Prayer continues to be a puzzle to me....
It would seem as though prayer has always been a part of life. I remember the list of names my Dad prayed for each morning, the Bauchs, Fawleys, Malsburys, Carlsons, Friesens all faceless names in unknown countries as far as I was concerned. That was followed by all of us as a family reciting the "Lord's Prayer" together. Then there were my own petitions as I knelt beside my bed in that icy upstairs bedroom. Mostly I remember trying to recall all the bad things I needed to confess. I had no concept of God's total forgiveness of sin because of Jesus' death.
In the last few years I recall a friend asking if there was power in prayer. "Of course," I thought, that is what I had heard all my life. "No," replied Murray. "The God we pray to has power but our words don't have power." That set me back to thinking!
I have been told there are certain words I should not use when I pray, that I should pray a 'certain' way. I have been left feeling fearful and guilty about prayer more than once by people who have formulas and patterns that 'work'. These 'formulas' are encouraged to bring great miracles for all to see. Truthfully, some of the greatest 'miracles' that I have seen personally are the ones that have happened inside when I pray "help" or "I can't do this. Please do it through me".
So what do I believe now, today....
I believe I have a lot to learn.
There is much talk these days of 'relationship' with God. It would seem to me that 'relationship' does not follow a 'formula', that each 'relationship' we have with those around us is different. So I learn to talk to God, learn to listen to God in a way that is unique for 'us'. I am not saying we can't learn from each other but I am also different from everyone else so I can not relate to God like everyone else.
I have read in the Bible about having faith like a grain of mustard, about telling mulberry bush to be moved into the sea. I have also been left feeling guilt, not even having faith as tiny as a mustard seed, I mean, come on Karin!!! Recently when I read that I was honest enough to say (quietly :) ), "that is so ridiculous. Why would I tell a tree to be moved into a sea". What I 'heard' in my mind was: "Exactly!" And then a flood of thoughts.... it only takes a tiny bit of faith in a great God to believe in the things that others might think are ridiculous, to act on a belief that I am convinced that God has given me whether others agree or not. (note: I am not saying I should 'do' anything that is illegal or immoral! Those are not the kinds of 'things' I am talking about and those are not the kinds of things God would ask of me).
And so, I continue to learn to believe that God wants me to tell Him what I want, to believe that He knows what is best and good, to trust Him to sort through what I say, to understand my thoughts. I continue to pray, though sometimes it is just a jumble of thoughts. I think that is what a 'relationship' is all about.
I am most happy to be challenged about this, to hear what others have to say. I think we all learn as we talk and respect each others 'learning'.