Prayer

If I Google the word, “Prayer“, I’m greeted with oodles of sites that offer 24/7 prayers to anyone requesting them. Again, if I Google “What is prayer?” I again get some very interesting results, like, “Prayer is the practice of the presence of God.  It is the place where pride is abandoned, hope is lifted, and supplication is made.” See: https://carm.org/christianity/prayer-ministry/what-prayer.

Or, “Prayer is a communication process that allows us to talk to God!” See: http://www.allaboutprayer.org/what-is-prayer.htm

I doubt that there is a person on this planet who hasn’t, almost on a daily basis, initiated a deliberate prayer-ritual, or just silently  prayed for something–wished for something to use that word, if the word, “prayer” bothers you. But, why is it that, most of the time when we pray, it’s because we’re either super elated and want to give thanks, or we’re desperate for help. Shouldn’t prayer be a daily ritual in our lives? I mean, if our prayers are mostly a thank you when we’re feeling really  good, or a supplication–petition, when we’re desperate or in need of help, isn’t that sort of, like, saying, “ God, when you’re really good to me I’ll thank you, and when I’m in need of your help I’ll call you. In the meantime, stay out of my life.”

I’m going to assume that most of my readers who are reading this blog are parents, so I ask, if one of your kids developed an attitude like this, how would you feel? How would you deal with a child that recognizes you only when lavish gifts on him  or when he’s desperate?

We know that, as a parent, we are more pleased with the child that is grateful for what they already have, and are inclined to often give ‘a little extra’ than requested. God–the universe–works much in the same way.

The Universe loves gratitude–genuine gratitude.

 

 

 

 

Hitting Bottom

Life often  forces us to ‘hit bottom–you know, leaving us with no options, no resources to fall back on–hitting the absolute end so that we’re finally forced to do something about a negative situation in our life that we know we should do something about, but just can’t seem to build up enough willpower or enthusiasm to face the problem on our own.

Sure, we’re supposed to tackle our problems and try to figure things out for ourselves, but when we’ve become somewhat lazy and refuse to face an especially pressing problem on our own,  He seemingly removes His Grace from us and lets us drift along in our laziness without His help. By doingHe knows we’re heading for a very rocky shore, but also wisely understands that we’ve chosen our path and must deal with the consequences. Of course, God won’t abandon His tantrum, wayward child–never has, never will. He’ll just meet up with you again once you’ve wrecked your ship on the rocks of disaster and run out of options.

You now have nowhere to turn and feel like you want to die, but some stubborn part of you just refuses to let go of life. You’re confused. You’re  desperate. You need help, but just too stubborn to ask for help, maybe even don’t (yet) realize that you’ve hit bottom. That’s when we’re ripe for some God-help, often unannounced!

I’ll give you an example of one of my ‘hit bottom’ options that life forced onto me. I was in the Canadian military at the time, stationed in Germany. Since it was during peace time, we were allowed to bring our families over with us, so I rented a small farmhouse near the small village of  Koerbeke near Soest. I loved German beer and whenever opportunity gave me the chance, I would ‘tie one on.’ Although my wife displayed tolerance, I knew she didn’t like my bouts of heavy drinking, and I realized that I was setting a poor example to my three young children. I often told myself, “well, this is the last time!” but, up until one dramatic late afternoon when God seemingly removed His Grace from me, these had just been  empty excuses on my part!

A friend of mine and I had been drinking for most of the afternoon when we realized that we were out of beer. We decided to walk (fortunately, not drive) the half kilometer down a slight grade to the village Pub. We were laughing and singing, seemingly bothering no one–Andy Capp comes to mind–when suddenly…no, I didn’t fall: I felt the ground rapidly coming up to meet me nose! (Ouch!) As my nose and the dirt road made stunning and painful contact, God granted me a dramatic, life changing epiphany!

God was there, right in the dirt with me! For that brief moment when my nose and the road made contact, God let me realize just how absolutely stupid, how degrading, how disrespectful to Him and my family I had lowered my standards through my heavy boozing.

No, my friend and I didn’t continue on our way to the Pub. My epiphany, like I said, was final, too dramatic and too ‘educational’ to continue along former habits. Although it was several years later before I gave up the use of alcohol completely, that fateful afternoon along a dirt road near Koerbeke, Germany was the last time that I ever again “tide one on“.

I always loved to eat well and I played very little attention to the quality, nor the amount, nor how much I ate: as long as it tasted good to me. Then, one day, the doctor gave me the news people dread to hear: I had kidney cancer, that later spread to my bladder. I won’t bother you with the (some painful) details involved in finally getting me to be cancer free, but the experience certainly changed my lifestyle! The scare of not recovering from cancer made me take a complete about face regarding my lifestyle, and what I ate.

I won’t go into ‘good food/bad food’ topics here. That would make this post way too long, but I will say that I became a vegetarian as a result of my research. Meat products of all kinds–and especially processed meat–has far too many chemicals in it to be even close to being  safe for human consumption!

I will conclude in saying that my limited research has shown, a couple of examples I’ve written about above, and I’m sure you can think of many of your own such life changing examples, that God works in mysterious ways, often letting us fall to ‘rock bottom’, in order that we might see our erring ways and change for our own good.

Call it God, the Universe, Buddha, or whatever your esteemed Creator might be, it is comforting to know that we are part of a loving Universe!

Grace

I was sitting in meditation on Grace, when it dawned on me how important a role Gratitude plays in our lives. We cannot receive more Grace until we are thankful for all the blessings we already have. “For whosoever hath [Grace], to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hat not [Grace], from him shall be taken away even that he hath“. Matthew 13:12.

Rather than show Gratitude, when God/the Universe closes a door on us we get frustrated and often blame Him for being mean to us, but we really should give thanks for that ‘closed door’ and start looking for the other ‘open door’, the door with greater opportunity, that God has provided. How can we find that open door if we continue to constantly grumble, moan and cry  over the closed door?

Thank you, God, for your Grace–for opening new doors–providing new opportunities for me, that I may continue to grow and come closer to Your presence!