Different Perspective on Prayer

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AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Different Perspective on Prayer

Post by AmyJ » 23 Feb 2018, 12:07

I had an interesting experience this week.

BACKGROUND:
  • I tend to be careless sometimes on where I put my rings before I go to do dishes.
  • I pray - but I no longer expect God to hear my prayer or intervene in my life. I pray for the purely selfish reasons of gathering thoughts/brainstorming and to satisfy tradition. I am hopeful that I will not be struck down by lightening for my selfishness if God is really listening. It's not so much that I don't want to have a conversation with God, it's more that I no longer assume that my previous understanding that there is a God who is really listening is suspect and I don't have a better replacement yet (if ever). <In other words, it's not Him - it's me :crazy: >
STORY:
I took my wedding and engagement rings off and put them on the table to go do the dishes. There was a change in plans, so I wound up cleaning instead - picking things up and throwing them to where I felt they needed to go. I was angry at the unexpected activity transition and not really paying attention to what I was doing. I did not pay attention to my rings while picking things up or going about my business.
A few hours later, I went back to reclaim my rings and realized that 1 of my rings was not on the table anymore. I rooted around for a few minutes and couldn't find it, then started really looking for it. I told my husband about it and he spent some time helping me look for my ring. An hour into it, he advises to go pray - and I said I would do so later after the girls were in bed. So we got them through their routine and tucked in and I start deep cleaning the room it was likely to be in or the next room over in hopes of finding it. My husband says a prayer and the "answer" he gets is something like "I would be the one to get the most from the answer, not him" (more or less - and yes it was probably a subtle dig at my non-praying). I do the smile and nod thing, and move onto the kitchen. About 2 hours into it I am still furious at myself for misplacing my ring, and very, very tired - so I call it a night. I did offer a quick prayer - mostly because I had told my husband I would - not that I really hoped or expected that I would get any help - I also felt that I was not in the correct attitude to pray, and that wasn't going to change anytime that evening.
My husband offers words of encouragement and is sure it will turn up (points for not yelling at me about it even though I deserved it). I agree with him, and mention that one of the next places I was going to check in the morning was our kitchen trash bag. He wishes me luck in my search, but is pretty sure it is not there and makes it a point to tell me that. I keep it on my mental list reasoning "with my luck, it will end up in a messy place like that - I think I did move some papers from the table to the trash in the time frame the ring vanished in."
The next morning, I take 5 minutes and start transferring the trash to a new trash bag and checking it. I chose that place because I could spare 10 minutes of time, and it was the messiest place on my list of possible ring sites to check next that fit the time I had available. Lo and behold, there is the ring :P

LESSONS LEARNED:
  • I am correct in the sense that it was my thought process and elbow grease that found the ring. I was able to "reason it out in my mind".
  • That my husband's prayer answer is also correct - just not in the meaning he would expect.
  • I can respect my husband's prayer process - I think he needed to know that it had been prayed for and would be found so that he could interact with me in a non-upset manner. My husband and I emotionally cycle around each other not infrequently, so we try to take turns grounding the other person whenever possible. My life would have been a lot harder that day if my husband had not had a good attitude in the face of a rather potentially pricey situation.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Different Perspective on Prayer

Post by Curt Sunshine » 23 Feb 2018, 12:20

Excellent conclusions, Amy - and, while I tend to be highly skeptical of the general concept of a God who would help me find my car keys while not helping people out of highly abusive relationships, for example, there is one more possible lesson:

Somehow, for some reason, divine help of some kind allowed you to think of where your ring was before you threw away the trash and lost it.

I can't say I believe strongly that happened, and I can't say I understand it if it did happen, but I have to keep it as a possibility if I am trying to be open to things I don't understand or accept automatically or reflexively - if only to keep my mind and heart open to things I might miss if I close off the possibility that things might be different than what I currently believe.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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mom3
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Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Different Perspective on Prayer

Post by mom3 » 23 Feb 2018, 15:45

I lost glasses this week. We had all searched high and low (eventually finding them). My conversation with Heaven went something like this, "I am not going to ask you to help me find them. I am so tired of that being your only gift. But I would love some help remembering when and where I had them."

It was hours later, after I physically re-enacted my morning that we found them. That lends itself to no God of Lost Keys. Later I had a thought -

Does offering a prayer slow us down enough for our brain to catch up?

I did say a prayer of gratitude. I am a huge proponent of gratitude from where ever it comes from.

