Prayer

Jesus in Pray

Jesus in Pray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It seems for me, impossible to stop praying the same prayers over and over again like a broken record.

When before I’ve always felt my prayers to be authentic conversation with God (God, my life is quite miserable today. Please do something about it.), after which I felt better once I uttered the familiar pleas almost trance like–now I feel quite silly when I start to pray.

I’m not sure whether this is because I’m “growing in faith” or “diminishing in faith.”

But I’m beginning to notice embarrassing patterns in my prayer life that should my prayers be thrown up on a screen for everyone to see, I might emphatically claim they’re not mine at all.

You see, I pray for things to be a certain way but only if it’s God’s will of course, and then when nothing turns out at all as I’d hoped, I thank God for knowing what is best for me, and then I try to re-examine my desires so that they might finally align with what would please God more, of course.

But it’s all turning out to seem like a little mind game I’m playing with myself to be able to sustain hope in the face of disappointment. “Oh God, please help this to work, if it’s your will.” “Oh God, it didn’t work, so please help me to not get stuck in this moment of disillusionment, not my will but yours, Lord.” “But God, really, what is wrong with me? Why are my plans not your plans and why do my plans fail and how do I really know how to plan according to your will, and how can I possibly pray in accordance with your will, for who can know your thoughts when your thoughts are so much higher than mine.”

So after all these years of praying, I really don’t know how to pray. It doesn’t seem right to pray for this or to pray for that, especially when there are so many people who don’t have half of what I have.  I should be praying that those who have less than me will finally have more.   But how can I give more when it seems I’ve given all I can want to give and that giving may not make any difference in the lives of others, especially if it makes me worse around them than I was on the inside now seeping out? I want more, but it doesn’t ever seem right to try to get what I want or to pray that God will show me how to get it, because why do I want it? What will I do with it? God knows I already turn my eye blind to helping those who look like on the outside they should be able to help themselves, I walk right past, because if I’m miserable, so should they be too.

The only thing I’ve ever earnestly prayed through is for the protection of my family and for the successful adoption of my husband’s siblings. I really believed that helping orphans was in accordance with God’s will. Is that why He answered my prayers? But from the point of a successful adoption on, nothing I pray really seems like it merits a direct answer. Nothing related to personal gain ever feels right to pray. Why? Are there certain prayers that are just wasted breath? For those who have children who constantly plead for the same things over and over again, until you are annoyed witless, I’m sure you’ve wondered if that’s how you sound to God. Since He’s all powerful, can he just turn off his ears to the noisy pleas of his children for bigger homes, better jobs, nicer cars, more prestige and worldwide recognition?  I mean are we SERIOUSLY asking God for more than what He’s already given and what we fool ourselves into believing we’ve gotten for ourselves?

At times before, because I was certain I could not trust my own motives, I would pray for God to purify my motives.  But not now.  I’m afraid of that prayer.  I accidentally prayed it last night.  “God, please change my heart’s desires to align with yours.”  What?!?  So if I changed my mind today about the whole wanting to live like Christ thing, will He answer my prayer of yesterday, against my ever-changing will?

What if I pray for sanity but God knows that a good dose of insanity will then help me to reach out to those who I would have otherwise written off as “not having it all together.”

“Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”  Isaiah 66:2

Is God still there looking on some of us with favor?  Do our prayers emerge from a place of humility and contrition?  Do we tremble at the thoughts of praying for things that may not be in accordance with God’s will?

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”  But I do NOT yet truly fear and much less tremble.

My daughter keeps asking me for a cat over and over and over again.  For her to have a cat would be against my will.  But she has also started praying to God for a cat.  Should I give  her a cat and pray that God will change my heart about having one?  Or should I keep ignoring her pleas and start praying that God will change the desires of her heart so that she will no longer carry the disappointment of not having one?

Your cat may be someone else’s burden.  And our prayers might be against God’s will.  Even so, come quickly, LORD JESUS!

 

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3 thoughts on “Prayer

  1. We have so much in common, it is amazing. I have even got a story about a daughter asking for a cat similar to yours. And I don’t know how to pray either. The Book of Common Prayer is a big help. And it also helps knowing how small He is – if that doesn’t sound bad.

    • No, I understand what you are saying. Thank you for relating to this piece. I will look into the Book of Common Prayer. I guess I do always fall back to the verse Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” I need to get back over to your blog and check into your new work on Galatians. Thank you for your comments.

      • Yes, Romans 8 is a big comfort. The Book of Common Prayer has written out prayers that I mainly find very helpful. They are, of course, not specific to our personal situations, but they are good for helping to get a wider perspective on things. I don’t use them as much as I should. Ideally, I would do the morning and evening prayer services. I have always aspired to lead a disciplined life and have always failed and someday….

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