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The Power of Prayer

In Church and State, Gratitude, prayer on April 22, 2010 at 9:37 am

Every person of faith I know at one time or another has questioned, “Does God answer our prayers?” It’s a fair question. I don’t really consider prayer as a DJ request line to God where all we have to do is ask and it is given. Instead I consider prayer a way to organize and focus our thoughts.

Prayer is what gives hope in seemingly hopeless situations. Prayer is how we pause and reflect on the direction our paths will take us. Prayer is our way of getting in touch with our Creator.

When I was in high school, every morning following the announcements, we had a moment of silent meditation. It was an opportunity to gather my thoughts for the day ahead. Some people finished their last-minute homework, some just counted seconds until it was over, but indeed some of us prayed. I imagine some prayed for an A and some prayed for a sweetheart to ask them out. I contend the outcome to such prayers had little to do with the prayer and more to do with free will and choices. Those who studied got As and those who interacted with the sweetheart got asked out.

So why pray? Why bother if we are autonomous creatures who are going to ultimately make our own choices?  Why do answered prayers seem to be answered so randomly and illogically? Everyone has a story of someone who was terminally ill and when they lived credited their survival to the power of prayer. That never quite sat well with me because I think it minimizes the prayers of others who didn’t survive their illness. Were their prayers unheard or any less valuable? Or perhaps the answer was not the expected answer. Life, yes, in eternity. A woman I knew well passed away a few years ago after a long battle with cancer. Never did she feel God was ignoring her. Her final hours were spent praising life, not lamenting unanswered prayers. She was surrounded by loved ones. A true tribute to life and her Creator.

Prayer is not a fast food menu where we see what we want, order it and drive forward with a few bills to get it wrapped and ready to consume. In the movie Bruce Almighty, when Jim Carrey’s character is overwhelmed with prayers, he simply says yes to all of them. It’s pretty humorous. I thought the “winning the lottery” prayers were priceless. Everyone won something like $1.00.

I think we confuse getting what we want with having our prayers answered.  Prayer is the way we organize our wishes, hopes, fears, ideas and thoughts and offer it up to a higher power.  It is our way to humanize our communication with God, the way we feel heard.

Earlier this week, I seriously contemplated closing down this blog and the accompanying Facebook page. I said several prayers asking for guidance. I didn’t feel like it was accomplishing the original goal of two-sided (or more) communication.

Yesterday, I wrote a post about a truly blasphemous “prayer” and we had the highest readership we’ve ever had. The email and support Lifted on Eagle’s Wings has gotten humbles me. I believe that people do want dialogue, we do want to listen to each other and we do want to walk forward.  I am renewed.

I believe in prayer. Amen!

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  1. My pastor once said that he believes prayer is a “largely human conversation.” I liked that notion, not because it invalidates a communion with God, but (for me, anyhoo) supports the notion that God is always with us, in us, so the conversations we have through prayer are mostly for us. God already knows, we just need to find a way to listen.

    For years, I didn’t think it was ok to pray for anything for myself. I never tried to suss anything out through prayer. I thought prayers were golden nuggets only intended for others. That’s changed over the years, but I have to say that what I feel when I pray for others vs. when I pray for myself (not necessarily for some goodie–just about my own crap), I feel far better.

    Studies have shown that ill people and their families who are prayed for fair better. Not necessarily healed, of course, but have a better overall experience. So, obviously there is something to this strange act we engage in. As far as “unanswered prayers?” I have always loved this line: Rejection is God’s protection. 🙂

    Babbling over! So glad to see you’re going to keep this site running.

  2. I have been going through some pretty rough financial times lately, I am not living retirement check to retirement check because I run out of money before the next one arrives and it is not a matter of budgeting because it is bare bones necessity living. While I am looking for work in various places, each month something comes along, a carpentry job or painting job or something else and I make sure to give thanks each time it does.

    I try to keep myself positive because I believe that a positive resonance radiates throughout the universe while negative ones dissipate close to the source.

  3. I always find interest in the experience and perceptions of others with regard to prayer. It seems each of us develops over time a personal way of communicating with God. There are those who attribute every little occurance in life to an answered prayer while still others call it coincidence.

    I appreciate the points made here by both CF and by FC in their comments. They are personal, individual, and work well for each. I know that some of my personal prayers have been “rejected” and probably for good cause. Still others have been answered profoundly. And, what a blessing is positive resonance for all in its aura. I am indeed grateful for those with whom I am acquainted who share their positive nature. It makes life so much more interesting.

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