Friday, March 27, 2009

Deep Thoughts

I have issues. Lots of them. But the issue this week that keeps rolling around like marbles in my head is that of prayer. I find myself on occasion dissecting in my head why I believe what I do, like breaking down a puzzle and examining each piece as I put it back together. This puzzle of faith.

It seems there is this waxing and waning of prayer, similar to a tide chart, that intertwines my thoughts. And when life gets really yucky I question why I pray. I think prayer can be broken down into a couple very simple categories...without getting into a theology session... I will break it down into these three: thanksgiving, supplication and repentance. The first and third are a piece of cake for me. It's easy to thank God for supplying our needs or our wants and it's easy to say thanks when things are seemingly going our way. It might not be easy to ask for forgiveness when we have done wrong but I find it not being a difficult process to understand. We may not like to apologize to God for our errors but it's a necessary part of prayer.

It's the middle one I get hung up on. Supplication. Letting our "requests be made known to God". Why do I do this? He already knows what I am going to ask before I ask it. He already knows the desires of my heart. He already knows the days planned out for me. He already knows what He is going to do. He already knows. Does my asking change God's mind? I don't know the answer.

You might be ready to walk away from your computer right about now, wonder if God may strike you down for reading my post and attempting to follow a train of thought I am heading down. Near blasphemy you might be screaming. But hang in there, it gets even deeper.

I have a friend with a family member who has walked away from Truth, put his family and children in jeopardy because of poor life choices. I have two more friends on the verge of loosing their homes because of the economy. My dad has been out of work for a year. I follow two other blog writers, one who's baby died and one who's baby is very sick right now, both writer's with a deeper faith than my own. I have another friend who lives in severe physical pain most of her days and another friend who died from a lifelong illness. I have a job in which I see and hear pain everyday. I myself have lived thorough significant pain in various forms. Our youngest child was in the NICU with very little promise of survival by all doctor's diagnosis. People from all over the world prayed for our son and our son lived. A miracle brat we call him now! But God chose to heal our son. If it were not for the thousands of prayers on our son's behalf, would God have still chose to heal him? What is the appropriate way to pray for things like this?

The Bible says to make our requests know to God. That He won't give us more than we can handle. That He will give us he desires of our heart. That He will supply our needs according to His riches in Glory. That He knows the plans He has for us. That He wants us to come to Him in prayer. I know all of these things. I know them. But why do I believe them? Why do I have to dissect the puzzle and examine each piece? I'd like to think that it's a good thing that I do this. That each time my faith increases. But I'm not sure that is true. Am I kidding myself by saying so?

I took a week long class on mental illness and this so called mental health expert said that people who claim they have a direct line to God have a mental illness. That those who say they can "hear God's voice" are just mentally ill and are usually paranoid or blah, blah, blah. She also said that we have evolved and that we used to be able to smell all of our organs within our body, blah, blah, blah. The discredit box in my head checked rather quickly once this stuff started spewing from her mouth. She held up a diagram of a brain labeled with all these complex systems the whole time she spoke about our brain evolving. Ironic, huh? At one point I wanted to raise my hand and declare myself mentally ill since I talk to God and that I openly admit to hearing His voice at times. But I was slightly afraid of her so I kept my mouth shut. I contemplated moving out of the room in case God struck her dead with lightening! But seriously? Seriously? Mentally ill for praying?

I have this desire for my kids to come up with a "better" dinner time prayer. Every night each child wants to pray at the dinner table, and each one says the exact same thing. "Dear Jesus. Thank you for this day, thank you for our food. Please help tonight to go well. Amen." and then the next kid says the exact same thing. I urge them to think outside the box, to become a bit more sincere in their dinner prayer instead of this memorized line that has become the easy standard. But what do I say when they ask why? I want to believe what comes out of my own mouth. I want to believe what I know to be Truth. So I continue to dissect. To let the marbles roll around and ponder.

So by now your asking, How much longer is this post going to be and what does she believe about prayer? And here are the answers. Not much longer. And can it be that prayer benefits the person praying more than it benefits God or his plans? I think it becomes an exercise to keep us in check with our Savior. To remind us of who is in control when our feelings fluctuate and our mind races with questions about the unknown. I'm not certain that by asking for God to heal an ill person until we are blue in the face that it means He will heal them. But I believe that prayer changes our mindset about what God chooses for the ill person. It allows us to accept the outcome of what God has already set in motion. It gives us a peace about the present, because this side of Heaven we wont always know the reasons for pain. For this reason I must fall back into these reminder from God's word.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:6-7

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9


1 comment:

  1. Hi, I just read this post and I loved being challenged in this way. I too have asked these questions and have come to the same conclusion. thanks for being so honest with your thoughts. These are the questions I can't wait to ask God about someday and I know the big picture will be revealed. In other words- we have no clue when it comes to the way God works.
    Miss you. I hope to call you Friday when I have some time to talk onthe phone. -Kristin