I started writing something a few months back after a long conversation with a friend about prayer and why so many religions have their concept of it. One of the things he said which struck me was this (not a direct quote because I didn’t exactly tape the conversation) – even if prayer is to a blank wall, it changes something. it changes us. it changes the way we think or act or consider things. if we take it to God in prayer, we are forced to speak it out whether audibly or just in our heads.
I started thinking about how back in the day, i went to a buddhist school. Yea. I did that. not for long mind you, but I thought it was cool. until I realized there were too many white people there. another blog for another day.
So one of the things you learn to do as a daily exercise is meditate. It’s definitely NOT about zoning out or humming and sitting cross-legged in the most awkward positions ever. It is a discipline and a true exercise of the mind. There are many approaches to it and many outcomes depending on your mindset and beliefs about these things.
But as Christians, we cannot get away from the sense of meditation in the Bible. It’s there for sure. So in some ways the practice of meditation is praying for us. We make statements and answer statements in our prayers. As it is in heaven and such. We ask for things and we thank God for things.
But in some ways, I can’t help but wrestle with the fact that God’s will is going to go as it’s going to go and I can plead all i want, it may not happen. or it might and will go terribly terribly wrong and then I’ll pray that God didn’t listen to me in the first place.
So ultimately, I do think that prayer is more about me getting my mind right again – setting it back to where it should be and resolving that, no matter what, things will be ok in the end.
It is also a time i get to dream with God. To tell Him what He already knows – that I have big ideas and that I’d love to see some of them come to fruition. But to also search my own heart and priorities and motives and to clear my soul of the things that hold me back and keep me from knowing Him better and loving Him more, realizing all the while that everything around me is truly a gift and there is so much more waiting just around the bend.
On the other hand, the cyclical problem is that if i don’t truly believe than does that affect whether or not God will answer as I think He should answer, or does anything I do really have any effect on the outcome at all? We could get into debates about God, His existence, and His character, but I am not up for that right this second. I do still feel that prayer, in all its incarnations, is more about us than about God in many ways, and that it’s more like a reset button. Even in my brief stint as a Buddhist, the moments we spent before every class in silent meditation helped me refocus and get more out of the class. I think. I never completed the program, so you could argue it didn’t take.
On the other other hand, we are told over and over through stories and reprimands in the Bible that you don’t need a TON of faith. You just need “some” arbitrary amount – mustard seed comes to mind – and you can move mountains. maybe the act of prayer should be reminding us of this.
and of course I have to include this… good god, y’all…