Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A little bit of prayer.

Prayer is a big part of my life. Prior to seminary, I did a bit of praying each day, but nothing like what I do now. I pray to different deities, depending on what's going on. Most often I sort of "go through the list" and say a few words to all those I worship. This feels right to me, and may or may not work for others. It's what I've fallen into, and it's comfortable enough to keep me at it, and difficult enough that I don't become lax about it. That seems to be about the right combination for my own sense of correctness in religious/spiritual discipline. Generally I pray in the evening, before going to sleep or close to that time. Sometimes I pray in the afternoon (and I am now following a noon-time discipline that requires me to stop for a minute at noon and focus), and less often in the morning (I suspect that the gods wouldn't appreciate me pre-coffee LOL).

The last week has been full of very extreme life changes. We're moving, we don't yet have a house and are staying in transitory housing, we're dealing with friends and family who have bad medical problems, and much of our stuff is currently locked away from us in our old house, where we have no access to it. One of the medical emergencies was a friend of ours who managed to get second degree burns down his right side.

That first night in ICU, we spent taking turns sitting with him in the burn unit. He was asleep for most of it, on morphine and hooked up to an IV and a zillion machines. During my shift, after he settled down and drifted off, I put my hands together in prayer. I prayed steadily for almost two hours. I prayed for his safety, for his health, for his recovery. I prayed for a lot of things over the course of that night. Amazingly, his burns are healing well. They are not going to be fully healed for a long time, but it's amazing how quickly the damage is evening out. Prayer does work.

I came home from the ICU, expecting hugs from our children that I badly needed... and discovered the place was empty. Their grandmother had fallen and needed help, and so sis loaded herself and the kids and drove off to Chicago post haste. More bad news. More worry. More prayers sent out.

Sometime that day (Sunday), I realized the one thing I hadn't been praying for: myself. I don't mean that in an egotistical sense, but just in a regular "saying prayers" kind of way. I had neglected myself and my own family in my prayers. I sat there for a good half hour wondering how long that had been going on, and realized that I could not remember the last time I'd sat down and said an honest, heart-felt prayer for myself.

I corrected that immediately.

I don't know if the prayer for myself and my family caused the good things to begin happening, or if I simply opened myself up to the positive that was already present, but within a half hour of that prayer, there was an immediate turn around in our situations. We heard good things about our friend, sis's mother, and what will hopefully be our new house.

So... as you go about your day, don't forget to take a pause and say a prayer for yourself. I don't mean asking God for a pony; stay away from self-serving things, of course. It's not wrong, however, to ask for help dealing with a problem, or lightening of a load that just feels too heavy. Don't be afraid to start that conversation with whatever god you worship and believe in. Clasp your hands together, open your mouth and your heart.
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