Affirmation: I pray unceasingly.
Do you believe that prayer makes a difference? Do you have a theory about why it does or doesn’t work? Have you ever “tested” your theory?
The older I become, the more I pray; the more I value prayer. One of the popular comedians said that’s very normal because as we age we realize we’re getting closer to death and we’re “hedging our bets.” That could be true. I also have more time to pray. I don’t have to rush out every morning or get the children off to school.
I get to begin my day before I even rise with a prayer of thanksgiving and with the invitation to God to join me throughout my day & to bring blessings and favors on all those for whom I have promised to pray. I pray for my spouse, my children and grand-children by name and then go on and list my siblings and their families. Next, I include all my “dear, dear friends” and especially those who most need God’s mercy.” I try to recall each of those special people by name who I know need extra prayers. I can usually remember them. If not, I do keep a prayer list. After my friends I include all “the special intentions of those in my Small Christian Community.” I then go on to add “all the support people in my life, seen and unseen and their loved ones.” I so value all those people who make my life so much easier and richer because of their hard work. I include our “fighting men and women and their families” and finally I pray for “wisdom for our world leaders and peace for this world.” Then, it is time to rise.
Am I making a difference? I’m making a difference in how I value those in my life and how I perceive them and the world. I sometimes think this aspect is the most powerful effect of prayer; the change that takes place in me when I take the time and spend my energy to pray for others. But, I believe prayer makes a difference in ways we cannot even fathom. It is one of the most powerful tools available to us to tap into the Divine. If we are spiritual beings having a human experience, why not connect with spirit and let that power work the miracles we are asking for in our lives?
According to Norman Vincent Peale in The Power of Positive Thinking, the whole world is made up of vibrations and prayer is one way to activate and send out positive vibrations to create change in the world. Energy and how it can by directed and controlled has been written about to name just a few, by Eckhart Tolle and Gary Zukav. That's what prayer is. It's a form of energy. Several years ago Duke Health did a study on prayer. They had two groups prayed for by a variety of people from all different religious theologies. The results of their study did not show any difference in the recovery of the patients. But, I wonder what did change for those who were receiving the prayers? Do you think it might have been something that wasn’t measurable like grace, peace, hope and other non-tangibles; things we all value and look for but for which there is no measurement?
When we first moved to North Carolina I said a prayer that God would lead us to the best house and neighborhood for us. And, then I asked for a "sign." I asked for some sort of burning bush. Yes, I was testing. Well, we drove everywhere and I never saw that bush. We finally settled on a lovely house in a new neighborhood and I let go of my search for the perfect place for us. I actually loved our new home and our new neighbors, so all was good. Several years later, we were taking my in-laws around showing them the area and we saw a beautiful house that was for sale. We were able to tour it on the spot and I loved it! Soon, we had sold our other house and moved into the new one. One day, I was walking with someone who knew a lot about shrubs and he was telling me about the different bushes around the house. I stopped dead when he pointed to the bushes at the bottom of the driveway and told me they were called Burning Bushes (Euonymus). There were six of them! Was that answered prayer? As far as I was concerned it was.
I don't go around testing God any longer. I simply expect my prayers to be answered. I know they are answered and I know they make a difference, a difference in my life and a difference in the world but I must remind myself that God's plan may not be my plan and that God's timing is something I will never be able to fathom.