Wednesday, July 19, 2006

i realized the other day

that i don't pray specifically. and given that i don't pray specifically, it ends up like some homogenous slop of good-will. kind of like thinking in colors. (which obviously makes it hard to be fervent or even necessarily sincere.)

and i realized the reason i don't pray specifically is because it is such a big responsibility, to know what to ask God for. and what if i get it wrong? and how do you pray with faith when you believe that his yes's are just as important as his no's and wait's? i feel like i always preface things with "well, if you want to, but i understand if you don't, but please would you..?" and is it a safeguard for me, if things don't go like i so desperately want them to, or is it out of reverence? (or worse, is it laziness, not bothering to figure out what i should pray for?) either way, i would like to be able to pray like i mean it.


ningyo said...

Wow, Ryan and I just had a talk about that the other day. I think he's the same way (as one of your reasons), so honorable and kind that he doesn't want to just say "I want this really really bad, God." To be honest, I just pray for what I want 'cause that's what God says to do. Iguess really, usually what I crave after now is just good, normal health...which I don't seem to be getting. But I mean, there are so many good things that God wants to give if we just ask, why not ask for them?

I hope you figure out what you want to pray for and pray for it! ^_^ I'll pray that for you, heh.

The Goodfellas said...

ladies -- i think i will delete this in a few days because i can't for the life of me get my thoughts to go down on the keyboard right. so i just wanted to say thanks for sharing your thoughts (and heidi, i'm glad about what you said, realizing your worth).

before i do, though, maybe i will try once more, just a bit?

okay. heidi mentioned a change of perspective, and i think that's it. i think i assume my perspective is too limited to even know what to ask for, but the more i thought about that the more i realized how wrong that assumption is. if God gave us the gift and responsibility of making requests, wouldn't it make sense that he makes us capable of doing so? and so maybe when i pray for something in particular it is because he has placed it in my heart to begin with, because like it says, all good things are from God? and so doesn't it make sense to assume that praying for something good to happen is not running the risk of praying against God's will?

i guess i just get hung up on this because there are some things i have prayed for for so, so long. (one prayer has spanned nine years! almost every day!) so i guess i tend to overthink things sometimes. wish i could say this all more clearly.

that's it for now though, and sorry this is rambly, and feel free to still write because i think i will leave it up for a while... :)

Mr. McFall said...

What a lovely discussion you are having. If we were all honest I think that this is something that we all struggle with at different times in our life. I’m so happy to hear your stories…it’s very encouraging. One of my thoughts is this…and I’m sure that it’s not original, but what would happen if God would give us everything that we wanted, if he answered every prayer as it was asked? It’s very lofty of me to suggest that God knows what’s best for us and that we should just continue to pray for what we see as legitimate needs/wants. I was listening to the radio a few weeks ago when I heard Joni Erickson Tada speaking about people praying asking God to use them when she suggested that we maybe should pray that God would make us usable as a first step. For me personally my prayer life is more like a conversation. I should never be asked to pray publicly!!! I have no quarrels about asking God for specific things, but at the same time and perhaps just a heartbeat away I may hear a bird sing and thank God for the beauty of that song…then of course my mind wanders to something else and maybe I’ll smile when I’m thinking about something completely unrelated. When there is a problem that I’m having and I know that I’m not doing Gods will then I feel like Adam and want to cover up with a fig leaf. There are many times when I’m in complete silence before God with no words, but yet I feel so good just sitting in His presence. I think the key may be to be sincere. As a parent I know when my kids wanted things that maybe wouldn’t be good for them or maybe that I had something better in mind for them…but I still enjoyed it when they would ask “Daddy, can I have this?” I didn’t see it as being bad if they asked for a used bike when I knew that I was going to give them a new one!!! If they would have asked for the bike and suggested that if they didn’t get it that they would never love me or believe in me again then that would have been a different story. One of my favorite pastors once told me that things are pretty good if you can stand in God’s presence and feel comfortable.

mark and monsita! said...

Well Jenny, to me prayer is an every day thing, sometimes I ask God for things, but most of the time I just give Him thanks for everything He has given me, and for all the big and small miracles that occurs in my life every single day that I don't even see!!! The way I see it is... we always say goodnight to people near us, so before I close my eyes I just have to have a conversation with God and say goodnight to my Heavenly Father, it's a good way to fall asleep. Asking for specific things is not bad, He is our Father and knows us better that anybody else, not even our thoughts can be hidden from Him!! So whatever is in your mind, just tell Him, you can ask, talk or even laugh with Him. There are times when we assumed that a certain prayer should be answered just as we have requested it, but God knows best, so when a certain prayer is not asnwered the way I wanted it, I have to accept that He knows best and that He watches out for my best interest. All I know is that God does anwers prayers more often that we think and it is wonderful to be able to feel Him near all of the time!!! Without Him I can honestly say that I have and am nothing.

The Goodfellas said...

i was thinking about that too, dad, how terrible it would be if God said yes to everything. even something so simple as the world cup! how could he simultaneously answer that many prayers!? but aside from the fact that some prayers are mutually-exclusive, there's the side that you pointed out, that sometimes we ask for something that's good but maybe not great. like the used bike example. i think about all the jobs i begged for this year, and i'm so glad he held out on me. and then there's the times that he doesn't make things easy, but you come out better for it (like all of last year!)

who am i kidding, i can't erase this. :)

maybe i will clarify my thinking in another post though?

The Goodfellas said...

okay, it looks like i will. :)

THIS is what i'm really wondering about:

some things in life are just too complicated and too overwhelming to know how to address them. (it reminds me of a conversation we had with my uncle gary, about how the troubling events in the world just make you numb, because if you can't do anything about it anyway, you might as well not worry.) i have always thought, even if i can't directly do something about a situation, i can pray. but lately, i look at the things that are happening, and i don't even know how to pray about them. it seems like some just knock the wind out of you (the 14-year-old iraqi girl, that did it for me.) it seems like my generalized hopes for good don't ever ammount to anything (or if they do, how would i ever recognize it? i can't expect everything to change.)

anyway, so this is what i have come up with (maybe tell me if it makes sense?) what i am trying to do is just take the situation at the present, one moment, and think of something good that could happen. and i ask God for that. and then the next day, i look at the situation and pray again, maybe the same or maybe different. i don't know why this makes such a difference for me, but it does... somehow feels like it takes off the pressure to come up with a long-term solution (which i could never be sure was completely good or wise or well-informed) and just pray for simple things, like grace and forgiveness, strength, integrity, etc. (does this make sense or am i speaking in too generalized of terms for it to be clear?)

okay. this is so long, i'm sorry. for example, the middle east. i pray for the Christians stationed in iraq, that they would not be changed by the hate and violence around them, that they would live lives of integrity and remember that they are God's hands and feet. and for the non-believers stationed, that they would be impacted by the believer's faith, and that they would be saved. and that the iraqis would benefit from this first encounter with Christians (since they have been shut-off from this contact for so, so long, and maybe this is the last time they will be?)

too much writing, i am getting myself confused, if you would be so kind as to give me your thoughts please do.

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