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How to Pray and Prayers Unanswered
When you are a kid, your vocabulary is full of I want, I want, I want. Parents do their best to curb this attitude. Luckily, I attended parochial schools and my parents had reinforcements!
It was in Catholic schools that I really learned how to pray.
Sweet! Now I could ask God for all the stuff I wanted. I had the inside track!
We learned that was not going to be the case. Instead, we learned that prayer is a conversation with God.
Adoration or Love
We were taught to praise God for whom He is. Additionally, we pray to tell God we love Him. This was a common way to begin our prayers.
Next we learned to give thanks for the good things that you have. We learned to thank God for our family, friends, home, safety, school, etc. After telling God we love Him, thank him for the wondrous gifts he has given us.
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We often did the Act of Contrition during our nightly prayers. We said we were sorry for our sins. We later learned there were sins of commission and omission. These were things we did wrong and things we failed to do. Hurting someone and failing to help are both sins. We learned to say sorry for both.
This is the moment for which we were all waiting . This is when we got to ask for the good stuff. Maybe we didn’t have to study anymore. We would just pray that we did well on the test. Maybe we could ask for anything from God. I think we started to think of God as a genie granting wishes.
We learned to refine how we prayed. As we got older I remember being taught that asking God for things is really your last line of defense. We were taught you have to do your part as best you can. In some cases, when you are defeated, you can ask God to meet you half way. There are times when you really can’t do your whole part on your own. This is when you can ask God to pick up your slack.
My high school social studies teacher said a prayer before a test. I don’t completely recall it but it was along the lines of “Dear God. I have studied for the test. Please give me the calm to let the answers come to me.” We had learned to do our part and ask God for things such as grace, calm or confidence in our studies.
Evolution of the “Prayer”
As time moved on, I became a more mature ‘prayer’. I kept in mind what I learned. I praised God first. I thanked him next. I said I was sorry and kept my infractions to the highlights. Then I asked for something if I needed it.
When I was a kid, I would ask for things. As I was maturing, I was asking for guidance. I might ask for God to watch over someone. I prayed for people who were sick. Rarely did I ask for myself outside of grace, calm and confidence. These tended to get me thru the tough times.
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My First Prayer Test and I Failed
When I graduated from college, I got wait listed for Medical school. I have always gotten something that I worked hard for, up to this point. Not this time! What was going on? I got God on the line, stat!
Books: Unanswered Prayers
Regression in Prayer
This is when you start playing the prayer game. Sometimes you feel like you can trade with God during prayer. I praise you twice and thank you 3 times. I ask for one thing. 5 for You. 1 for Me. This seems about right. Well it is not, and this method of thinking is a recipe for disaster. I was quickly reminded of something ingrained in my head for years that must have fallen out.
My Memory Was Awakened
God answers prayers in His time. Not mine.
Fine! I will wait. I will keep doing what I am supposed to be doing. I kept praying to get into Medical School. This was my next step. This is what was supposed to happen when I graduated college.
Alas, the Fall rolls around. I am still on the wait list. It hit home. I was not getting into Medical school in the Fall. WHAT? I was pre-med. That is what I was supposed to do. Dear God!
My Real Journey Had Begun
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. What a lovely way to reminisce and realize all that you have learned. It is the going thru it that stinks! My early twenties revolved around working and trying to figure out what I really wanted to do. The big plan fell thru. I applied again to no avail. I was not going to be a doctor. So, now what will I be?
I ended up just fine. I found my way into the computer industry right before Y2K and it suited me well. Our team was configured to analyze code and adjust for the fail points in the date format. It was because of all my hard work that the world didn’t come to an end!
Thank God For Unanswered Prayers
Don't Worry! WE Got There
Now I am a stay at home mom with 5 kids ranging from 7 to 2. I have thought multiple times, thank GOODNESS, I did not get into medical school!
I would be a doctor now. I might even be a Mom. But, I am sure I would not be a stay at home Mom. I doubt I could have convinced myself after that much training to stop working. I would have barely been out of my residency when I had my first (and second child). Would I have even thought to have kids yet? Would I have ever stopped working? That would be career suicide and what about all those loans?
I look back at how hard I prayed and I thank God for listening. He knew he had a better plan for me. I just needed to sit tight until WE got there, together.
I have thanked God on multiple occasions for not letting me into medical school. I am the person I am today because of it. I am the Mom I want to be because of it.
I am not saying, “Don’t be a doctor if you want to be a Mom.” I am just pleased where I ended up and I would not want to be anywhere else.
I learned to pray early on in my life. What started as a way to maybe get what I wanted became a more mature conversation with God. My relationship with God is evolving, as it should. The role of prayer has changed as well. Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night, I say my prayers again. It gives me a sense of calm. I have plenty of things to thank God for and this could keep me busy for hours.
It is in those wee hours of the night, that prayer becomes a conversation the most. When I worry or something has me concerned, this is when I talk to God the most.
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My Prayer For My Children
My kids are learning more about prayer at school. The last part of our night prayers is to tell me one thing they are thankful for. They range from Mom or Dad to creation or a specific person. They are learning to have a relationship with God thru prayer. I pray that as they get older, their relationship grows and their ability to pray matures. I pray that they can reflect in later years on why things worked out the way they did. I pray for them to have all the successes that they deserve. I also pray that they have the patience when their prayers and God’s plan don’t align.
God answers prayers in His time. Not mine.
I know I will remind my children of this multiple times in the years to come. In the meantime, I will pray for God to give my children grace, calm and confidence.
During those waiting periods, these things did wonders for me!© 2012 Karen Lackey