Friday, September 4, 2015

The simple beauty of prayer

     Recently I was scrolling down my page on Facebook and stopped to read a post about prayer. Let me begin by saying I love the woman who made the post. I know her to be intelligent, funny, beautiful, hardworking, and an incredibly devoted mother. It is certainly NOT my intention to blast her or her character.This is me using my blog to share a different opinion about the subject .
     The post was as such : I read often people asking for prayers for this or that. prayer is a wonderful thing. But think about this...There is always someone in a worse situation than you are; so maybe if you pray for people who are suffering so badly and count your blessings, even though you are going through a difficult time, the love and prayers you are giving will come back to you.
     I get it. I really really do. On a daily basis, my page is filled with mountains of prayer requests and at times, it seems a little overwhelming. The post bothered me way more than it should have and I am not really sure why. Maybe it is because I am really passionate about prayer. Prayer used to be something I was not very good at. As I have matured in my faith, I decided I had to work on that. I have a long list of friends that specifically call upon me to pray for them. Why me? They know, without a doubt, that if at all possible, I will stop what I am doing a pray immediately. If not, then, then I will honestly sometimes physically write it down so I will remember to do it before the sun sets on that day. To me prayer is more than a wonderful thing. Prayer is an essential and extremely important part of my faith .
    So here is what happened when I broke apart the post in my head. Allow me to propose a hypothetical situation. I receive a call from the local hospital and the person on the other end informs me that my husband has just been brought in via ambulance and to get there as soon as I can. Upon arrival I am told that his injuries are not life threatening but he is in surgery. Later, the surgeon explains that the immediate issues were fixed but he will probably need two to three more surgeries in the next year or so to completely repair damage done. All of the sudden, the world as I know it has completely turned upside down. My husband who I love dearly will most likely endure a massive amount of physical pain in the next year. Our finances have just been blown to pieces. Not only will we lose his income, but medical bills will probably bury us. The very same day, my neighbor's 3 year old is diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer and according to the doctor it's really just a matter of time. They are told to make him comfortable and prepare for the worst. I know my husband will eventually recover and come home, meanwhile this family will lose their child forever. So according to the logic used above, should I not request prayer for our situation, count my blessings that my husband is going to be okay, and focus on praying for the neighbor because their situation seems to be worse than mine? To use a phrase from one of my favorite commercials...that is not how this works. That is not how any of this works.
     Philippians 4:6 says : Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. So, basically, whatever makes us anxious, whether it be big or small, worse than someone else or not, while counting our blessings, we are to present our requests to God. God doesn't play favorites. Once our requests reach his ears, he does not sit back on his throne and throw out answers to them based upon how dire the situation is. God answers prayer according to his will and his plan and in his time. He loves us all. He cares about all of our cares, concerns, situations, heartaches, burdens, and pain. ALL. Nothing is too insignificant to God and nothing should be insignificant to us either. If I scroll my page and see two prayer requests, one because a husband lost a job and one because a husband died, who am I to decide whose situation is worse ? Do I tell the wife of the unemployed husband that she should count her blessings that at least her husband is alive and she should pray for the wife who just lost her husband?  Do I tell the wife who just lost her husband to death that she should count her blessings that she will at least be financially taken care of because he had fabulous life insurance and that she should pray for the wife whose husband just lost his job?
     Yes, we should count our blessings. Yes, what we put out there comes back to us. Both statements are accurate. The bottom line is this: I am a woman that prays. Sometimes it is all I can really do for someone when I can't physically do anything else for their situation. When I get to the point that I reach out to others and request that they pray for me, I surely want as many voices as I can to be  calling out my name to God on my behalf.I would imagine that anyone who swallows their pride and uses a public forum to ask for prayer hopes for the same. I guess I could decide that another's situation is worse than mine and instead of asking anyone to pray for me, count my blessings, and hope that somebody, somewhere, sees my situation and thinks that mine is worse than theirs and that they actually take the time to pray for me. I propose that I can do both. I can ask for people to pray for me while I go to God in prayer, thank him for how richly I have been blessed and then call out the names of those not as fortunate as myself.
     I have one last thought but it might be the most important to me. This country has never been more divided. Politics, race relations, economics, and religion has pushed us all into our separate corners , foaming at the mouth to be heard and gearing up to fight for what we believe in. I can see the absolutely incredible beauty in many of us coming together to pray for others, all in one accord and all in agreement for one purpose, to reach God's ears with our voices, all calling out the same name to him who holds the world in his hands and hears our hearts. I can't call out your name in my prayers if you don't ask.
     If by chance my friend who wrote the original post is reading this , I hope that you are not angry or offended by what I have written. I do firmly believe that two people can disagree and still respect and love each other. I do respect you and I do still love you.