I realized just now that a prayer of mine had been answered, and thought it would be a good idea--for myself and others--to mention it as well as another one--since this made two answered prayers in as many days.
The first answered prayer--well, I didn't even realize I'd prayed it until it was answered! On Tuesday, I attended a conference, and by the end of the day felt the weight of some accumulated disappointments and annoyances having to do with the content of some of the sessions and the behavior of some of the attendees. I think we all naturally rebel against this sort of negativity, since it is so contrary to our nature as God's children. And at the heart of that rebellion is the desire to see harmony. So, at the same time I felt the imposition of this weight, I also desired to be free of it. At the time, that's all I was aware of--that I felt annoyed and didn't want to.
I was leaving the building where the conference was held, when I saw a former colleague, whom I hadn't seen in a couple of years. Now, when we worked together, I have to tell you, that I had a pretty low opinion of him. And employees came and went so frequently where we used to work, that I was genuinely surprised that he remembered me. At any rate, the last time we had bumped into one another, he told me he had just gotten engaged, so I asked him about it. He was ready to celebrate his second anniversary with his wife, and they were expecting a son in a few months. He'd bought a house, and for the past couple of years had been working somewhere I knew would be easier than where we'd worked together. From where I was standing, his life was PERFECT! So where was this guy I'd looked down on a few years ago? He certainly wasn't the guy standing in front of me!!
And in that moment, the weight I'd felt just vanished. Here was God, divine Love, at work! Love was providing all this good in this man's life, and Love had lifted the clouds from my view of the world and this man. The realest thing to me was God's presence and love, and the perfection of his children. I was elated!
Driving home, I realized what had happened. First and foremost, my prayer for peace had been answered. "But you didn't actually stop and pray," you say? Well, the way I understand it, prayer is consecrated thought. And a right desire is certainly a consecrated thought. In one of my favorite passages from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes, "Thoughts unspoken are not unknown to the divine Mind [God]. Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in word and in deeds" (p. 1). So, really, I had desire-prayed, and within minutes, my prayer was answered. I'm still floating from this one, I have to say. :)
The other answered prayer I recognized this morning. Over the past few days, it felt like I was being pulled in many directions, especially related to what activities were filling my days. I had the sense of stress that I should wake up each morning and dive into my Bible study and prayer, but it wasn't quite happening to the extent that I wanted before I moved on to other activities, and then I felt guilty...and then I was mad that I was indulging thoughts of guilt because they're as unproductive as the other thoughts. Hmph!
So yesterday, as I was reflecting on the incident with my former colleague, I thought about those prayers that I have consistently seen answered immediately--the prayers for right feelings, and so I prayed to want to get more out of my Bible study and prayer, as well as not to be so hung up on time and my to-do list. Essentially, I was asking God to help me feel my natural desire to be close to Him, and to feel the freedom and joy that are natural to me as His child.
And that's exactly what happened. I woke up this morning feeling peaceful and excited to go learn something from the weekly Bible Lesson. At first, I thanked God for the feeling of freedom and was so happy it came at the time of day I seemed to want it most...then I realized my desire-prayer had really been targeted at that time of day anyway, and I was seeing exactly what I'd prayed for!
Okay, so I think I explained the concept of a desire-prayer. But what do I mean by a prayer for right feelings? Well, a right feeling would be something that's yours by right as God's child (and we're ALL God's children), something that comes from the basis that God is perfect and perfectly in charge of all. So things like peace, joy, freedom, comfort, creativity. And then we can also pray for right thoughts. I usually think of right thoughts as seeing the situation the way God does; like I did with that former colleague--I caught a glimpse of the perfect man God created, not the ugly picture I seemed to have created and carried around all that time.
These prayers are always answered. Period. In the Bible, Jesus says, "Ask, and ye shall receive." But later, James writes, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3). To me that means that the only reason a prayer wouldn't be answered is if it's asked from a selfish motive. This passage from Science and Health, really explains this point: asking amiss. And that's why we should never ask for things, or events to occur. God knows what's best for us all and provides it. [Here, I refer you to the title of this blog, and the Bible verse that inspired it: Jeremiah 29:11 :)] And if we pray to see things like God does, we'll always be in good shape.
Posted Thursday, August 5, 2010, on Thoughts of Peace.