Friday, August 10, 2007

Just About Bedtime

So.... The exam went very well. The funny thing about these sorts of things is that you never really know if you are prepared or not. I said my fair share of prayers that I studied the right stuff. I did.

Which brings up something that I have been giving a lot of thought. I feel like I am a real novice at prayer. That statement is more complicated than I can really explain right now. To sum up; I think that my prayers are more like wishes than prayers. And the whole dead-baby thing kind of blew up my whole belief system (currently attempting to rebuild).

Nonetheless my prayers/wishes have been granted recently. Stupid, little, unimportant prayers like asking for good weather when I am having a backyard BBQ. See how that is more like a wish than a prayer? But I asked, and it happened.

Is it all just a whole lot of coincidence that these little "prayers" of mine have been answered (I am still uncomfortable referring to them that way)? Or is it a little olive branch being offered, like "see? I can be there when you ask me to be, you just have to ask for the right things..."

The prayers that I prayed when I was trying to get pregnant were body, mind, and soul. I begged and cried. Yet, for 13 cycles, nothing happened. Then, last week, I ask for sunshine and it comes my way. It's confusing.

I guess I sort of feel like I didn't get my Prayer for Dummies manual. I need rules. This what you do, this is what you say, and then (if you have followed the rules) you get what you want. Obviously that is not how prayer works. But so many people make it seem that way. It is hard to believe in something that you don't understand and that you don't feel like you are doing "right". What are the rules????

And yet, I still pray. In my juvenile "God bless Mommy and Daddy and Kitty, and please let Janie be my friend" kind of way. Perhaps I need to see my priest about some prayer lessons.

Maybe I am too concerned about doing it "right".

OK. Enough for tonight.


Monica said...

I can relate to this post! I never really had any formal religious training so it is hard for me to pray. I sorta feel like I don't know the proper etiquette. Secondly, I feel like God knows that I'm not a person of strong faith and ignores my prayers anyway. Of course this doesn't stop me from doing it. I too have tried to "repair relations" by saying stuff like, "God, you haven't really been there for me, but to be honest, I haven't been there for you either, so let's start over". I think he gets a big kick out of me. But then maybe not...

niobe said...

Glad to hear the exam went well.

I never, ever pray for myself. I guess I figure that it's okay to ask for good things for other people, but asking for them for myself is bound to backfire. Irrational, I know.

Lori said...

Delphi- Even some of the greatest theologians would agree with you that prayer is one of the hardest aspects of faith to understand. It is the area I struggle most with, and I consider myself somewhat educated in the arena of faith and religion.

I do think it is easy to confuse prayer with wishes. That is something I try to teach my children, because I think there are too many messages out there that imply if you ask you get. Or, if your belief is strong enough, you will get what you want. Neither of which do I believe. I mean, don't you think if prayer really worked that way then the whole world would be on their knees! The problem is that we all see so much evidence to the contrary, like good faithful people struck with tragedy after tragedy, that prayer becomes confusing.

The way I have approached prayer recently is to think of it as a conversation with the closest friend I could ever imagine having. Someone who loves me so unconditionally there is absolutely nothing I can do or say to change that love. So even though I do sometimes pour my heart out with my wishes and desires, it isn't so much that I believe they will be granted (like a genie in a bottle), but just to feel as though I am heard. I try to imagine myself wrapped in a heavenly embrace, and the Creator of the universe patiently listening to my laments, nodding gently and saying, "I know... I know..." I know some people feel as though a God who only shares our pain and doesn't step in to fix it it isn't a God worth believing in. For me, that isn't the case.

I wish you peace in this journey. In the immortal words of George Burns (God) from the movie "Oh God", "You talk... I'll listen."

Kim said...

I like the way Lori classified it - a deep, intimate conversation with the closest friend.

There are all sorts of theories and books about prayer, but I just pour out my heart to God. I know that many of the heartaches in life are completely not understandable, and I know that His heart breaks too, but I still don't understand why sometimes. But I just keep pouring my heart out, because I believe that's what he wants and it also gives me peace.

Trevor said...

There are no rules, Delphi. I'm with Lori on this, too. Prayer is an intimate conversation. So intimate, words aren't even a necessary part of it.

Or at least, that's what I'd like to believe.