One way or the other everybody will pray. This was driven home to me on the finale of the much talked about show Breaking Bad. It was my little secret that I became a huge fan of the show. It’s not a show for the fainthearted, and it might shock you that I liked it. I’m sure most of my readers don’t watch it so let me sum it up for you. The show is about an overqualified high school chemistry teacher who gets cancer and due to his pride devises a scheme to pay his medical bills and give his family a nest-egg after he dies. The strategy involves cooking meth and ultimately becoming a drug lord, overthrowing the cartel. There is a lot of violence, drug use, illicit sex and murder.
Though the show taught me a lot about depravity, I never thought that I would see the main character praying. That is what is so great about the show; it is always shocking you and taking twists you never saw coming (even though you tried to guess). Walt prayed. Most people missed it, but there was no other explanation. It was like a moment of reality when he found himself surrounded by the local police, yet not ready to surrender his freedom. He took in his situation and knew that it would take a miracle to get away. True to character, he said out loud-without addressing God by name—“Get me out of here and I will take care of the rest.” I didn’t say it was a good prayer, but it was a prayer.
Walt, who many people said was the devil, prayed like the devil. Isaiah 14:12-15 contains the five “I Will” statements of Satan.
“I will ascend to heaven. I will raise my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds and I will be like the Most High.”
Walt’s prayer was answered as the key to a snow covered car that concealed his whereabouts dropped down from the car visor. Walt did take it from there. He didn’t stop to thank God or consider what God might direct him to do. Rather he made one last stand by visiting his family, accomplishing a seeming impossible task involving getting money to support his family after his death and then unintentionally freeing a person he had left in bondage. He seemed to die satisfied that he had made the best of a bad situation. The manner of his prayer made me think of the CS Lewis quote: “Man will either say to God; ‘Thy will be done;’ or God will say to man ;‘thy will be done’.”
The fictional character of Walt definitely did his own will. It was a sad, but realistic ending. Fans of the show pondered how it would end, and I must say that dramatically speaking I found the ending satisfying. The more realistic ending would be to witness Walt in the afterlife experiencing what he really did. He was so desensitized to the lives he was destroying along the way. It would be interesting to have all the people whose premature deaths were associated with his actions line up in front of him. The saddest reality is that he was a man who had it all, a loving family who would have found a way to cope and carry on with good memories of him after his death. He ended up leaving them shell-shocked with a small fortune that could never give them what they lost by his actions.
The story demonstrates that our whole lives are prayers whether we realize it or not. The question is, do we pray like the devil—I will, or like Jesus—Thy will?