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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Power of Prayer

Jules here-
New life motto. An earlier version of "Just Do It"

During this Holy Week, we had ample opportunities to deepen our faith.  Many people chose to rekindle their relationship with God through reconciliation, Mass, and the Stations of the Cross.  However, other people may find this time of year challenging to their beliefs.  So many feel as if their prayers "aren't answered" or that God "isn't listening to me."  Some even wonder why "God needs praise."  Even if you have doubts about God's plan or if God truly listens to you, the power of prayer goes beyond having your pleas answered. Science is just catching up to the idea that prayer does heal and help.... so don't discount the side effects of prayer:

  • Worries Leave Your Mind- As humans, we have a tendency to overthink, analyze, and worry about everything from the weather to illness. When you pray, it gives your mind a chance to release some of your hidden anxieties and stresses.  Even simply speaking your fears and concerns aloud will help your body process and alleviate the burdens of our daily lives.
    One of my favorite Normal Rockwell paintings
  • Insight- As my worries, fears, and anxieties are put into words, I often glean insight into my own inner sanctum. I can discern my true burdens amidst all the clutter in my brain. Also, my children add "intentions" at the end of our prayers and they offer a fascinating insight into their own concerns.  They say anything from, "I pray that my gym class group is nice to me today" to "I hope that Miss Smith's kitty cat is up in heaven now."  I learn about what consumes their minds and I can help them process how to handle certain situations- I can be God's vessel for answering their prayers!
  • Perspective- When I pray, especially with my children, I try to pray for the less fortunate: the terminally ill, lonely elderly, homeless, etc.  After hearing the challenges of others, my piddly worries seem minute and petty.  By putting my fears and anxieties in perspective, I can appreciate what I truly have.
  • Conversations with Mercy- In Catholicism, God is a merciful, benevolent, and kind Father to us. He offers us unconditional love and forgiveness- our prayers can be expressions of our guilt and doubt.  When you pray aloud your sins, you can realize the error of your ways as well as formulate a plan to improve yourself (this works best in the sacrament of Reconciliation).
  • Gratitude- Some prayers are simple thanksgiving- I take a moment to appreciate that all my appliances are working, or my children are healthy, or I was able to juggle all of our activities without losing my mind this week, etc.  When I pause to reflect and appreciate, I focus on the positive, and appreciate even the daily, mundane time with my kids. I revel in the simplicity and happiness! 
    Lake Opechee, basically my backyard one block away-- I am so grateful for my sunsets!
  • Patience- When you pray, you have to wait.  It paces you to reflect more deeply on your fears, anxieties, sins, and appreciations.  You have a moment to crystallize your inner thoughts and ideas- and if you have a well-formed conscience, it can help you make decisions.  Prayer will teach you patience
    I saw this posted on Facebook the day the first house I bought fell through due to failed inspections. I was devastated until I saw that mantra-- and the next day I found my dream home :)
Are you praying for the right reasons? Are you just going through the motions while you bless your food or praying for an ambulance as it goes by? Even if you have doubts- YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE!! Prayer can only help ease your own mind and cease your worrying.  Prayer is simple, can be done anywhere at anytime, and it can bring your family closer together.

And --who knows-- just maybe Someone is listening to your prayers....

Easy Rule #143- Praying for the wrong reasons might end up helping you anyway.

Easy Rule #1231- Leave your worries to God, he stays up all night anyway. 

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