I was wondering yesterday if God doesn’t have a good laugh over some of our prayers. In an old Burt Reynolds movie, his character is thrown off a boat and, left dog paddling, he frantically looks around. In one direction he can see a dot of land. He prays and promises God all the things he will give up if God will let it him live. I can’t remember his list, but everybody in the theater laughed because we could all relate. Let’s just say it was something like, “God, if you’ll let me make it back to shore, I’ll give up women and gambling and drinking and cheating at cards.”
Burt swam on and could see how much closer he was and said, “God, if only you’ll let me live, I’ll give up most of those women and cut way back on my gambling and drinking and cheating at cards.” By the time he made it to land, he expressed sincere gratitude to God for saving his life, and said he really was going to try to be a better person, though he couldn’t say exactly how. Oh, yeah, we can relate.
When I think of billions of us petitioning the Heavens for one thing or another, it seems like it would be a big mess of jangling noise. There are the demands from, “I want my job back now!” to “Death to the infidels!” The whining, “He was my boyfriend for two years, God!” The pleading, “Save our home, God.” There are requests for healing, some thank you’s and lots of requests for hitting the lottery. It has got to be noisy.
I don’t see God in my mind’s eye sitting on a throne check-marking a list of prayers like Santa: “Naughty–no way!” or “She’s nearly a saint, yes, of course.” I know God hears every sincere prayer, as do our Guardian Angels, so why does it seem some prayers go unanswered—especially the most heartfelt like, “Please, God, don’t let my daddy die!”
Prayer is a powerful—a very powerful—way of connecting with God. It is, I believe, a spiritual and genetic birthright, like a built-in beam of Love between us and God, on which our prayers travel to Heaven, and His/Her love and compassion travel back to us. So, why are some prayers answered and others are not? I can think of several reasons why our prayers aren’t answered:
- Each of us picks a life of learning that will include hardship, before we are born. Earth is a school for us, our ultimate goal being spiritual growth, connection (real Love) with God, with other humans and our Earth Mother. So, from the space between lives, we may choose an illness, early death, or a painful death, or to lose someone we love in a way we never loved before. I think many of those decisions are not undone, no matter how much we or others pray. (Of course, who am I to say?)
- Our God of the universe sees the really big picture and knows that things we currently pray for may not be the best for us in the long run, even though we may not realize this until later.
- God also knows if what we want is very self-centered, or abusive to others or to our planet, and cannot give an affirmative to those types of requests.
I have two prayers I say a lot, though I still pray others, too—I can’t seem to resist throwing in my own two-cents worth! My main prayer is, “Lord, Your Will be Done, because I know how much You love us and know what is best for us.” I also pray simply for the “best possible outcomes,” allowing that we each have our own contracts, so-to-speak, made before we are born.
Prayer is a communication between us and God, like having a good talk with a friend. In placing the outcome into God’s hands, we make a leap of faith that whatever happens will be the best it can be, all things considered. And, when things don’t go our way, and sometimes they don’t, we can ask God for the strength to get through the difficulties. Those prayers are answered, always.