Some Thoughts On Prayer

I had actually wanted to do this a few weeks ago, but with not feeling well, well… It may be for the best, as over the last few weeks some points have been raised that I think may add to this. As always, these are only my thoughts and do not represent the official position, theology, or doctrine of any church. I am not a theologian so as with all things that are the word of man, take with a grain of salt.

Prayer is one of the most important and powerful things we can and should do as a part of Faith. It is an essential part of building our relationship with God, and it should be not merely a reflection of that relationship, but a means of deepening and expanding that relationship. It should be an exploration that becomes an exhortation within our soul.

There are many beautiful and wonderful prayers. The liturgical prayers of many churches are things of beauty and power, with the Nicene Creed (Creed of Constantinople) being the symbol of Christian belief and faith. Even with the issue of the Filioque, which I’m going to skip for now.

Prayer can and does bring about miracles, large and small. I have seen it, I have felt it, and I believe it. I have also seen prayer used in ways that can come across as grandstanding (at best) or as a weapon against faith.

The latter is one reason I tend to take Mathew 6:6 to heart. That bit of scripture is why I rarely post a prayer here or on social media. It is also because I have issues with certain forms of prayer.

The first of those forms is to demand God do what we want, how we want, and when we want (usually right now!). This is definitely not a new take on prayer, and man being man, it is as ancient as man. The problem with demanding a specific outcome, but also how and when it is to take place, is that it attempts to put us on the level of God. It may or may not be related to our tendency to see God as a superhuman rather than an entity that exists outside of time, space, and our understanding.

Thing is, things happen for a reason. It may be because we have free will and are stupid (Hey ya’ll, watch this!). Which is how lessons get learned. It may also be because something we do or experience will make a difference several generations from now. Remember, all of time and space are but one to God, who knows and sees all. Short version is, I do NOT know better than God what is right or needed for myself or anyone else. As such, I rarely pray for a specific outcome, for myself or anyone else. My own tendency is to go short and sweet, and in such cases I tend to ask to let that which is right to be.

Does that mean I would object if God were to heal me and make whole a rather battered body and mind? No, no it does not, not at all. In fact, I would (and could) dance a jig if that happened. The question, however, would be if that healing were the best thing for me, for my soul, and for God’s plan? That’s the key question, and the short answer is ‘I don’t know’ along with the fact I suspect it’s not. Strongly suspect even. Through prayer, I do have faith that what has and is happening has a purpose, meaning, and more. So, let that which is right be.

Which ties into another short prayer that I find opens doorways: I will to will Thy will oh Lord. It not only opens me up to the will of God, but also opens the way to a deeper and better understanding of Faith and faith. To the person who taught me that prayer years ago, if you happen to read this, thank you.

Unless it is a prayer of thanks, I have found short and open-ended works best for me. The times I’ve left things up to the Lord in addressing a need/issue, it has always worked out better than I expected. To use a potentially bad analogy, it’s like praying for a Mercedes-Benz. God may have been preparing to give you a Lamborghini, but if the MB is really what you want… Even during the aftermath of the last shoulder replacement, when the pain medication and other treatment were withheld by the night nurse, I did not ask for a specific outcome. I simply asked the Lord to help me, and began to pray the Rosary. Suddenly, it was as if a barrier dropped into place between me and the pain. Prayer answered.

I will note that words do matter. One of the sermon topics recently was in regards the blind man to whom Jesus restored sight. This one may well depend on the Bible translation you are using, but it is worth noting that the blind man asked Jesus to end the darkness, to deliver him from the darkness and restore the light. It wasn’t just about restoring his sight, but restoring his soul. Choose your words with care, and make them count.

One of the things I enjoy about the Church I’ve been attending since around the end of November, is that before the service on Sunday is a time of preparation. Not only of people getting ready and doing what is needed for the service, but also a time of prayer so that those attending the service can prepare themselves. I’ve been finding it a wonderful time for a variety of prayers and meditation on Faith and more. I don’t like what I see coming in this world, and as the song says I’m frightened for the children. I don’t see a way to stop things from going sideways, so I pray for God to do so.

I could ramble some more, but there is some food for thought here I hope. Just remember, prayer is not only a chance to ask God to help others and ourselves, but a chance to explore Faith, and to strengthen and deepen our relationship with God. It is not a pretty magic spell to get what you want; rather, an opportunity to gain that which you truly need the most.

PS: God does always answer prayers. Sometimes the answer is no. When that happens, I’ve always found it’s a good idea to examine what I was asking for. A selfish and/or self-centered prayer always deserves a no.

2 thoughts on “Some Thoughts On Prayer”

  1. Prayer does indeed work, and it can produce miracles.

    My wife has the prayer teams of 4 different churches praying for her, as she recently started kidney dialysis, and although a live kidney was donated on her behalf a week and a half ago, it was not a match and she was told it might take up to 6 months for a matching-tissue kidney to be donated by someone that could be transplanted into her.

    She got a call this past week from the transplant center, who told her that they had found a donor who was a match, *and* that they had *never* seen a match like that come through so quickly.

    Her transplant operation is scheduled two weeks from now.

    Miracles do happen. And praying makes them happen.

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