About Me

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My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.

Friday, March 13, 2009

So Exactly How Does Prayer Work?

One thing I get really, really tired of is seeing people who come crying in the middle of a crisis ignore wise counsel and keep on doing the same old thing thinking that "this time it will be different". Of course, things are not different, in fact, they only get in deeper and then wonder why their lives never quite work out. I can think of countless situations where I've seen that happen and usually it gets ugly - really ugly, because it usually ends up involving innocent children.

Right now there are at least three situations like that I'm thinking about. Situations where the person is bent on continuing a very destructive behavior, and yes, children are involved and will be affected in the most negative way. Drugs, sex, and not wanting to stand up to abusive behavior, is more important than doing what's in the best interest of their children. These children don't stand a chance for anything like a happy life. I know these folks think they're hurting now and they're doing whatever they can to numb their pain. I also know they have no idea how those children will be able to break their hearts and cause them to feel more pain than they can imagine in the future.

With 1000+ people who will call a pastor when their life is coming apart at the seams, I see this stuff and am sometimes involved in it all the time. I'd say of all of those maybe 2% of the people really want to do what they need to do to make their lives better.

SO ...

All I can do is pray. And that so often doesn't seem enough. I'd rather shake their teeth out.

I know that prayer is enough. Quite enough. I know that from experience. But maybe it doesn't seem enough because I know that God will not override someone's free will. He will not step in and force someone to do something they are not willing to do. He invites. He does not force Himself.

And yet ...

I wonder about that too. Years ago I was volunteering at a Pregnancy Care Center when a young girl walked in for a pregnancy test. I did the test and talked with her for a while. She was a very sweet girl who already had one child and was sure her parents would never in a million years understand how she could do this twice. She was adamant about having an abortion. Nothing would change her mind. She left to make plans to ride a bus to another city in another state and get an abortion later that week. I left the center that day, came home and prayed for her. You know how when you're really upset about something you just pray and say whatever comes to mind not bothering to think it through? Well, as I prayed I said, "Well God, just take all of her money away!". I knew that she wouldn't get an abortion with out cold hard cash. As soon as I said it I felt stupid. I can't ask God to steal her money! Scratch that God.

A week later, when I knew she would be back home, I called her to see how she was doing. I was expecting a young girl who was devastated. To my surprise she told me that she was still pregnant. She had not gotten the abortion because when she was getting off the bus some guy stole her purse and took all of her money. Needless to say, I was shocked. She went on to give birth to a beautiful baby girl and I got to watch the little girl grow up.

So all of that leaves me wondering just how this prayer thing works. Trust me, the above story had nothing to do with "faith".

I imagine this is one of the "mysteries" about God that we humans will never figure out. No wonder the Native Americans call God "The Great Mystery". I can't think of a better name for him.

So what are your thoughts about this?


Michelle said...

God is good!!!!!

Kansas Bob said...

Having spent a few years doing pastoral counseling I really resonate with what you are saying Amber. It seems that both young and old alike have issues that prayer doesn't help.

Over the years I have prayed so much for the miraculous and not seen it.. so as a rule of sorts I pray more general prayers.. like the ones in the Lord's prayer.. but often if I feel something specific in my heart I will pray that too.

And if you haven't heard someone say it today.. thanks for caring and praying.

Blessings, Bob

Gary Means said...

I used to believe that God answered prayer. I think He still does now and then, but very seldom. Usually the "answered prayers" are no different than the "blessings of the universe" that I used to hear from my peers when I was in the New Age movement many years ago. We can read God into almost everything. I know that some pastors say that there are no accidents or coincidences in the life of a Christian. I've heard that from the pulpit and on the radio. But again, I heard that from my woowoo friends years ago.

I disagree with the dispensationalists who believe that God only works in certain ways in this day and age. I believe God can and does work in incredible, beautiful ways. I can't remember any right now though. I know that you have experienced some of those firsthand.

When my friend Don was dying he pointed to "miracle" after miracle as test results came back better than expected, surprising the doctors. The fact is that he still died and left his wife a widow with two teenage sons. Perhaps the fact that he lived for an additional 9 or 12 months was a miracle. Although it does happen to nonbelievers too. But I don't doubt that his family considered that extra time with him to be answered prayer.

Barbara prayed for 18 years for God to provide a good male role model or even a real father for her son. God blew off that request for reasons of His own. Maybe God plans to use Keven's drug addiction for His greater glory in some way. Small comfort for Barbara and Keven. I know that some of Barbara's coworkers would claim that God did not answer that prayer because in their minds she was not obedient or faithful or submissive enough. But that all points to a god of conditional love, or at least a god of conditional blessing.

I want to believe that God answers prayer. I just don't see a lot of convincing evidence that can't easily be explained away as wishful thinking or projection. Damn this cynicism!

Kansas Bob said...

Loved that comment Gary.. just had to chime in :)