A few days ago I checked in with a friend who has been contemplating changing jobs. While we were talking she mentioned that she is cleaning our her basement and wanting to get rid of a bunch of stuff. Since I am in the midst of the same thing, I broached the subject of having a joint yard sale, but I told her I wanted to pray about it first. This is not because I am super-spiritual. I have just learned that it makes a difference when I pray about stuff. Sometimes things that seem like such great ideas to me, do not seem quite as great after I talk to God about them. But I was really leaning toward doing this yard sale and decided to make sure I prayed about it before I got back to my friend. Finally last evening I went out to my sacred space in the backyard to write in my prayer journal. I became aware of the fact that I really did not want to spend 10-15 hours of my life peddling my castoffs to people. But I realized that even if I made a couple hundred dollars, it still would not be worth it to me to use those hours of my life in that way. One thing I felt God “saying” to me what that he would take care of my friend.
When I called my friend to tell her today that I was not going to be doing the yard sale, she mentioned that another friend on her street is having a sale this weekend and she thought she might put some stuff out since the other friend advertised her sale already. To me, that was an affirmation that it was not up to me to make sure this friend got rid of her stuff. It’s also this weekend instead of next weekend, which may work even better for my friend.
I know some would say that it was I myself who had the thoughts and solved the problem. That there was no God involved. But I’m having more and more experiences where I sense God responding to me. Since I am using a prayer journal, I write down everything I “hear” and I would have to say that there seems to be an “other” who says the things I hear. That “other” is God. This season in my Christ-following life is the most vibrant, most alive, most exciting time I have ever experienced. I feel like I am in a relationship now, rather than trying to plod along in a religion. I invite your thoughts on the subject.
5 thoughts on “A Thought About Prayer”
What an encouraging post. I need to pray more often about stuff before I do it. Maybe God would have told me NOT to take my 4 young children to a “concert” tonight to rescue girls out of the sex-slave trade in India? A good cause, but a lot of words and issues my kids haven't been exposed to before 😦 And a lot more talking than music.
“I invite your thoughts on the subject.”
Thanks for that invitation, Siouxsie.
“I know some would say that it was I myself who had the thoughts and solved the problem. That there was no God involved.”
I say that you had the thoughts but don't translate that to 'there was no God involved'.
“But I'm having more and more experiences where I sense God responding to me. Since I am using a prayer journal, I write down everything I “hear” and I would have to say that there seems to be an “other” who says the things I hear. That “other” is God.”
The way I see it, God isn't outside of you. Rather, God is inside of you — inside of everyone, everything. Alpha and Omega, etc. God has always been there, and you are now just tuning in. Yet, God isn't separate from you. You are an expression of the Divine. Does it mean you are God? No. God is YOU…and so much more. I love it that you're listening to the Other within you. Your interpretation is that the other is God. Mine is that you are hearing the voice of your true self. The one not weighted down by the lies of this physical dimension — that you are not enough, not worthy, not lovable. The one that is divinely you.
“This season in my Christ-following life is the most vibrant, most alive, most exciting time I have ever experienced. I feel like I am in a relationship now, rather than trying to plod along in a religion.”
How delightful it is to hear you expressing vibrancy, aliveness and excitement!! Thank God you've abandoned plodding along in religion! Let's pray that the rest of the world follows suit.
My response is to mjm, not to Siouxsie: MJM, such thinking as yours is only available to people who live in Western, protected, civilized environments where the free market of spirituality takes precedence of reality. In any number of real life settings in the inner cities of Sao Paulo, Pretoria, Khartoum, Damascus, Cincinnati or Chicago, your spirituality would demonstrate its actual power, as indeed it already has. In its denial of evil and human power, it would leave only destruction in its wake, and finally die out from uselessness.
Actual people struggling with bondage to drug addiction, the perversions of sadomasochistic sex, the worship of money and power, will not find help in your pointing to “the Other” in themselves. The Other is leading them to destruction through alienation from God and from others through their entrapment. They do not have the power to save themselves through illumination. They need actual reconcilation and a reason to live.
Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Jesus very clearly referred to himself as the Alpha and Omega. Either much of what he said is lies, his or his followers – or it's true. To insist on having it both ways makes us good Western consumers who are shopping for things that make us comfortable. And for a little while they do, as long as we can remain around people who think the same way, or who love us no matter what we think. But that is a very small world.
Excuse me, Northwind, but I was responding to SIOUXSIE'S invitation to share my thoughts. 🙂
Clearly YOU do not share my thoughts. Indeed, in sitting with your response, I have considered what we might agree upon.
Relating to your response, I agree that struggling people “need actual reconcilation and a reason to live.” So, true, Northwind! We all need this.
I believe we are born whole and complete. Through “the sins of the fathers,” or the wounds of our ancestors, we forget who and what we are, and why we are here. The purpose of our lives is to love, serve and remember.
It appears you see struggling people as being led by the Other from “the dark side.” You didn't say it, but it sounds to me like you might look at someone in bondage to addiction, perversion, money, etc., as being led by Evil. And I agree here too. I'm not sure why you interpreted my comments to indicate a “denial of evil.” Yet I do not personify Evil, so perhaps you would categorize that as denial.
You said, “Either much of what he said is lies, his or his followers – or it's true. To insist on having it both ways makes us good Western consumers who are shopping for things that make us comfortable.” Speaking of comfort, I'm uncomfortable with this black and white pronouncement — either it's a lie or it's true. Reminds me of someone who says either you are with me, or you are my enemy. Reminds me also of the wisdom of the reed, that survives the changing wind because it is flexible, not rigid.
Siouxie mentioned she is no longer “plodding along in religion” and I say, hooray! My experience of religious people is they see things as black and white. This is how they justify killing others (or maybe just maiming them — physically, emotionally, spiritually) in the name of God — because they are right and the others are wrong.
As *comfortable* as it feels to have things set in stone, black and white, I'm afraid life is not so simple. I don't see that as having things both ways. I see that as staying open to the evolutionary process of growth and life.
I'm saying that in this moment I know what is right and wrong for me, but not for you. And I speak this truth through the filter of the golden rule: Don't do unto others what you would not have them do to you. So just because I won't say what is right and wrong for everyone else doesn't mean that I don't acknowledge evil and injustice, bondage and suffering in the world.
I do not seek to change your point of view, Northwind. I receive the gift of your truth and thank you for it.
That's cool! And inspirational.