Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Question About Prayer

It's no secret that I'm a Christian. If you've read more than a post or two around here, I hope that it's obvious. I have faith in God and I believe in salvation through His son, Jesus Christ. I read my Bible, go to church and pray.

Prayer is very important to me. I pray when I'm worried about something, when I'm unsure, and when I'm afraid. I pray when I'm happy and excited. I pray when my children are facing difficult circumstances and when friends are going through hard times. I pray for guidance and I pray to say "Thank You!" I pray out loud with my kids when they're hurting. I pray in silence before I fall asleep. I know my Heavenly Father wants to hear from me, and he wants me to turn to Him no matter what.

Now, please don't picture me kneeling in the closet all day long or walking around with my eyes shut and my hands folded. Most of the time my prayers are brief. It's not much different than say, sending a text message to my husband. "God, thank You for keeping my daughter safe on her trip to Charleston! Thank You for protecting her! Thank You for loving her!" Prayer is sort of ingrained in my head. It's what I do. It's the first thing that I think of doing when I hear bad news. Or good news. (Or, if I'm honest, sometimes it's the SECOND thing. I might have to text the Hubby first and share with him. You know, so he can worry and pray, too.)

So here's what I know. Christianity is not the only religion in the world that encourages prayer. Hindus pray. Muslims pray. Jewish people pray. Buddhists meditate. I'm pretty sure even pagan religions pray to some deity. It seems that most of the world's religions have some sort of quiet, spiritual time alone where you connect with reverence to a higher power or look deeply inside yourself. I'm not debating which way I think is right or wrong here. I just want to find out...

What about people who don't pray? Where do you turn when your world is falling apart? When your child is desperately sick? When a loved one suddenly dies? When you need comfort? Where do you go? How do you cope? What if it's something you don't want to share with your friends or your family? Who do you go to?

I have friends who don't believe in any type of higher being, and so when I send out a prayer request they say they will "think good thoughts for me." I appreciate that, I really do! I understand that not everyone believes the same things I do. But...where are you sending your thoughts? Are you sending them to me? And how do you think them? Do you think, "Hope her kid gets better" or do you think, "Please let her grandpa live?" If you think good thoughts the second way, who are you thinking them to? Anyone?

Please know that I'm not trying to start an argument or a debate. I don't want this to sound judgemental. But this has been on my mind a lot lately. I truly do wonder how peeople get through life without prayer. I guess because it has always been so much a part of my life. So, I won't criticize you if you don't criticize me. I just want to know how it's done. If you want to leave me a comment and share what you do to make it through difficult days, that would be great! If you'd rather I don't publish the comment, say so and I won't.


a Tonggu Momma said...

I don't know the answer to those questions. But I do know that I received several private e-mails after my friend Rosie died... people who are not religious sharing with me that they "just could not believe this story didn't have a happy ending" or some variation of that. And I just didn't know what to say to that. Because I still can't believe it either. "The Problem of Pain" by CS Lewis seriously helped me get through that small faith crisis.

Kiy said...

Hi there, found you through TM and thought I'd wander around. Love your stories about your kids!

I wanted to chime in on this one. We are a family who does not pray. I am one of those that 'sends good thoughts'. When I say/type that, that is exactly what I am doing ... I think about the person and the situation and hope it works out for the best. I don't believe that there is a higher being hanging out somewhere, micro-managing our lives (but that's MY thought, I don't think that everyone feels that praying is like that!). I have struggled with faith for most of my life, and finally just gave up.

As to 'where do folks like me turn' when there is need. Family. Really. I lean on my husband, he leans on me. Most people have one or two friends that they would call family that they can lean on, talk things out with, cry on their shoulder.

Here is my question back (smile) ... when something just terrible happens how do you not question? How can that higher being 'let' that happen? To me if feels like a catch-22. Pray to someone/thing to make it right, but it doesn't turn out right. Bad things happen to seriously good people, how does that happen? And therein lies my problem with religion and faith, and why I kept having problems with it.

I loved how you phrased this, as a serious legitimate question. I hope you read my response in the way it was meant ... more conversation back with your question.

Cheers and Smiles,