Monday, June 27, 2005

Do you pray?

I've never thought of myself as a particularly spiritual person. I tried church when I was still in middle/high school but fell out of the practice. Then I tried attending again in college a few times. And while I immensely enjoyed the experience, I couldn't drag myself out of bed on Sunday mornings after a week of late night studying (I had a tough course load and was a nerd).

But I have always prayed. But I've come to realize that I've always prayed the juvenile prayers everyone has for special "favors" from God. I pray when I want something. Why? Where in the world did I get the concept that I could ask God to deliver a puppy, an "A" on a test, or a successful surgery for my grandmother? And where did I get the notion that if God doesn't answer my prayers, it must be for some divine plan? He has his reasons?

I've been doing a lot of praying lately. But I know I can't have what I truly want. I know there will be no miracles and no happy ending. And now I'm wondering what I'm really praying for. If I pray that God takes care of my Alex in heaven, I'm asking for a favor. And if I pray that we find some answers as to why this happened, I'm expecting something. Even if I pray for just the strength to get put the pieces of my life back together again...I'm asking for handouts. Surely, God is tired of hearing from me with all my "I wants and gimmes."

So what do I pray for? Why bother?

Someone suggested I pray a prayer of thanks. Instead of asking for more blessings, raise up my voice to thank God for those blessings I already have. Normally, this would sound like a great idea. But right now it just really ticks me off. So maybe I shouldn't be praying at all. Instead of adding my voice of constant want and need to the already overcrowded heavenly pipeline, I should just be silent for a while and listen. Maybe it's just not necessary to pray if you can't think of anything to say beyond, "Please give me..." The "thank yous" will probably come back some day. But for right now I just don't have them in me.


Jill said...

Over the last week end I have prayed for the first time in my life. As part of the bargaining, I did the 'thank-you' prayer. I figured that if I am grateful enough maybe God will think I deserve to keep my baby.

If you lose/don't get the thing you are praying/bargaining for, I think it is almost disempowering to do that prayer. It's like 'you lose, now get on your knees and say thanks for the worst thing that ever happened to you.'

It HAS to take time before you can say that prayer. It can be no other way. But wouldn't it be nice to have the comfort some people seem to get out of it? I'll just have to settle for cigarettes and too much chocolate to feel better:(

Julie said...

I must admit I am not the most religious person. I was getting better at going to church, and then we moved, and my intense fear of new places keeps me from going to the church near here (I even went out looking for it and have not found the courage to go) but I have been praying. 2 years after Caleb died, and I CAN thank God for allowing me to have him in my life, and I CAN thank God that I am his mom. But at the same time I do ask God to take care of him, etc. I don't really know what my point might be other then the fact that God doesn't care if you thank him in each prayer. He knows you just don't have it in you right now. He understands. Grief and God are 2 very hard to figure out things, especially when you are trying to figure them out together. I keep you in my prayers, for you to find some kind of strength to face each new day without Alex. (((((hugs)))))