Practical Faith

I would love to be someone who has the capacity to practice wild and uninhibited faith.  I envy those who declare that their faith is so strong that they “know” God will hear their prayers and intercede where requested.

I don’t have that kind of faith.

I do have faith though.  I have a faith that at a very high level exists with a complete absence of doubt.

But –

When it comes to praying for intercession in our day to day lives I struggle.

Yet I do it.  I do it despite my struggles.  I do it because of my struggles.

I do it because I believe that prayer is not only productive, valuable and important – but vital!

I just don’t do it often enough.  I certainly don’t do it publicly often enough.

Why is that?

I think that oftentimes I get hung up with expectations.  I don’t feel that it’s right for me to have any expectations regarding the outcome of prayer.  It’s hard because I also believe that it’s necessary to be specific in praying for outcomes.

There is of course some paradox there.  Pray for what you want but don’t expect anything specific as an outcome.  Really?  That doesn’t seem logical.  If I don’t expect to see the specific outcome, why pray for it?

I think I’m beginning to figure out the why.

Identifying the expected outcome is an expression of hope.  Expressing my hope – especially in some kind of public forum – exposes my vulnerability.  Exposing my vulnerability is a form of confession.  Confession removes my arrogance from the picture and opens my soul to spiritual relationship.

Spiritual relationship with God.

Spiritual relationship with other souls.

When I confess my vulnerability, and acknowledge that I want and need the spiritual relationship and love of others through their prayer on my behalf, I complete the circuit that allows the outcome to be possible.

Embracing my vulnerability helps me to find balance in my spirit life.  It helps me to see through spirit first.  When I have balance and I’m seeing life through spirit I begin to see with new eyes and I’m suddenly able to see the many various and wonderful ways that spiritual connection with God and with others is possible.

I thank all of you who read and responded to yesterday’s post.  The merging of our collective conscious energy (prayer) resulted in immediate and significant relief.  When we do this act of prayer together, with intention and purpose, humbling ourselves while at the same time acknowledging the source of God’s unending power, anything is possible!

 

A Plan for Pain?

I am taking this opportunity to ask for prayers before I jump into this topic.  My wife has arthritis in her spine and has recently been suffering excruciating and unrelenting pain caused by inflammation of the arthritic areas.

Those of you who know me well, know that I like to think of myself as a rational and logical person.  Faith has been difficult for me at times because of this.  Yet, the more I explore the reasons for my own doubts the more I encounter reality that eradicates those same doubts.

I believe that belief that is not shared is not really believed.  If I don’t have the courage to stand up and declare what I think and believe publically then I must have doubt.  I no longer doubt what I believe so I’m publicly declaring my belief in the power of prayer.

I ask for intercessory prayer on my wife’s behalf.   I ask that you join me in praying for intercession in her life that brings her comfort in place of pain.

I believe that it’s vitally important that we ask for prayer from others, and that we pray for others as well.  I will spend some time in the future sharing my thoughts about the mechanistics of the benefit of prayer.  I have many ideas that may seem rather odd and divergent from what people commonly think of.  However, I think it’s very important to note that end the end – while I may use very different language and concepts to discuss these things – we are talking about the same thing.

I think sharing prayer has an exponential effect.  Therefore I must spread the word and ask for as much prayer from as many people as possible to have the greatest effect.

Thank you!

Back to my original topic.

Is there a plan that includes our pain and suffering?

I think that the pain and suffering we experience in our lives is for our benefit.  One purpose that it serves is that through the experience of pain and suffering we have the opportunity to develop true compassion for the pain and suffering of others.

My wife is one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met.   In fact, I’d say that she is the most compassionate.  When she enters a situation where someone is suffering, they are often drawn to her.  She speaks with them – mostly listening – and through that simple exchange and their presence together the suffering is relieved, at least to some degree.

I believe that my wife exudes and radiates an aura of relief from suffering because she has experienced so much suffering herself.  Her experience of pain and suffering has become a gift for others who seek relief from their own pain.

I’m eager to share my thoughts about the nature of how this can be.  I think that this world is entering a period where science, theology, philosophy and spirituality are going to find common understanding of our place within creation and the universe.  I think that through the exploration of these topics we will find new ways of understanding our place in the world.

More to come.

Learning to Listen

I didn’t grow up in an atmosphere where prayer was talked about much.  It was expected that we did it as individuals, and we occasionally did it as a family, but there wasn’t much emphasis on it at all.

In my church life as an adolescent prayer was mentioned often, but there were no instructions on how to pray.  And, the vibe of the place certainly discouraged asking about it.  You were expected to already know.  Asking would simply blow the whistle on your ignorance.

Over the years I paid some attention to what other people… people I admire and/or respect… had to say about how to pray.  I learned.  I came into my own way.  My own method.  I can’t even really explain it.  It’s not like what I hear most people doing.  Actually, now that I think about it… I’ve never heard anyone pray the way I pray.

But that explanation is for a different day.

Today I want to talk about my journey to learn how to listen for the answers to prayers.  For the longest time I felt that my prayers were never answered.  In a lot of way’s praying seemed pointless.  But as I thought about it I began to realize that it wasn’t the praying that was off.  It was my awareness of what constituted a response.

There’s a scene from the movie “Evan Almighty” that I think sums up how to listen for answers to prayers.  I think that if I learn how to listen for the answers in our opportunities, rather than for specific events or moments I’ll find my answers.  When I apply that lens I see and hear answers to prayers everywhere!

For example; I’ve always prayed for financial stability.  Not necessarily for wealth, but for enough to not be in obvious need.  Did I find a boat load of money?  Nope.  But I have found that I’ve been provided with opportunity to be financially stable.  I’ve accepted that opportunity and things have worked out.

I’ve discovered that when we pray for a loved one to be released from pain we have to be prepared for the answer to be something other than healing.  Healing happens.  But so does death.  Both are a release from the pain.

Want more friendships in your life?  Pray for them.  Then look for opportunities to be a friend.