Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grappling with prayer

Tonight's theme at Alpha was prayer- something I could ponder and talk about for hours... I have changed the way I pray and what I pray for a lot since being a child.   Or maybe I haven't.   I used to pray for things I thought would make me happy- the main part in a play, a snow day, a horse.   Later I thought of more justified requests- financial security, love, health, my own children.   Because now I guess there are bigger requests to fill for my happiness.  Does God disapprove?   I don't think so.  I think he knows my heart is in the right place, though he may chuckle to Himself a little listening to me sometimes or He might cry with me as I ask Him why some mothers hurt or kill their own children, why kids bully other kids, why cancer takes the lives of good people with families who need them, why soldiers are returning from war without limbs, why some women who really want children can't get pregnant.   I don't think god " gives" this to us, as in that saying " god will never give us more than we can handle".  But as evidenced in all these circumstances, god does allow these things to happen.   Sometimes He intervenes as if to say " keep praying- it works" or " I really am here" but I am not one to shy away from the hard questions and the truth is sometimes He doesn't stop seemingly horrible things from happening, so what about those times?  I really don't know but I heard a song today that touched at this question.   For the whole effect, I recommend the music video, but these are the lyrics

 We pray for blessings

We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Monday, September 3, 2012

It's ok...

"It will all be ok in the end.   And if it's not ok, it's not the end."  - Paulo Coelho

I wonder how many times us parents have uttered these words to our children, as infants who wake up crying for one reason or another or no apparent reason at all, to our toddlers and young children who fall down or crash their bicycle, to our teenagers who suffer a broken heart.  Even as an adult I yearn for this reassurance from my parents at times.  It's ok; it will all be ok...

Being the mother of a newborn again, we are back to have crying be the main form of communication and sometimes my newborn (and my toddler also for that matter) cry for no apparent reason.  Or sometimes they may be worried or scared or hurt or angry but I, the all-knowing mother, ; ) can see that really it is all ok.

Even when my newborn cries because she's hungry or needs changed, I know what she needs and don't even really need her to cry to tell me.

And I wonder about how people often compare God to a parent and wonder if God really is like a parent if our prayers to God are kind of like a baby's cries.  That really God already knows what we want and God also already knows what we need.  I often think that prayers are really more for us, to remind us that we're not alone, that God is there, and that S/He is holding us, nomatter what we're doing or where we go.  It reminds me of Lucia when she cries and cries and then finally calms down and rests cradled in my arms- it's that moment when her will meets mine and she is comforted and at peace.

As I've learned over the years that my plan for myself is probably not ultimately the best for me, I have changed the way I pray and find that rather than asking for whatever I think I want, I just pray "Your will be done." and ask for peace, grace and comfort for myself or those that need it, (which is really asking myself and others to be open to it because God as a perfect parent will offer it regardless.)

I still don't understand a lot of things that happen in this world- child abuse, cancer, torture, and all kinds of other painful, horrible experiences people go through.  But I do believe that when we give these things over to God and give ourselves over to God, that we can become vessels of something much greater than we ever imagined.  We can turn tragedies into stories of inspiration and hope. 

Whatever I am called to face now and in the future, I just pray I can be a little more like my peaceful, sleeping girls, resting in God and trusting without a doubt, it really is ok.