Sometimes when we pray, God waits
Sometimes when we pray, God moves heaven and earth
Sometimes when we pray, God says NO
I was reading one of my blogs tonight and they were talking about prayer. Now prayer is something that I have worked on for many years. Sobriety forces one to work on their prayer and their connection to a power greater than themselves.
I relate this story, when I was first diagnosed with AIDS, I was part of a project. 20 people were chosen for this study, 10 patients were told that they were being prayed for, the other 10 were told nothing. those 10 who were not told anything died within 5 years of that date. Out of the other ten people who were spoken to, 2 men survive, I am one of them, that was almost 15 years ago.
Does God hear our prayers? And does he listen? And why do some people suffer and why do children especially suffer and why is there illness if God could end it all with one breath? Suffering, that is a good topic to talk about.
They say that suffering brings one closer to God. That in some sanctified way, those who suffer learn how to bear that burden in ways that everybody else cannot fathom. When young people suffer, we are forced to grow up fast, and it is almost an overnight process, there is no time to learn how to suffer, when it happens it happens. Shit happens and I was 26 when I was diagnosed. And I can tell you that the first 5 years of living with AIDS was not pretty and I was really sick for YEARS.
I have had my share of suffering. But all that changed when I met a priest who could not walk, and he said mass on crutches, walking all over the church as if he had no infirmity. I swore from that day on I would never complain about my suffering ever again. I have mostly kept that promise to God. I don’t mention to you when I am in a bad way, because really, who cares and what could you do for me but offer me your support and prayers.
The Late Pontiff John Paul II had a special take on suffering. The suffering soul grew closer to God as he learned how to deal with his or her infirmity and looking upon that infirmity as a blessing from God, because that was what God had dealt us. And as Christians he saw suffering as the most sanctified of processes. He himself, in those last years of his life, was the model that many of us looked to, with his Parkinson’s disease, it took his life in the end, and he bore that suffering like a saint bore their suffering. And used it for the Glory of God to the People of the World.
Suffering, like prayer, is something we learn about, the longer that suffering takes place. And suffer not the little children. Where is God, when a child is in pain? Where are the angels when a child is sick, and why should a child be stricken with illness, or cancer or any other form of sickness? Where is God when it hurts? God is there, and so are the angels, for every man, woman and child there is an angel by their side.
Angles exist and they walk the earth. You just might not know that, or know how to see them, but look hard, they will show up when you least expect it… and that is a gift from God.
Why would God allow such suffering? Firstly, I am not God and I don’t have the definitive answers, but what I can offer you is my testimony about prayer and suffering. When I hurt, I would pray to God to end it. When I was sick I would pray for death. When I was at my worst, I prayed for God to take me instead of continuing the pain as bad as it got when I was on my knees in my apartment banging my head against the wall, trying to cut the pain. Yes it was that bad…
I had my N.D.E and crossed over and sat in the garden.
I never had pain like that ever again. I never set foot inside a hospital sick again after that last time, when I sat in that garden and they sent me back. Why did they send me back? Maybe I was supposed to tell you that suffering lasts for only so long, sometimes it ends in a glorious way and illness ends, or sometimes suffering ends in a glorious way and we meet our God face to face.
In the end, for Christians and many other religious, we meet our maker on that last day, and I know for me, that when I approach that day, I will go to my grave knowing I did my best to bear my burden the best way I knew how.
It has taken me a long time to cultivate this attitude of prayer. Sobriety forced me to look at the way I prayed and the way I expected from God, and I soon learned this time around in sobriety that You should never set expectations before God in a finite form. Never give God an ultimatum. Never give God a list of demands that you know are pointless. Never make plans because, I can tell you, we make plans for our lives, and God laughs. The best laid plans are at best, just that, plans.
That lesson was made very clear to me on several occasions in my life. When I got sick, I had to learn how to live, and the priests I knew started me with prayer, be that in the mass, by the rosary or in spiritual direction and reading scripture. So I have had years to work on my method.
When my husband got sick and was down for [count them 10 MONTHS] where he did not speak, I bathed him, fed him, and cared for him until he got better, I learned a lot about prayer, because I spent many a night sitting right where I am sitting right now, sobbing to God that this cup pass from me. I prayed that prayer and God waited on me, so I waited on God, and I carried that burden with the help of God, my prayers and my friends. You think you know the answer to prayer and suffering, BUT DO YOU REALLY?
I can tell you that you will never learn the lessons I have until you walk a day, a week or a month in the shoes of someone who is faced with despair, pain or infirmity. The same goes for death and dying. We shy away from those topics but they are relevant because I have seen them all, and I have faced down my own death several times, so do not take lightly anything that I have written here tonight.
I have learned that I get up in the morning, I greet my day and my maker and I pray gratitude that I made it through another night, and that I have another 24 hours to do my best to fulfill God’s will for me on any given day.
I take care of my spiritual needs first, then I can help take care of yours. I cannot help anyone else, unless my own house is in order and I can give you from what I already have, I cannot give you anything that I don’t have myself, be that help, knowledge, assistance or anything else.
Very early when I got sober this time around, I laid a list of demands before God, like a good addict and alcoholic. How stupid and arrogant I had become. It took a year for God to look at my list and say:
- Not Yet
- Maybe later
- Re-phrase the question
- and Definitely NOT!!
Sometimes we pray and if our prayers are met with the right heart and mind, God grants our request, but there again, if you pray to God, then you know how to ask of God whatever you need. If you know HOW to pray, then you know how to WAIT on God. Because if we pray to God on our timetable, we will always be disappointed, or angry or resentful of God that He did not move within the time frame that WE set out for HIM.
Sometimes God’s answer to prayer is NO!
Prayer, Faith, Gratitude, Waiting on God and the Method of Prayer is something that I have studied, the whole of my life. The good monks teach about the Ladder of Prayer.
- One must study their scriptures
- One must spend time each day in prayer [the discussion with God]
- One must also spend time in proper meditation [the listening for God]
- and One must be active in their respective community, putting into action that which we learn about through study, prayer and meditation
- And one must practice the art of Gratitude each night before sleep
There is a method to prayer, whatever method you employ, whatever discipline you like, but if you quest for God’s voice, don’t you agree that you must cultivate a spirit and an ear to hear Him. Because I know that if I send up a prayer to God and it comes from the right place in my heart and soul, that in a matter of sometimes days, and there have been times that God answers within hours.
What does god’s voice sound like? Well, he speaks in the whisper of the night, I hear him in the silence of my heart. Sometimes the voice is spoken through the voice of another person. Sometimes the voice answers through scripture or reading, and sometimes God speaks to us through the actions of someone we meet during our day.
Never discount the possibility that you will meet God somewhere in your day, because if you learn how to seek Him and find Him, you will find Him. Living in the moment and staying in my day, to the best of my ability, brings me closer to God each day, because I am mindful of his presence in my life and in the lives of whomever crosses my path at any given moment of the night or day.
Be careful what you ask from God, because if He thinks you are ready for it, it will come to you, and sometimes it comes so fast, we might miss it, or not be ready for such an immediate answer, and sometimes that answer is NOT what we Expect, or want, but right prayer is always answered with what we NEED. The perfect prayer…
Our Father who Art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom Come
Thy Will be Done
On Earth as it is in Heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And Forgive us our trespasses as
We Forgive those who trespass against us
And Lead us NOT into Temptation
But Deliver us from Evil
For Thine is the Kingdom, The Power and Glory
Forever and Ever
To you all hearts are open
all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name;
Through Christ our Lord, Amen…
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.