“Praying is like using a cell phone. Sometimes we have a clear communication or hear and be heard clearly. At other times there is no signal.” loosely quoted from “The Two Popes.”
Sometimes we think that prayer does no good. We don’t seem to have any answer and it seems that no one is listening. Sometimes we are in “the dark night of the soul” feel as if we are praying into a void.
All those feeling and doubts are our side of the prayer. God has not moved. God is still listening. We can’t “expect” to feel something all the time. That is not how it goes. Feelings get in our way. Put them aside and just know that prayer works. Prayer is a way to share those feelings with God. Don’t be afraid to complain about it seeming useless. Fuss if you feel that way. Tell God everything. God gets it. Just keep on praying.
There are times in our lives when we begin to think that God isn’t helping us….or that God isn’t even there. Those times are hard. From an early age I have felt that God was with me….most of the time. Sometimes when I am anxious and I can’t seem to “feel” God with me I am lost. I don’t know what to do. Is everything that I believed a lie? I am cast into a deep dark hole. I am in the “valley of the shadow of death.” I am not just anxious but afraid. My worst fears raise their ugly heads and take hold of me.
When I am like that I can’t pray. I am so far down that prayer won’t come. I am lost. Then I remember that I have a community of faith who pray daily and that their prayers rise like smoke to God and God reaches down to me and helps me. I may not “feel” his presence since feelings ebb and flow but he is there. And somehow I am comforted.
There are definitely times when we can’t pray for ourselves. That’s why we need others who will pray for us.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11-12 NRSV
For those of us who are Christian we will be seeing a great deal of this in the years to come. Time was when being Christian and going to church was necessary for social acceptance and a way to get ahead in the world. Needless to say…this has changed.
Things will not change all at once. Erosion will happen little by little in the hope that it won’t be noticed or argued against. If we don’t protest the small things eventually there will be nothing left.
Our culture has changed drastically and we a heading into a time when being Christian will be a detriment.How many of us are willing to be persecuted for the sake of our religion? It will certainly separate the wheat from the chaff. Already Christianity is being removed from areas of life where it has been present since the founding of this country. I think it will continue.
We must be ready to stand up for our beliefs in the face of opposition. Be ready!
Lord God, the people affected by Dorian need your loving and healing hands. Send your grace to uphold them. Their anguish is great. Give them peace and hope in the days to come. Remind us all to help where we can and be generous with the gifts you have given us. We pray to you in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Amen
It is a wonderful thing to care about others. Putting feet to the caring is the next step.
It is a wonderful thing to pray. Putting feet to the prayer is the next step.
Notice the girl in the clip. She is actually doing something.
Sometimes doing something is not possible but when it is… do it. Too often the caring stays in our minds and not in our actions.
Caring and praying are critical. Just remember to follow through with the next step.
Today as I watched the forecast for the hurricane I thought about how to pray about it. Normally I would just pray that the storm would not hit us but then I thought how selfish that prayer is. As I wishing that I would hit someone else? It does look as if it will land somewhere on the southern coast so I need to direct my prayers in a different way.
Lord, guard and keep all those who are in the path of Hurricane Dorian. Give them strength and courage during the storm. Help them as they recover from any damage and give them the strength to help others as well. Hold in your loving arms those in the tropics who have been hit so hard in the recent past and help us to aid them where we can. We pray in your Holy Name. AMEN
It is important to pray for people. Prayer is never wasted. It is, however, not right to substitute prayer for helping someone in a physical way. We can so easily push aside what we ought to do and just pray. Keep praying but do what is needed.
2 Rise up, O judge of the earth;
give to the proud what they deserve!
3 O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?
How much we would love for God to take out the people who hurt us. Just come with fire and wind and wipe them out. But no matter how much we want that it’s not what God is about.
However, we can learn something from the psalmist. God is not someone that we can’t talk to. He already knows all our secrets. He knows how much we want to have bad people get what they deserve. Tell Him that!
He know that we are angry because someone we love is in pain. Tell Him that. Ask Him why things are not fair. Tell Him how afraid you are of what is going to happen tomorrow. I promise you He can take it! God wants us to speak our minds. He is listening. He feels our pain and wants to dry our tears. Just talk to Him!
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
This is one of my favorite Psalms. When I am stressed I remember these words and they comfort me. I hope that everyone has some words from the Bible that they can member when they need help. I read these words out loud over and over as a mantra and they bring me peace.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
Sometimes trusting God is not easy. Sometimes things seem so bad that we think that God has deserted us. Sometimes we just want to fix things ourselves.
All of these are times when we have to pray fervently, listen and wait for God. God is with us through everything. He never leaves us. We are the ones who leave. Turn back to God.