As a Christian, I believe in the power of prayer.

As a victim of extended unemployment, I’ve come to change some of my opinions on how prayer works.

I still believe God answers our prayers, the problem is too often we do not pray as we’re supposed to. Let me give an example of what my head is thinking (remember my post on brain fog? yeah, let’s see if we can mumble through this together without me losing any of you):

  • In high school, I might pray that God would help me get an A on an exam. That’s great, right? But God already knows what I’m going to get since he’s omnipotent, right? It’s like when my kids ask for some horrible pure sugar sour patch gummi worms they see in the check out line – sure, they can ask but I already know the answer is NOT ON YOUR LIFE. Doesn’t ever stop them from asking.
  • How then are we to pray, if we know God knows everything that’s already supposed to happen? I really don’t think we’re supposed to ask Him for Things. Good grades, candy, a boyfriend (another frequent high school request), a job. I think what we’re really supposed to ask is for Him to open our eyes, to give us clarity to SEE His works in our lives.
  • Too often we pray, “Dear God, please let me get an A on that European History test, I know I didn’t study as hard as I could have but I need an A to pass the class and not fuck up my GPA, Amen.”
  • We really should pray more like this: “Dear God, you gave me this brain. Help me to use it to the best of its ability, and if the results of this exam do fuck up my GPA, help me to find acceptance and trust that all is in Your Hands and to motivate me to study more next time.”

Does that even make sense?

I guess these thoughts lately have stemmed from others around us praying that “the right person buys the car they need to sell this weekend” or that “the AC in the condo they just bought that died overnight will be covered by the home warrenty.” Like when these things happen (God answers in the affirmative) it’s proof that prayer works and that their prayers were heard. The flip side is that our prayers of “Please send us a job for hubs with a steady salary, benefits, and stability” have obviously been answered in the negative so far. What does that mean? We aren’t praying hard enough? We aren’t praying often enough? It frustrates me to see people asking and receiving as much as it does to hear of folks who have been praying for us throughout this whole ordeal.

I think prayer is a state of mind more than just a specific act. Sure, confessing wrong doings and praising God through your humble on-your-knees quiet times is definitely a good things. It’s the asking. I don’t think we’re supposed to do it. Instead of asking we should be in a constant state of being receptive to God, of being able to hear Him when he does work in our lives. Then instead of feeling so beat down as to why our prayers keep being answered in the negative, we’re actually encouraged to see how despite 2.5+ years without a salary, benefits, and stability we’ve managed just barely.

Even though we are floating in a vast ocean clinging to the last board, that board is still there. We haven’t been forgotten. God has worked through friends and family to not just help provide, but to bless. We’ve made more relationships in the past 2.5 years than we had in the previous 7.5 years of our marriage combined. We’ve given more of ourselves in that time as well. We KNOW what we have is from God, and He is the reason we aren’t living in my parent’s basement. Yet.

So instead of praying for a job, for a salary, for stability, I chose to instead be in a prayerful, almost meditative state – when driving, cleaning, doing chores – and to be reflecting on the faith and trust I need in Him to keep our heads above water. These constant self-reminders of how far God has helped us come as well as a constant seeking of His Hand in the everyday leaves me feeling so much more fulfilled and loving and faithful.