Today's sharing is
something I received from a young man who attended one of my workshops. I share it with you hoping it will touch your heart as it touched
mine. Thank you, Derrick. A lesson learned and shared guarantees
Start with Prayer
many times have we heard that prayer changes things? As much as I
personally agree with that sentiment I sometimes fail to look at prayer
from all of its aspects. I had to learn that to develop a more profound
understanding of how prayer changes things in ways that I am sometimes
do not appreciate and, ways I have difficulty being peace about. I
realized that my perspective of prayer often causes me to doubt my faith
or to lose faith in its power.
I was taught that if ever my
life gets turned upside down, without prayer it will be difficult to
flip it upright. Nonetheless, I fail to pray as often or consistently
as I should. I also forget the prayers that I have prayed.
few years ago I experienced a shake up in the form of an ugly breakup
with a woman that I had dated off and on for eight years. It turned my
life upside down and I thought equal but opposite energy was needed to
flip it back to its correct side.
Eventually I learned
that the initial flip was the crisis, and prayer was the energy needed
to make the correction. Whenever I slip out of tune with my spirit I
loose the ability to differentiate between crisis and correction. Although one can exist from a lack of prayer and the other can exists as
a result, I often experienced the crisis and the correction in the same
way—I didn’t want either.
In hindsight, the answers
to my prayers often showed up much sooner than I was able to accept
them. As a result, I often missed them completely. I lost sight of the
answers to my prayers because I didn’t want to do the work that went
into making the corrections that answered prayers offer. On a very
unhealthy level it was gratifying to completely miss the answers to my
prayers because it allowed me to stay in my comfort zone of self-pity
and denial. I would then either forget the prayer request or write it
off as a prayer gone unanswered.
In my arrogance I
sometimes ignore the things that the universe is kind enough to show
me. Life has shown me that shake-ups are inevitable and even when I
don’t invite crisis I can’t always prevent it. It has also taught me
that I should always be receptive to correction and opportunity. This
has not been my state of mind; I often want the rebuild without the
renovation, but ripping apart and destruction must take place first.
second phase of a renovation is the most cumbersome and tedious, the
cutting away, and removing of unwanted or unnecessary materials. After a
lot of measuring twice, cutting once, and reconstruction the end
result is the refreshed new space. This is a metaphor for my life. The
breakup wasn’t about the woman, it was about a prayer being answered.
The process of rebuilding an outdated life is often as unsettling as the
incident that incited the overhaul.
When shake-ups occur
we need to stop, be still and think back to what we have prayed for.
We can become so busy racking up prayers that we forget them. When we
fail to remember our requests we often perceive the prayers as
unanswered. Once upon a time forgetting what I prayed for didn’t seem
like much of an issue. I would lie to myself that I had moved on from a
certain person or obstacle then a new major crisis would show up. It’s
a bad habit that led me to a host of ways that I’ve taught myself to
deal with crisis. I have resorted to anger, guilt or fallen into
As I take a new look at prayer’s power to
change me and my life has clear that a forgotten prayer can be as
detrimental to my spiritual well being as not praying at all. The
answers to my forgotten prayers stress my consciousness’s attempt at
spiritual and mental wellness. Often it appears that many things going
wrong at once.
In the past I would literally began to
believe that some supernatural force was punishing me. I know
understand that when I pray a series of prayers, certain events are put
into motion. Each of these events is supported by God’s love. Instead
of falling back into my same toxic patterns of dealing with upsets
and/or disappointments, I have learned to accept that changes MUST take
place in order for my prayers to be answered. I’m not always going to
like the changes, but I must recognize that upheavals and breakdowns in
life are not punishment or retribution by the God. It’s not universal
karma negatively coming back on me, or even a curse.
simply balance, and balance is always peaceful. God and the universe
only want peace; whether I understand it in the moment or not. What
pleases God will always benefit me. The more willing I am to understand
this spiritual design the less leverage I give to my ego.
answered prayers almost never look like my limited vision of God
Almighty’s will. The truth is my prayers are being answered every
nano-second of every day that I acknowledge God’s presence. An
answered prayer will, on occasion, arrive disguised as a mishap; meaning
anything from a stumped toe to something as large as terminal illness.
learning to have faith knowing that somehow I prayed that shake up into
my life. The momentary strife or life changing predicament also has
the potential to be a correction or an opportunity for me to learn and
to grow. Contention has enabled me to clean up the messes that I’ve
made in my life. I can’t clean up my mess without getting to know my
mess. I have to experience it in order to clean it up. It’s to be
expected that I will have to revisit all of the mess that I made. I
can’t accept the sweetness of life without accepting the sour.
Don’t Help Crisis
isn’t such a bad thing. In the moment of crisis my obstacles seem very
heavy and immobile and at those times I remain mindful of the decisions
I make. When I fall back into making habitual and unhealthy choices
the chaotic outcome will frequently lead me to the correction I need. I
am still not completely healed of this behavior. I am still prone to
engage in some form of this coping method.
I’ll go visit
my ex-girlfriend after a hard and frustrating day with work. Out of
aggravation with potential clients, I would pick her apart or pick an
argument with her. I would actually think I felt better afterwards. In
reality all I did was give myself more work and more stuff to clean
up. Now on top of all the work involving finding new clients, I have to
mend a broken relationship with my ex-girlfriend.
forgot my prayer requests. I had forgotten that I previously prayed for
something that went contrary to acquiring those new clients. As a
result I didn’t understand the evolution of crisis. The universe was
supporting me. My failure to make new deals was an opportunity. I
could have released my irritation by taking a long hot bath or by taking
a long run; things that prepare me for correction.
in that bath I could have come up with ideas conducive to deepening the
bond between my girlfriend and I, or while on that run I could have
realized that the prayer to run further has come to fruition because I’m
running further than I ever had before. I must remember that
unfortunate events will occur from time to time to bring my prayers to
Praying In The Best Way That We Know How At That Time
remember being eight or nine years old and being upset with my parents
because they denied me something that I felt entitled to. Surely
something minor like an expensive toy, an opportunity to go outside and
play, or some really unhealthy food. Today it’s clear that I really
didn’t need any of those things but at the time with my limited
understanding it felt as if I was being denied the right to exist.
parents were always church going people so even at this age I
understood what prayer was supposed to do, so in retaliation against my
parents, and with my parochial depth of understanding I would pray for
some heinous event to be visited upon them. Thank God for his mercies,
and that he protects babies and fools, that none of those prayers were
ever answered, but I can’t help but to think about all of the times that
I have done this as an adult. It makes me cringe to think about all of
the times that I prayed out of anger, or out of ego. What a dangerous
thing for me to do!
Within months of my relationship
horribly ending I had to sell my home because I lost my job, and then my
grandmother passed away after a long battle with cancer. In the span
of less than a year three major fixtures in my life were gone.
cocktail of events had me at the lowest place I had ever been in
life. The hurt and the pain were vivid. I felt slighted and
disgusted. I was hurt. I felt stupid, betrayed, lost, confused,
scared, angry, unimportant, and unattractive. To get a reprieve from
the catastrophe much like I did as a child, I fell to my knees and in
retaliation I prayed the most heinous prayer that I could muster; and
that was for retribution.
I know that whenever I allow my ego to take hold, prayer will bring me
back—to my senses. I have made it a practice with a tremendous
amount of help to take the time to pray everyday and to honor my prayers
by remembering them. I am learning to be more patient with myself and
with others especially when I am in a crisis and working to remain open
to all opportunities for correction and for growth. I commit to these
truths understanding that God will support me as I willfully travel his
road. Don’t just enjoy the day, let the day enjoy you.