A Prayer's Most Important Ingredient May be Our FAITH
I went to a day long retreat offered by my friend Isabella which was held at the Sisters of St Francis in Independence. It was a lovely experience and the first retreat I have ever participated in. I came home feeling relaxed and happy. My personal faith got a real boost. Isabella wanted us to examine our own feelings. To think back upon our lives and examine a little about how and why our faith was formed. Where we have been in past years. What our experiences have taught us and how we feel about those experiences and the ways they helped shape us and our belief systems. In some ways we reaffirmed our individual faith while we shared experiences with each other. I refined and mined some golden nuggets and treasured memories that had been buried away under months and years of everyday living.
It is good to have such a reminder that God is always there for us. If we will but ask, He will help us with any problem which troubles us and keeps us from His Grace. But I was reminded of something of enormous importance: God is there for us anytime. We should pray when we are happy and untroubled as well. If I only turn to God when things are bad, I'm short-changing myself, as He should be and needs to be in my life everyday, all the time.
God is our Father. And through Jesus He became Man and He can teach us that he is "Friend", as well. Most of us keep in touch with our friends in good times and bad. So it should be the same with God. Prayer is the email to talking with God. It is instantaneous communication, no stamps or visits to the post office needed. But we don't need to be sitting at our computer. We can be anywhere.
Churches and chapels are generally good places because they are quiet and have minimal distractions. They also have decorations that remind us of holy things such as a cross or crucifix, banners or stained glass windows with depictions of saints or bible stories. It's easier to get in touch with my pious side in a setting like this.
But I find that the beauty of a natural setting --- the majesty of mountains backlit by a gold, purple and pink sunset, or perhaps a blue, blue lake with the clouds mirrored on it's surface; a tree with green, graceful branches dipping down to provide shade on a hot day while two squirrels chase each other 'round and 'round the enormous trunk with the clicking of their paws and their chittering communication echoing in my ears. These settings are sometimes better than a cathedral to remind us of God's infinite power, His unimaginable, unlimited imagination, His complete mastery of all things great and small.
God doesn't need for us to be "pious" to approach Him and talk with Him in prayer. He loves us in ways that are nearly unfathomable to us humans. If we come to Him with a need to talk, He will listen to us in much the same way as our earthly father or mother, sister, brother or friend would listen if we talked with one of them. Unlike any of these, God will listen without judgement or with no interruption to offer advice as we speak. He will listen for as long as we want to talk, never putting us on hold to answer another call or telling us to call back when dinner is over.
However, for us to hear God speak and advise, we may need to listen for the tiniest whisper which will seem to be our own "good conscious". Many times, we will have to exercise great patience to await God's working behind the scenes to guide us to what will be the best course for us to follow in our lives. But our prayers are always heeded, always listened to. From us is required the Faith to trust that God is doing His will for our lives and to give over to Him the ultimate power for our existence.
But, remember this: Because He is God, He is never too busy to hear us. Because he is God, He is able to hear and listen to the prayers of hundreds, thousands upon thousands at the same time and to give each and every prayer His complete and undivided attention. As humans, we may not understand how this is possible, but that is because God is so much more than we can ever hope to understand while we live our earthly life. When the faithful have passed from this life to their Heavenly home, so many incredible truths will become clear and we shall share a kind of Joy and Peace that will be better and more rewarding than we can even imagine in this lifetime. All will spend eternity in the Glory of God's presence and be glad forever that they are there with Him.
For now, I yearn to know God through reading the divinely inspired scriptures within the Bible and I long to develop my prayer life to spend time with the Lord so that I may show God how much He means in my life. He has given and continues to give me so much: A wonderful husband who is my friend, my helper, my true love; Two beautiful young women, our daughters, that have brought such joy into our lives. Both have shaped good, solid, stable lives for themselves and, with the help and support of their husbands, for our seven precious grandchildren.
We live in a country that allows freedom of religion, so we have the luxury of worshiping in the open and stating our opinions and beliefs without fear of reprisal.
We live in a country that has such natural beauty as to make me wish I were an artist who could paint a masterpiece or an eloquent writer who could write a lyrical passage that would draw a word picture to describe and do justice to even one snow-covered mountain, one windswept cliff overlooking the rolling, crashing waves of the ocean, the stark brown, brick red and buff of a southwest landscape or the incredible perfection of a single rose beaded with the dew of morning and kissed by the rays of the rising sun. God is the master builder of all this. He has created this beautiful earth and all the heavens above. All the stars, the planets, the moons. This universe and the myriad wonders of the galaxies. God made all of this beauty and we, here on earth, are capable of seeing it, enjoying it, experiencing it every day.
Yet, I believe that God still has time to hear each individual prayer. The prayers of Children as well as of World Leaders, of the Poor and the Powerful, of You and of Me. All each of us needs to talk with Him is the faith that this is so.
Jesus taught his Disciples that prayer need not be elaborate to be effective. How simple and pure is the first prayer taught by Jesus.
"Our Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as it is in Heaven. Give us our daily bread. Forgive us our failings as we forgive other's trespasses and lead us not into temptation."
The actual words are really only the least important part of any prayer. Our faith in God...that He exists...that He will hear us...that we know we exist because of Him and we appreciate this fact as much as we are able to as imperfect humans with our limited understanding of all that God is and does....These are what makes the prayer worthy of God's attention. His absolutely infinite and unfailing Love for us, His human children guarantees that He will continue to listen to and hear our prayers, both the great ones and the small ones.
I know I can work to perfect my prayers to God for all my life. And I will trust Him to guide my decisions to help me on my path to be with Him in Heaven some day when my time on earth is finished.
|- My Faith Journey -||- SCC -||- Thoughts on Prayer -||- A Prayer -||- Bible Quotes -|
|- Answered Prayers,an Essay -||- Sand Art -||- Forwards -||- The Saints -|
|- Mary, Mother of Jesus -||- Saint Joseph -||- A Prayer as War Begins -|
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