I am glad you found your rings.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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dande48
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Re: Different Perspective on Prayer

Post by dande48 » 23 Feb 2018, 16:54

This reminds me of a joke I heard, a while back:

There was these two Rabbi, who on the way home one Sunday, got into a deep discussion concerning the existance of God. In the end, both of them arrived at the conclusion that God does not exist. They felt disheartened, but they carried on home and went to sleep. When one of the Rabbi woke up the next morning, he was suprised to see his fellow praying out on the lawn.

"What are you doing, brother?" asked the Rabbi, puzzled. "I thought we both agreed God does not exist? Why on earth would you be praying?"

"What does God have to do with it?" responded his fellow.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Different Perspective on Prayer

Post by Minyan Man » 23 Feb 2018, 18:37

I hope this isn't too far off the topic of this post.

I wonder sometimes if God wants us to struggle with the affairs of this life & the choices we make before he chooses to give comfort
or answers to our prayers.

For example,
my oldest son recently completed a Master Program with the ultimate goal of getting a promotion & a BIG salary increase.
He got good grades, completed the work, got the diploma & the promotion didn't come as expected. (Including the salary increase.)
It is coming time for him to start repaying student loans & he doesn't have extra funds to make the payments. He calls us & asks if we
can help him out. So, I told him that since we are retired, we live on a fixed income & I need to review our own situation before
I can give I'm my answer. I let time pass until just before the payment schedule kicked in. I realized in a situation like this that if we
help out, he has to listen to our advice concerning living on a budget, looking at the possibility of a 2nd job or starting a business on the
side, etc. Over the holidays, we had the talk & I told him the amount we could help with. You could physically see the relief in his eyes & body.
As I thought about it more, isn't this what God does to us or for us? Face the challenges or problems, come up with a solution, talk with
friends & family, develop a plan to solve the problem, then ask God for confirmation. Or, am I missing the point of prayer?

I call this: THE PARABLE OF THE STUDENT LOAN.

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Ilovechrist77
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Joined: 08 Nov 2011, 21:42

Re: Different Perspective on Prayer

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 24 Feb 2018, 00:58

I hope this isn't too far off the topic of this post.

I wonder sometimes if God wants us to struggle with the affairs of this life & the choices we make before he chooses to give comfort
or answers to our prayers.

For example,
my oldest son recently completed a Master Program with the ultimate goal of getting a promotion & a BIG salary increase.
He got good grades, completed the work, got the diploma & the promotion didn't come as expected. (Including the salary increase.)
It is coming time for him to start repaying student loans & he doesn't have extra funds to make the payments. He calls us & asks if we
can help him out. So, I told him that since we are retired, we live on a fixed income & I need to review our own situation before
I can give I'm my answer. I let time pass until just before the payment schedule kicked in. I realized in a situation like this that if we
help out, he has to listen to our advice concerning living on a budget, looking at the possibility of a 2nd job or starting a business on the
side, etc. Over the holidays, we had the talk & I told him the amount we could help with. You could physically see the relief in his eyes & body.
As I thought about it more, isn't this what God does to us or for us? Face the challenges or problems, come up with a solution, talk with
friends & family, develop a plan to solve the problem, then ask God for confirmation. Or, am I missing the point of prayer?

I call this: THE PARABLE OF THE STUDENT LOAN
Minyan Man, thank for sharing that great experience. That's how I was taught to do it as well. I've had a mixture of times where in some instances where I've lost things and I've prayed and I've found them. And I've had other times in my life where I've lost some items, prayed, and still could never find them. Hahah. It's funny how life works sometimes.

DancingCarrot
Posts: 173
Joined: 23 May 2014, 18:24

Re: Different Perspective on Prayer

Post by DancingCarrot » 02 Mar 2018, 08:14

AmyJ, thanks for sharing your conclusions. I fall on the side of not believing in the God of Lost Keys, mainly because I've actually tried to find lost things through prayer and it has never worked. I hear stories, like yours, of people finding the items or finding peace and then the items, so I try to keep a space open in my mind for them, but it still doesn't resonate for me. However, I think it's great that we all are able to find what helps and comforts us. It sounds like that happened to both you and your husband in a stressful situation.
dande48 wrote:
23 Feb 2018, 16:54
"What does God have to do with it?" responded his fellow.
This made me laugh, and then think. I'll be mulling over this for a while. Thanks, dande.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

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