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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

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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Dear Lord

In Recent Headlines on April 21, 2010 at 8:41 am

There is a new group on Facebook that at the time of this writing has 454,520 members. The title of the group is:

DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN

I saw this group as a handful of my friends had joined it. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, because the founder of the group insists:

… it’s a F[***]ING JOKE, people! for the last time, i seriously doubt any of the people who responded to me would have said a damn thing about the same joke being used on W (well, except maybe to agree with it and laughing).

I’m not quite certain where I want to begin with my criticism. I’ll start with something simple like spelling and typing in all CAPS. I would think if Patrick Swayze and Farrah Fawcett were favorite actors, the group founder would know how to spell their names correctly.

People who don’t like President Obama also tend to take their prayer pretty seriously. I find nothing f***ing funny about invoking the Lord’s name to pray for someone’s death. I’m pretty sure God isn’t laughing, either. As to the favorite celebrities? Kinda hypocritical here, as well.

Patrick Swayze’s breakout role was as Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing. His character had sex with an underage virginal teenager and he helped his friend get an illegal abortion, while dancing to the fabulous music of the early 60s. In Point Break, he wore the mask of Ronald Reagan while he robbed banks. In To Wong Fu Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, he portrayed a cross-dressing drag queen that riles a homophobic small town sheriff. Favorite actor, huh? I assumed a teenager who didn’t abstain, a friend who got an abortion, a mockery of conservative hero Reagan and blatant cross dressing would be offensive to such folks.

Farrah Fawcett was a bit more believable as a favorite choice. She also portrayed a woman who killed her abusive husband in The Burning Bed. In Small Sacrifices, she portrayed Diane Downs, a cruel, abusive, and neglectful parent who had been in trouble with the law before. Further investigation on the 28-year-old woman uncovered a troubled home life, surrogate pregnancies, a messy divorce, and an affair with a married man. Favorite actress, huh?

Michael Jackson, really? Michael Jackson who died from massive illegal drug prescriptions? Michael Jackson who carved his God-given body up with plastic surgery? Michael Jackson who had countless accusations of child molestation and Michael Jackson who dangled his baby from a balcony? Favorite singer, huh?

I suppose I should celebrate the open-minded nature of having such celebrity idols. Who knew that the conservative faction in our country finds such portrayals of immorality so entertaining?

I suppose what bothers me is not so much the choices, because honestly, I’m a fan of all of them. I “had the time of my life” with Dirty Dancing, I wanted to be one of Charlie’s Angels, and as teen, no dance was complete without several Michael Jackson songs. This is more a criticism of the conflicting messages. It’s in extremely poor taste to claim favorites only because they died last year, along with a snarky remark about a favorite president. It makes me cry more than it makes me laugh. To borrow from the founder,

… it’s not a f***ing joke, I would not have laughed about the same joke being made about W, I would have written something similar to this.

Like it or not, problems do not end with the death of someone. I’m more about figuring out ways to live effectively in each moment. Perhaps if the f***ing joke makers spent a little more time making change instead of jokes, they wouldn’t have to feel so ineffective as to pray for death.

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