Why do we Pray?

            If you believe that God is in control, what’s the point in praying? Some people think that the purpose is to leverage from God a favor for themselves or others. This is a recipe for disappointment for God isn’t a poker game where chips are played to get something in exchange.

            However, if you see prayer as an ongoing conversation with God, you might discover that He has reasons for what He does and that He blesses you in uncountable ways.

            We live in a chaotic world. All around us things happen that we have no control over that affect our lives. Many live in dangerous situations where bombs may fall, bullets may fly, fires may rage and hurricanes may destroy. All of these are out of our hands which is a cause for anxiety. God might not be able to stop the bombs and bullets and fires and winds, but He can offer peace of mind.

            God might not do what you want Him to do at the time that you ask Him to act. For example, if praying for a cure for cancer, it might not happen within your lifetime. However, the cure might come along thanks to research and discovery.

            Doubters of the power of prayer might argue that there’s no reason to pray because God already knows what’s going to happen. For example, let’s say you’ve planned an outdoor birthday party for your child, complete with a giant bouncy house. Guests will gather in the backyard for a picnic buffet. Good weather is a must: not too hot, not too cold, not too windy and definitely no rain.

Should you ask God for these things? Why not, for you never know what He’s thinking. He might believe that an indoor gathering is more intimate or that renting a bouncy house is too extravagant considering your finances. Maybe the earth is desperately in need of a good soaking in order to reduce fire danger in your area. But, just because we don’t know God’s response doesn’t mean we can’t pray for the things that will bring us the most joy.

            Some people pray to thank God for blessings in their lives. That’s what I do. Every day I thank Him for my wonderful husband, my three awesome adult kids and my seven talented grandchildren. I thank Him for financial security, for relative good health, for our home and the safe environment in which we live. I thank Him for the sacrifices He made and the patient way He showed us to believe.

            When our hearts are burdened, we might not be able to hear God. With thoughts swirling through our minds there’s no space for God to intervene, to stick in a few words of comfort.

            If we consider our relationship with God as a conversational one, then we have to be prepared to hear. When we offer our thoughts and concerns to Him, we must trust that He is listening. Patience is the next step, for God is busy and cannot always quickly respond. Building that connection with God takes time. This is why we should pray as often as possible. God may be listening as we barrel down the freeway or pull laundry out of the washing machine. He might be present as we mow the lawn or paint a child’s bedroom.

            Talking to God is like talking with a friend. When the friend speaks we listen. Through those conversations we grow closer together. So it is with God. The more we talk, the more we listen, the stronger the relationship.

            Believers who take delight in their relationship with God, who look forward to those times when they can open their hearts and enjoy being in His presence, are often surprised by the blessings He bestows. His voice might not come in words, but in a gentle touch. He might appear in the grateful eyes of an elderly man that you help with his groceries. He might kiss your cheek as lightly as a feather, but most likely He won’t scream at you from the heavens.

            We pray because Jesus prayed. I am not a Biblical expert so I cannot cite chapter and verse, but I know that He prayed with the woman at the well, at the marriage feast, over the meager loaves and fishes and as He was dying on the cross. If Jesus, the Son of God prayed, maybe we should follow His example.

            You pray because you understand that you are not the almighty, that you cannot do everything on your own. You need help, sometimes in the form of friendly neighbors who help repair a fence, a fellow traveler who stops to replace your tire or the minister who lays his hands on your head and bestows a blessing.

            Prayer is a way of surrendering control over to someone else. We’ve been raised to believe that we are in charge of our destiny and only we can take the steps to accomplish our dreams. Insert God into that equation when you accept that you need Him in the driver’s seat. You need outside help that only He can offer.

            Prayer is not simply talking to the ceiling even though it might appear to others that that’s what you’re doing. Often when we pray we do lift our eyes heavenward because we believe that God is up there, somewhere. Looking up is a way of centering ourselves, of giving us a place to send our needs, hopes and thanks. It’s a way of involving God in our lives so that the connection is maintained.

