By Nancy Virden (c)2021
Prayer is an attempt at direct communication with a person or thing that one hopes will hear and grant requests. “Sending warm thoughts,” if sincere, is prayer to some transmitting power source. “I’ll ask the universe to guide me” is prayer to all matter and energy. Prayer without faith in the One with the power and wisdom to respond is merely making a wish. “When I wish upon a star…” is prayer to burning gas.
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. -Romans 1:25,26
One might say prayers for favors from animals, rivers, and rainbows are spiritual. That is true to a point because the human spirit, as in our mind and emotions, is stubborn and determined. We are willful, talented designers of our faiths, religious practices, and gods. We create and mold whatever satisfies our sense of control and peace of mind. We may call anything a spiritual experience, however, the human spirit is not God.
What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. – 1 Corinthians 2: 12,13
We tend not to be as excited about prayer that costs us everything. This is why so many people dislike the so-called Christian God. He is God over all, period. All-powerful, all-knowing, and present everywhere, he is not downgraded by sketchy human attempts to disprove his existence. He knows us and will hold us accountable.
“Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? -God , in Job 40:8
And there is the rub. While we want prayer to improve our circumstances and erase our pain, prayer to the living, thoughtful, holy, eternal, merciful, trustworthy and unchanging Spirit-Being who is Almighty God, changes us from the inside-out. He is not molded to our best inclinations; he shapes our attitudes and behaviors. He does not answer our demands that his commands be soft and easy; he does call us to sorrow over sin and repentance. He wants to grow us on his terms, and sometimes growth spurts hurt.
…You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. -James 4:2,3
Most people will never trust his process for eternal salvation through his only Son Jesus, and his promise of profound joy in this life. Even believers miss that last part. You see, as long as we turn to the created instead of the Creator, even blaming the hypocricy of Christians as the reason to avoid God altogether, we remain in charge. Humble, surrendered prayer to the only One who can answer is not wishing. It is trust.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. -1 John 5:13-15
Prayer is the beginning and maintenance of a genuine, life-altering, love-filled relationship with God who created out of nothing all energy, matter, space, people, wood, stone, nature, and the universe. This is the Great “I Am,” the King of all Kings, the Highest Power. Yet he is close to us when we come to him with contrite hearts. Jesus is also called Immanuel which means, “God with us.”
And he still is!
Today’s Helpful Word
2 Psalm 62:5-8
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
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