Thursday, July 06, 2017

Do You Believe in Prayer?

Do you believe in prayer?  I do.

I've heard that even atheists believe the power of a prayer can accomplish a lot for an individual.  They say the focus it brings to one's mind helps center efforts around goals in a way that helps bring about positive results.

I say God listens and indeed helps us rally our resources and faculties to accomplish what we seek, as well as intervenes on our behalf and touches our spirit to increase faith and bring about Good.

Either way, I had a cool experience with prayer today.  I had just come off a more than week long vacation on a tropical island (so I was kind of in that "vacation mind-fog" you have the day after vacation.  I went out to start my new (to me) truck, and found that it wouldn't start.  The thought that LITERALLY went across my brain (...Are thoughts really ever a "literal" occurrence? --I guess I'm going with "yes" on this on.)  The thought that LITERALLY went across my mind was, "Well, I guess I don't get to go anywhere, EVER!"

I felt absolutely defeated.  Here I was facing a problem, and I had NOTHING in mind for a solution.  My wife had our second car.  I couldn't call her, because she was at a funeral (I know, sad. right?).  While thinking through what might be the problem, the battery came to mind... but that's about it.  And even if it was the battery, that was all I could think:  it was probably the battery.  --nothing about "I wonder if I could round up some jumper cables and get it jump started" or anything like that came to mind.  I was just defeated.

I went inside and moped at the dining room table for a minute, thinking about how I couldn't reach Lisa, and I guess the meetings I had planned to go to would all fall through and how my new truck sucked.

Then I went to mope on the front porch.  It was there that I said my little prayer.  It was little, too.  Something like "Heavenly Father, can you please help me out here.  In Jesus' name, Amen."  I said that prayer because I really believe in divine help--even on little stuff.

It was answered immediately.  As I sat there, my neighbor came out of her house to put some stuff in the back of her car.  She didn't see me, and I was inclined to keep moping on my own, but I had the distinct feeling I should talk to her.  So I just said how's it going?  How's the fam?  The usual...  She commented, and responded with "How are YOU doing today?".  Usually I would just say "Fine", and that would be that.  But I didn't.  I said-- "Well, I'm doing OK.  But my truck won't start, and I can't get to Lisa.  I'm just sitting out here thinking about how to get in to work."

I know that sounds kinda like asking for help or a solution from her, but honest--I wasn't.  I was just kinda saying what was going on.

But her response was: "Well let me go get Phil and see if he can help you figure out what's wrong with it."

I said, "I think it might be the battery".

She said, "I think he has a jump box.  If not, we can drive over there and jump start it."

Seriously (and I know--this is just kinda a reflection of either how dumb I am or of how susceptible to 'brain fog' I am), I had NOT considered that there might be help or solutions to my problem in something as simple as some jumper cables.

Sure enough.  Phil came over.  Attached the jump box.  It started right up.  I went in to town and had the battery tested.  It's in fine shape.  It had just gotten low over the long time not being driven, and my "always-on" car charger plugged in.

But how cool is that:  I didn't have any thoughts on a solution.  I prayed, and a solution came to me.  It was a beautiful thing.

And I know--you non believers out there--it could've all happened by coincidence.  But I believe in prayer.  I believe a neighbor was inspired to be thoughtful and Christ-like.  I believe the Lord provided a solution when I had none.  I believe my faith was made just a little stronger as one more of MY little problems was important enough for an all-powerful God to take note of and help solve.  And that's really what I believe happened.

Keep Walking--ESPECIALLY When it's Cold

Here's a post I drafted, but didn't publish a long time ago:

The other day, our kids wanted to walk home from school despite the temperature being only about 18 degrees Fahrenheit.  It usually takes about 20 or 30 minutes for them to get home.  So when it was getting to be almost an hour after school ended and we still hadn't seen them on such a cold day, my wife and I started getting a little worried.  I drove a block and a half down our road and turned the first corner to find my son, daughter, and the neighbor girl standing on the side of the road huddled in a little group.  They piled into the car, happy for the ride the rest of the way home.

When I asked what had taken so long, they said that each time they got cold, they would stop and have the neighbor girl read to them from her story book.  Apparently, that's what was going on when I found them. 

I drew a parallel to my own life in their behavior.  When it gets tough--or cold as it was for the kids--I think my inclination is sometimes to stop moving forward, maybe even withdraw, and seek comfort in some pleasurable activity that takes my mind away from the reality of my concerns.  For the kids, it was stopping to read.  For me it's something mind numbing like angry birds or Facebook.

While I appreciate the value of stopping to smell the roses, I'm not sure it's the wisest choice in sub-freezing weather.  In fact, I think it's probably the opposite of wise.  My pre-school aged son is studying opposites.  Now, what's the opposite of wise?  . . .oh yeah:  Stupid! 

Stopping to smell the roses when
     a) there are no roses in bloom, so you imagine up some to yourself and read about them, and
     b) you have somewhere to go and the conditions you face could prove detrimental to your success and harmful to your health. . .  
...In this case, stopping to smell the roses is the stupid thing to do.

I appreciate the kids' logic; and I've exercised it from time to time myself.  "I need some me time to recharge and move on. . ."  It's a real thing, and there are occasions when it's the perfect answer.  But to get to where you're going, you've got to keep walking--ESPECIALLY when it's cold!