What a difference a day makes. On Monday I was looking and feeling like the queen, all smiles and big flower-adorned hats and blog awards. Then yesterday disaster struck. No more yellow suits and royal heels and acceptance speeches. Yesterday I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn't want to get out of my pyjamas. I didn’t want to do anything. I was sick. I did lots of moaning and groaning. Enough detail? Have I set the scene? Can I now tell you what I was thinking about as I was lying on the sofa waiting to die?
Yes, there I was moaning and groaning and hoping I was going to feel better as soon as possible. But the hours passed without improvement before a thought occurred to me: Maybe I should pray for some help. Why do I always forget to do the obvious? This made me think about prayer in general. Why do we pray for specific things? If we’ve placed our lives in God’s hands and accept His plan for them, surely we don’t need to ask Him for anything? “I know You’ve got everything planned out for me but could You just change one little detail, please? I’d rather not suffer today. Could You perhaps make me better… quickly?”
And when we pray for other people, surely God already knows exactly what’s best for them too. Now I know we all pray such things as, “Please make Harry better as soon as possible… if it is Your Will.” We’re willing to accept whatever God decides, but hasn’t He already decided before we arrive with our prayer requests? He knows best. Can God’s mind be changed by our prayers?
“Let’s get as many people to pray for her as possible. I’m going to pray really hard!” Does God change His mind because of the number of prayers we offer? “Well, I was going to let her suffer all day but I see she’s managed to get 100 people to pray for her, so I’ll cut the illness short. Any minute now, she’s going to feel much better.”
As I was mulling this over, in between groans, I did consider logging into Facebook and telling everyone about my poor stomach: “Please pray for me! And quickly!” But I didn’t. I just continued moaning and thinking.
And I suddenly thought, “Hey! I should be offering up all this pain. This is valuable. It’s like praying.” People pray for the suffering, and the suffering pray for the people via their pain. Prayers going back and forth, sort of cyclic.
Then this image came to mind... I am lying on my bed offering up my pain which is necessary in some mysterious way for the salvation of the world. I am filling up an imaginary grace bucket. Every moan and groan I offer acceptingly helps fill that bucket with grace which God uses. At the same time, (if I’d asked for prayers) everyone else is offering up their prayers for me. Could their prayers fill up my grace bucket too? The more they put in, the less I have to provide for myself, the less I have to suffer. When the bucket is full, my pain comes to an end and I feel better. Of course I could continue suffering if that is God’s Will.
But I didn’t. I woke up this morning feeling much better.
Today I had another thought: Does God, because time means nothing to Him, make His perfect plans, taking into account all those prayers He knows are going to be said?
Have I confused you? I know I have confused myself. Writing about prayer and deep thoughts is just not my thing. I’m not even very good at praying. I really should stick to light stuff. But illness does strange things to a person. It brings forth all kinds of unexpected thoughts... unexpected muddled thoughts.
Now I'm thinking maybe I should just delete this post and go write about taking out the garbage. And I would, except I'm curious. I would like to know how prayer works. Do you know? Can you help me out? Or are you as confused as me?
I looked just like this dog yesterday!