Does Prayer Work?

But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. Luke 22:32

I happened to type “Prayer” into my Pinterest search bar this morning and boy did I get a spiritual eyeful. I’ll give you the link at the end of this post but suffice to say there was a whole wide range of pins on the subject.

Evangelist Luke writing, Byzantine illuminatio...
Evangelist Luke writing, Byzantine illumination, 10th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This got me thinking about prayer. How do you pray? Or do you even pray? My prayers have changed over the years. When I was young they were the prayers of church, whispered along with the priest’s words or out loud during the liturgy. During the kneeling down part of the service, I was either paying attention or not, fidgeting or wondering what I was going to do later that day, like riding my Schwinn bicycle around the neighborhood with my girlfriends.

One time as a young child, we missed church because it had snowed heavily. I remember being worried about the consequences and what God would think if I wasn’t there. So I took a cross I had in my room and prayed, maybe on my knees. I don’t remember what I prayed about but I remember I had a really good week, getting an “A” on a test and other assorted awesome stuff. That’s when I knew God had some serious pull.

Jim, my SO, doesn’t believe in praying for specific things. He thinks I do but honestly, my prayers are of the general variety. Does prayer work? I used to think it was silly stuff but the older I get the more I believe yes, prayer definitely has its potential.

It is amazing sometimes that I will pray for assistance for someone or some issue, again the prayers not being specific, and help will arrive in some shape or form. Honestly, if I leave well enough alone and not give God directions on how I want it done, s(he) will do a fabulous job. After all, it’s God we are talking here.

What doesn’t work is praying and then using my own control devices. Or praying and expecting immediate results. Prayer works fast sometimes and other times it does not. Maybe God wants us to practice a bit of patience.

Letting go of results is probably the hardest part of prayer for me. Maybe this surprises you- is there really a letting go part? Yes, I think this is the most powerful part of prayer- surrender. There in lies the freedom, the relief I have been seeking. That moment when I can lay my head down and feel a peace come over me that just wasn’t there before.

The results of prayer are often solutions I hadn’t thought of. Imagine that. That is when I know God is really good.

Click HERE for the Pinterest prayer board link.

Do you believe in prayer? What’s your favorite prayer or tell us how prayer has worked or not worked for you….

Join me on my graceful journey.
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Letting Go…and the God Box

Winter in the Northeast
Winter in the Northeast

The holidays are over and boy, it’s chilly and cold here in the Northeast. I’m trying to get back in the game of Life by settling into a somewhat regular routine. Eating more normally (getting out of that holiday cookie habit is tough!), trying to sleep well, trying to take care of myself.

The holidays don’t take away problems but they do seem to temporarily disappear during that time, don’t they? Or maybe we’re just too busy to care much about them.

When I settled back into my routines, I don’t know if it was tiredness or a bit of winter depression, but a few issues loomed in the background. I began to focus on them, picking them apart, festering and making myself a bit miserable over them.

I tried reading inspirational books and that helped a bit, but it wasn’t really banishing my dark cloud. In a moment of radical desperation, I decided to try an idea I’ve heard from my friends in recovery and from my favorite author, Anne Lamott. I decided to try a God Box.

My God Box
My God Box

At first, I thought I’d try and make myself one. I envisioned finding a small box, making it pretty, then cutting a slot in the top. Then I remembered a heart shaped gift box that my friend, Jeannine had bought me with pretty earrings inside. I wrote a couple of problems, each on its own piece of paper, each summed up in just a few words. I said a prayer, folded up the problems and slipped them into the box.

One issue was solved within a week. I was greatly relieved and very grateful. The other issues are more challenging; God really has his work cut out for himself with those. I know he’s up to the task though and I’m striving to put them in his hands. Letting Go is really the hardest part.

Here’s a great reading I found inside of “Help Thanks Wow”, Anne Lamott’s new prayer book, that hit the nail on the head for me this week: “Even though I often remember my pastor saying that God always makes a way out of no way, periodically something awful happens, and I think that this time God has met Her match- a child dies, or a young father is paralyzed. Nothing can possibly make things okay again. People and grace surround the critically injured person or the family. Time passes. It’s beyond bad. It’s actually a nightmare. But people don’t bolt, and at some point the first shoot of grass breaks through the sidewalk”.

My friend Larry’s funeral was Thursday. I wrote about him in my last blog post. Since his passing, everything else feels insignificant. Life is short and we must remember how special and important each day is. Though we miss Larry and the situation is awful, I know one day we will be walking along and there will be a blade of grass coming up through a crack in the sidewalk. Thank you Anne, for reminding me of this.

There is no problem so big or so small that Faith cannot fix it. If we but get out of the way and Let Go, things will work out.

What are your tools for dealing with problems or issues? What works for you?

Join me on my graceful journey.
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