situation.  Hiyori’s focus is on her needs.

When we communicate with God, through prayer, we also often focus on our needs.  I imagine that many of us spend the bulk of, or all of prayer time, on our own concerns.  Instead of spending time in adoration, confession, and thanksgiving, we may put 80% of our prayer time (and an even higher percentage of our heart and desire) toward supplication.

Yato and Hiyori
Art by オットン (Pixiv ID 41664341)

How should we pray then?  While the answer to that question is multi-faceted, there’s one simple change that many of us can make, and one that I think we can see through how Hiyori changes as Noragami progresses.  She progresses her relationship with Yato, changing how she interacts with him.  Surely, some of this comes from learning a bit more about his fearsome past actions, but a lot of it comes with Hiyori learning more about Yato and his heart.  There’s fear there, but concern as well.  She begins to think more about Yato, forgetting her own needs and attending to the kami because she cares for him.

Instead of the static, person-to-object type relationship I mentioned yesterday, Hiyori’s relationship with Yato becomes dynamic and moving.  And that’s what we should aim for as well.  Even if we don’t have God speaking to us audibly, we do have responses from Him in His words, actions, and through circumstances, other people, and a variety of other conduits.  He is responding to us, but we have to have enough faith to trust Him as being there and listening to us.  If we have that, we perhaps wouldn’t speak to God as if reciting off a to-do list – after all, we’d never do that with the friends we see physically before us.

I encourage you during this week, especially, to try to focus on having a relationship with God that’s similar to Hiyori’s with Yato’s – moving, real, and developing.  And there’s no better place to start than by opening communication – and that, by prayer.


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