When I was a boy my mother used to read me children’s Bible bedtime stories. We read all about Noah’s ark, Moses, Jesus walking on water, and all of the well known stories of the Bible. After the stories, it was time for me to say my nightly prayers.
I can easily now look back over my life, and my experiences with prayer. As a child, my prayers were about giving thanks, and then about helping me to not sin. As a child, I really didn’t understand God, and honestly, the church my mother took me to, never made any sense to me at all. Even still my prayers continued, but they took a dramatic turn in the sense that I left thankfulness behind, and prayers became for the purpose of asking God for what I wanted. “Please God let me have that bicycle”, “Please God let that girl like me”, “Please God don’t let me get caught and get in trouble”, the asking escalated as I grew. Oh yes, I have prayed the most famous prayer more than one time; “Please God, get me out of this and I swear I’ll never do it again!” Right.
Truth be told, I wasn’t really a “God” type of guy. I just wanted what I wanted. The trouble was that all the things that I wanted to do, were things that I was told that God would not want me to do. I wasn’t supposed to have sexual relations with girls but…. ? Are you kidding? I wasn’t supposed to fight, or smoke, or drink, or smoke that marijuana. I did not do very well, because all the things that looked good to me were things that I was not supposed to do. So I asked God, I really asked God, I pleaded with God, I tried to figure out how to bargain with God, and in the end I decided that I hated God. He certainly didn’t seem to care much for me. Life became pretty dark during this time, and remained that way for a while. I was bitter towards God, I would say in one breath that I did not believe in God, and then in the next breath, I would curse Him.
It took more than a few slaps to the head for me to come to. When I did come to, the first thing I saw was that I was totally 100% pure crazy. (or as my friend Dale Worley likes to say “A little tetched”) I clearly saw that I had been asking to jump off a ten story building, but I didn’t want to get hurt. I wanted to eat 10 cakes, but not get fat. I wanted to get really drunk and then drive to some other location, but not run into anything. I would ask God to help me build a house, but I would be digging a hole. If God was my Father, I was the problem child. It was me that was causing the trouble, not God. I realized that I had probably been working God half to death.
With this simple awareness, came great change. The change in no way took place over night, but this is where things began to change. This is where I began to change. This was the time in my life when I began to get a hammer and some nails, and whatever materials I could find, and then ask God to help me build a house. This I found, worked much better. For me, the ultimate question was “What have you done for God?” I had always asked and asked and asked, and had never given anything in return, save for my word that “I will never do this again”. My word wasn’t worth much to God or to anybody else, and not even myself for that matter. This is a one-sided relationship, a toxic relationship, a relationship that can in no way function properly. I had to learn to give to God.
I began by giving thanks. By developing an “attitude of gratitude”. I asked “How can I be of service to you?” I began to practice the golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Let me tell you that as I changed, as I became a part of the relationship, my life changed, and oh how it has changed! The more I give to God, the more I comply with the simple Universal Laws, the more I get. It’s as simple as that.
Today, I am an active participant in my relationship with God. I have come to understand that there is no thing in the Universe that is by mistake. We are not here to live forever on this earth, or we would. All around me people ask “Will you pray for this person?” “Will you add me to your prayer list?” I see people asking and begging for God to save a person, for God to do this and that, and I just don’t know what to say. I am not afraid to tell God what I want, or to talk candidly with God, but I have come to understand that the best thing I can pray for is “Thy will be done”.
God is all and all is God
I see God in all people and in all things
I see God in you, and I see God in myself
All the Universe is Holy and Sacred.