Stephenson Family Ties The Barn Burnt Down
And Now I See The Moon
“I do believe in God. I think God has given so much power
 to people, and intelligence, and said, 'Well, you are on your
 own. Maybe I'm tired, I need a nap. You are mature.
 Why don't you look after yourselves?' 
And I think He's been sleeping too much.”
from: Strength In What Remains
by: Tracy Kidder

This is me again..being an infant on the subject of prayer.
I visit this topic frequently.

So here it goes.... again.

I doesnt matter what I want, or what it is I think I need. It seem futile to me to 'ask' for anything. For as I understand things, God knows best, and I do not. God has the big picture. I do not.
So what is prayer?
The other day..while attending Stake Conference, I heard the speaker make an analogy for prayer. He used the symbol of a racquetball. He asked us to  picture  hitting a racquetball softly against the wall of the court, and to imagine how slowly the ball would then return to us.  Then he asked us to picture us hitting that ball with all the force we could muster, and to then imagine how quickly and forceably the ball would come back at us. His comparison went he asked  us to envision  us lying down at night and mumbling a prayer without heart or intent..a weak plea, a weak hit.  How would the return look?  Then he asked us to think about an ardent and forceful, humble prayer...and couldnt we then imagine a 'return' with greater force?

Im asking....Does deliverance influence God in any way?
How does one pray with force when one already knows that its served back to us on the 'opponents' terms? (I cringe at the term 'opponent' for I dont believe on any level that God is an opponent. But go with me a bit more on this) So Im thinking that prayer isnt so much like racquetball as it is like tennis.  We are in control of the velocity of the racquetball we hit...but the wall is inademate.  In the game of tennis, we are at the mercy of our opponent and how he decides to lob the ball back at us.
Personal example:
Asking with force, fervor, tears, pain to have our business grow enough to support us, has been  an on going battle of wills for 2 years now. As a matter of fact...4 'players' are sending up that plea. God is listening. I believe that He is.  And yet He serves to us what He pleases.
And can you picture the pleading and anguish that God hears every night as we plead for the cure for cancer, or for  help with struggling kids?!  I suppose the return serve comes back..but its unrecognizable most times... its out of our league, and its never usually a forceful, record setting event.
Prayer is so very, very, very, very hard for me. Im not a fan of  vain repetitions. Im not much of a conversationalist either. If God already knows the answer before I ask...why ask, I ask?  I know He knows my heart, and I feel confident that He has already decided what to do in my "game."  No amount of pleading is going to make a difference. (and what if I were to ask amiss!!!??)
I already know that Im here on this earth to learn patience, humility and more patience. I've known this for a very long time. My game seems to be learning how to be happy in each moment, even though these moments look nothing like I expected or planned on.
Again,..will my asking God to help with kids who struggle have an affect on the  kids who also have a game plan not of my understanding...who have the right and gift to choose what they want?  They have choices and God has a plan for them. My prayers wont and maybe shouldnt change their 'game'.
My best attempts at prayer are always the thankfulness prayers, the gratitude prayers. Those come easily for me, and I suppose its important to be thankful.
Its the asking thats so very difficult. Its just like asking anything of my earthly father...its difficult. ( Counseling may be order)
Life is what it is. I suppose Im a bit of a fatalist. God has set me on a course, to prove and to try me. I have to make my way through...with as much gratitude as I can muster and with some flavor of hope.
Shall I pray for hope? Maybe thats the answer.
Stop praying for change; for money or puppies, or trips ...seriously though..I dont pray for these things...just success and happiness. Instead I should pray for the feelings of hope, and for peace where Im at. I could probably hit that prayer/ball right out of the park!!!
God...please grant me hope. Hope in the future..hope for the kids, and hope for friends who struggle with insurmountable trails and battles with cancer.

I think Im going to find a ball,...and write in great big letters with a Sharpee across it....H-O-P-E, and tuck it under my pillow.


Anonymous said...

I miss you forever. We have been friend for so many years and now we can watch our children's children grow into amazing humans.

Prayer, for me, isn't offered from the mouth but the heart, From the moment I get up in the morning, to the last thing I remember of the day, my heart and mind is talking to my Father in Heaven. Paying my tithing and offering a prayer, please make what's left stretch...only to find $40 in an old pair of pant and another $20 in my computer bag. The answers come to my mind after struggling with what to do, "well you can listen to me or not, but if you don't listen you will be sorry." We have this, "I'll tell you the truth and you tell me the truth, no guessing. You are my hero, you are real, honest and I love you. Cindy

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