When you’re a kid, you think of a prayer as a quarter you’d drop in a vending machine. You push the right button and you expect God to dispense whatever it is you need. When we grow up, we start realizing that it doesn’t work like that.
For some people, this actually leads to a crisis of faith. They may wonder, “How can I know if God’s there when he doesn’t answer my prayers?” or they may think they’re wasting their time, that their God (or Goddess, or whatever Higher Power they believe in) doesn’t actually care.
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The truth is, all prayers are answered. With some, the answer is just a simple ‘no’. We can’t get everything we want from that Great Spirit in the sky— we have to learn to be responsible about taking care of ourselves. There are certain prayers, however, that never go unanswered.
In times of trouble and fear, you may be tempted to pray to have your challenges alleviated. That’s understandable—we all want our loads lightened, but that’s not reality.
What you should pray for instead is the strength to get through it and endure. This strength will only help to make us stronger in the long run, to carry the next load (and there will be a next load).
Everyone has fears—whether they admit it or not. Sometimes it can make us want to run away, turn our backs on people, bury our heads in the sand or just give up. Life is scary, and that’s a given. There are always going to be scary things to face.
We can’t pray to have those things taken away, though we can pray for the courage to face them. This is a much better approach, because these experiences will build us up to face even more difficult things to come.
There are times when you may feel like you just want to fall apart. Even though there are so many great joys in life, there’s also incredible sorrow. Sometimes, the inner pain can feel like too much to bear.
These are the times when you should pray for comfort—ask that you be wrapped in a cocoon of love and safety. Curl up, close your eyes and try to feel it— it will be there. This kind of prayer can help you get through the most troubled nights.
No one is omnipotent, and sometimes you realize you just don’t get it. You want to understand—you want to have compassion, and put your concerns to rest—but you just don’t know where to turn. Turn to a Higher Power at that point, with a prayer for understanding.
This can help you in turn improve your relationship with others, because even when you don’t agree you can at least find the clarity to go forward.
Anyone can feel lost once in a while. We all face problems and we just don’t always know what to do. We fret over what’s the best move, and second guess ourselves. At that point, send out a prayer for guidance.
Ask for the way to be made clear for you, and then look around for the signs. They’ll soon become quite evident. That doesn’t mean it will make your next move any easier, but at least you know you can take it with the confidence that you’re making the best move you can.
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