Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thoughts on Prayer

I was sitting there on the pew in church last Sunday. I began thinking about prayer. That in itself isn't so strange as I often think about prayer, and other stuff for that matter, while sitting in church.

Thinking and day dreaming have never been that far apart for me. Church is often a good time for me to fall into the thinking-day dreaming-praying-zoned out state of mind. I suppose it isn't very spiritual but it is better than sleeping. That makes me think of Pollyanna.

I suppose what prompted the thinking was maybe the act of praying or something was said about praying. I don't know what it was exactly.

Do you get asked for things?

I do sometimes. I guess the main thing I am asked for is money. I get asked for other stuff, too; but, I was thinking more about getting asked for money for this blog post. I think I used to be asked more for advice than I am now. It always irritated me when people would ask for advice and then not take it. So maybe it's better to not be asked for advice since no one ever took it anyway. I think it is a good idea to keep advice to yourself most of the time. It's taken me 60 years to figure that out so those of you who are younger can have that advice for free (HA HA).

But back to my topic.

Now I'm kind of making this up in a literary sense - borrowing here and there from fact and imagination.

So someone rings me up (sounds English doesn't it?) and a lot of times I haven't heard from them in a while. So there's some "catching up" conversation first. Then, often, there is a description of some general stuff about life that kind of sets a context. That's followed by the description of the crisis event. Then there's the "obvious" solution to the crisis which is something like "can I borrow $$$?" which is the sum needed to fix the crisis, at least in the mind of the asker.

Anyway I was thinking about how similar sometimes my own approach to prayer:

Oh God?

How you doing? Sorry I haven't been around in a while. Been really busy and all. You know how it is.

Speaking of which my life has just really sucked the last few weeks - just one problem after another - and some of these people in my life - good grief - could I use some help with them. Not sure what you were thinking when you made them. Not that I'm being critical mind you because I love them to pieces and thanks for them - anyway.

On top of all that the other day the car's transmission went out and Janey's house needs a new roof and Billy's wife filed for divorce and Abner has been arrested for DUI and Peter lost his job.

Then yesterday I found out I have to pay a credit card bill I didn't realize I owed.

Could you maybe get me $53,252.33 to get me out of this little mess? If you could just have it materialize in the mail box that would be lovely.

Oh, yes, I ask it in Jesus' name. Thanks Lord. And see you later.
Something that always occurs to me when I'm asked for things is why I wasn't consulted before the crisis. If I had been then, maybe I could have helped the person avoid the crisis in the first place. But afterwards is a little late to think about that.

Then I think it would be nice to have someone call me before they need something - you know - just to visit a few minutes ever once in a while. You get kind of leery about even answering the phone when the only time someone calls is to ask you for something or another. You kind of get the idea that it isn't you the other person is really interested in.

It doesn't hurt to ask how I'm doing either ever once in a while. I have problems.

Also I find it useful to discuss the crisis so I can help the person arrive at a solution rather than just be told what the solution is. For instance, let's discuss that 20 year old car you want to spend $5K on for that transmission. According to the KBB site the thing in mint condition is only worth $500. Now does spending $5K really seem all that prudent? Maybe we can find some alternatives if we think about this together for a bit.

Another thing is that if you really don't intend to repay the money then don't call it a loan. A loan is something you repay. If you can't or won't then it's a gift and we might as well be clear about it right up front.

Another thing that occurred to me is that prayer is kind of like having some really important person's cell phone number. For instance let's say you were really good friends with (I'm going to try to keep this from being political) Jay Leno. In fact, you are such good friends that he gave you his personal cell phone number and you can just call it anytime and Jay answers it by saying your name. I bet most of us can't do that. Even if we knew the number the chances of getting our call answered are relatively low given the fact of caller id. But that's what prayer is like - having God's cell number and being in His circle and Him recognizing your caller id.

That's pretty much it - all I thought about - before the sermon.


~Betsy said...

Interesting post, Terry. When I was a kid, I used to pray and ask for things. Now I just pray for strength to handle whatever crisis is rearing its ugly head.

Thanks for a thought provoking piece this morning.

Lori1955 said...

Oh, I pray about everything these days. Actually I love to pray. There was a time in my life where my prayers were all about what I wanted. Now they are about what He wants for me and about what I can do to be a servant for Him. I like the connection I feel in when I am in prayer.

Nancy said...

when i was younger, i too would only pray when i needed something. i still have to admit that i pray more in times of stress and crisis, but i'm also happy to say that i also pray when things are going good. it feels good to give praise and thanks.