            Just as we use the phone to text and the computer to chat and share photos, prayer is just another way to reach out in our busy lives. We know that God is aware of what’s happening in our lives, but He wants to hear it from you.

            God knows what He wants to accomplish in the world and in each of our lives. He might be waiting for you to turn to Him or He might be waiting for the right moment to act. Whichever is true, He might be inspired to hurry things up when He hears us speaking to Him. Not demanding, but whispering. Not whining, but giving thanks.

            Don’t be afraid to pray. There are written prayers that many have memorized and those are good. But what if you are not one of those people? Can you still pray and will God listen when you don’t use the prescribed words? Of course.

Prayer is one of the most active things you can do for it requires you to do something, even if it’s a tiny step. Prayer may feel like hard work, but it isn’t. Just like learning to ride a bike, prayer takes practice. Even spending just a few minutes each day allows you to build that relationship with God.

Because there are no rules about how often or how long you must pray, establish your own routines. Maybe after a harrowing drive through traffic, you give a quick thanks for getting you to your destination without incident. Perhaps you’ve tried a new recipe and it doesn’t look like the picture. Offer a prayer that it tastes okay and you might be surprised when your family loves it. Just when it’s time to move the clothes into the dryer, the power goes out. When you offer a prayer for help, God reminds you that you can string a line outside.

Prayer can be a form of praise, it can be an offer of thanksgiving, or it can be asking for forgiveness. Prayer can be devotional, meaning that it is a formal recitation from the Bible or a prayer book, or it can be free-flowing, coming as connected thoughts or random bits of praise, supplication or expressions of need.

Prayer can also be an inspiration for action.  It could get you walking, hiking, dancing, and singing. Prayer might spur you to volunteer to build something, to run for a charity, to donate time, goods or money for those in need.

Because prayer can take place in many forms, in many places, for many different reasons, it has no boundaries. We pray because it feels good to do so. We pray because it fills a need. We pray because it connects us to God.

The reasons we pray are endless, but most importantly we pray because it gives us something in return.

      Radiant Vision

The sun arose and filled my eyes

With heavenly glory personified

 

Tears down my face did solemnly pour

I stood transfixed, and begged for more

 

Golden rays lit up the new morn sky

With brilliant spectacle for the eye

 

With mouth agape I did profoundly stare

And wonder what God’s doing up there

 

To me He gave such wondrous gift

That my poor spirit felt tremendous lift

 

To my knees I should have promptly fallen

But I did not: though I heard Him callin’

 

Frozen in place with feet on the soil

I praised the Lord’s amazing toil

 

For humankind: to free our souls

From worries: to give us lofty goals

 

Reaching deeply into my empty purse

I feared God’s wrath, or maybe worse

 

Instead my heart did nearly burst

With joy: I knew I was not cursed

 

The sun arose and filled my eyes

With heavenly glory personified

 

 

  Sing Today

Music calls me

To fly with angels

In an azure sky

With gossamer wings

And crowns of golden filigree

 

Cymbals, harps, and lutes

Create magical tunes

Giving glory to God

And all His mighty works

Music of the soul

Heavenly prayers

 

Voices lift in harmony

Filling God’s ears with

Sound rejoicing

Blending, splitting, lifting

Toward heaven in

Wondrous rapture

 

Joining in mysterious

Psalms choruses praise

God day and night

Filling my soul

With delight

 

Praise God all ye peoples

Of the earth

Join in perfect harmony

Sing with me today

Alleluia!  Alleluia!

My Prayer

Guardian angel

Spread your wings

Shelter me

My soul is troubled

And I’ve fallen into despair.

Ave Maria

Bless my soul

Embrace me

My spirit is weak

And I’ve drifted far astray.

Padre de Dios

Give me strength

Lift me up

My body is frail

And I’ve lost the will to live.

Lord Jesus

Stay with me

Guide the journey

My time has come

And I’ve already said goodbye.

The Stars

If I could catch a single star

I’d hide it in your hair.

Whenever things drag you down

I’d hand you a mirror

And watch the sparkle fill

Your eyes.

 

With both hands reaching

Toward the sky

I’d catch a star in each.

One to plant inside your heart

The other in your soul

Just to brighten your every day.

 

Given time I’d gather a handful

To decorate your life

With joy and mystery enough

To last your whole life through.

 

With a scoop and bucket

I’d sweep them all into a tidy bunch

So that the glorious light constantly

Blooms wherever you train your eyes.

 

But maybe not.

 

If I could catch a single star

That would be enough

To remind you of my steadfast love

Forever burning bright.

 

Missing Him

I wonder where my dad is now?

What country or what town?

Do the people even know he’s there?

And care about his men?

 

I wonder what he’s thinking of

While I stare at the clouds?

Does he see the same sky I see

And smile at the same bright sun?

 

I wonder is he questions

What the war is all about?

Does it make a difference what he does?

And how will it all come out?

 

I wonder when he does come home

Whom will he smile at first?

Do you think he’ll even recognize me

And know that I’m his son?

 

I wonder if he wonders

What I’m thinking of today?

Does he pray for me on bended me

And whisper I love you?

 

Perhaps when he does come home

He’ll have changed in scary ways.

Or maybe he’ll cry tears of joy

Day after wondrous day.

 

Maybe he’ll never share his tales

Of things seen, done and said

For fear of changing how we feel

About our dear old dad.

 

I wonder where my dad is now

And what’s going through his mind.

I hope he pictures me and mom

And yearns to come back home.

 

For now I’ll pray every day

That he’ll survive the war

Return to me as the man I knew

So we’ll be whole once more.

Morning Prayer

Sunshine washes over my face

as I stand greeting morning’s rays

warming my mother, the earth

brightening skies and lifting hearts

soaring above the lofty clouds

with emblazoned lacy wings that

move with graceful exuberance,

carrying me closer and closer

to the blessed One who made it all.

 

Praise to the Lord, Halleluiah

for His gifts enrich all people

filling us with the everlasting

warmth of His dreams and hopes.

 

Sunshine washes over my face

giving me the supernatural strength

to follow the path chosen for me alone,

the golden steps of righteous living

that demand that I support my fellows

in their struggles and rejoice in triumphs

large and small, wallowing in the sunshine

of goodness streaking all over the earth.

 

Praise to the Lord, Halleluiah

For His kindness toward us all

Allowing us to err and arise from the ashes

As a phoenix soaring to the sun.

An Irish Blessing

May your dog lay peacefully

at your feet and lick your hand

to show his eternal gratitude.

 

May your cat snuggle in your lap,

keep mice and vermin away,

and not shred your furniture

to show her love.

 

May your children grow strong,

healthy, wealthy, and wise

in the ways of the world

and not fall into disarray.

 

May your friends stay ever faithful,

call to keep you from being lonely,

and keep your secrets secret.

 

May your path be smooth, easy, and flat,

with no breakages to slow you down.

 

May the sun brighten your every day

and rain clouds bring only gentle showers

to wash temptation away.

 

May your troubles be few.

May a smile always warm your heart

when you come home from a trip.

 

May life treat you well

so that when your time comes

to walk into the light,

you will do so with a grin in your heart.

New Day Delivers

bubbles of brilliant blue

burst through the blossom-like

clouds

bringing much yearned-for

brightness to an

otherwise gloomy world

shrugging off stormy thoughts

seers sought soft,

sumptuous caresses

strips of comfort

seeping into the marrow

of the heart

comfort casually ceases

to tempt the carefree

cajoling them into

caroling loudly

coronation carols of the newborn

day

floating ferociously among

the now-frivolous clouds

freeborn fools giggle

with felt delight

first-time believers in

the flight of the soul

rejoice riotously with

royal revelation

as reborn receivers

rise with rejuvenated wings

weightless, wish-filled

centers re-calibrated

the new day

enfolds

A Simple Thought

A golden leaf

Fluttered

To the ground.

Rested.

Crumbled into dust.

Nourished a lowly worm.

Fed a garden of flowers.

And was reborn in a burst of color.

Life goes on.

One being nurtures another,

Giving sustenance

Reassurance

Love.

The circle must be unbroken

Or all will perish