Common Sense Living

The Power of Prayer

The Bible states in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  Similarly, Philippians 4:6-7 states “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Whether you believe in God or not, do not underestimate the power of prayer.

First, allow me to address the readers who are atheists.  You likely see the practice of prayer more as a “meditation”.  If you focus on something enough, it becomes real.  You create your own reality.  You are open to seeing the opportunities because you are paying attention, and have become more aware.

One of the things that amazes me about atheists is how many actually do pray.  Logically, they don’t admit it,  but when they get in that life situation where solutions are not apparent, it’s shocking how many will talk to, or make requests of, a God who they proclaim does not exist!  They may be going about every day activity, and in their mind, they will make a request out to some universal Power.  For those who do this, yet proclaim no God, they deceive themselves.  In their heart of hearts, they do believe in God, and are in denial.  Otherwise, why would they pray?

And for those who already believe in God, regardless of your religion, you already know of the power of prayer, but may have doubts.  Maybe your prayers have gone unanswered and you are suffering.

To those suffering, look again at the Philippians passage.  It states, “….with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”.  All to often, we focus on what we don’t have, instead of on what we already have.  Thanksgiving allows us to appreciate and acknowledge what we do have!  Most requests we make to God through prayer are not needs, but rather desires.  The more desires you have, the more suffering you will endure.  This concept is very Buddhist-like, but it is a truth. When you give thanks for what you have been given in life, your focus shifts from desire to appreciation, and a certain calming peace can be felt.  You will also focus more on the right things.  Appreciate What You Have and It Will Appreciate.

Unfortunately, not all suffering is caused by desire for material things, but rather by a desire for life itself.  Prayer can even help us here.  It causes us to have the knowledge (the faith) that even in death, everything will be okay.  Faith, or knowledge of the unseen, causes us to walk with confidence across unseen bridges in life.  It causes us to “step out” instead of recoiling in fear.   Death is such a bridge, and faith helps us feel less anxious.  To explain, I will quote a story from my book, “The Success Loop”, which can be found on the “Recommended Reading” page of this blog.  Recommended Reading.

Taken from “The Success Loop”………

My father was a man who cared deeply for his family, and he worked hard to support his wife and four kids.  After graduating from high school, he attended and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and remained with the Navy for 24 years.  During those years, he served as an officer in several capacities.  He had always loved flying, so he earned his wings and flew many missions that required landing on, and launching from, aircraft carriers.

When my father discovered he had terminal cancer, I was living 800 miles away from him, and I didn’t get to see him much before he died.  In the weeks before his death, he was very weak, fatigued, and somewhat confused. Several days before he passed, however, I visited with him at his home, and he seemed quite coherent and was able to communicate well.

On the day I was to return home, I went to his bedroom and asked him how he felt.  I asked him if he was in any pain, and he replied he wasn’t.  I then asked him if he felt depressed or scared.

He answered that question by recalling a time in the mid 1950s when he was flying alone one night in a Grumman AF-2S antisubmarine attack aircraft.  On this particular night, when he was landing aboard the carrier, the seas were very rough, causing the ship to roll up and down and side to side.  The wind was gusting, and he had all he could do to control the aircraft.

He said that somehow that night he was able to put the airplane down safely on the carrier deck.  He also told me there were several other nights when problems would occur, or when dangers were present, but that he always felt as though there was someone or something in that aircraft with him who would help him get back home safely, or help him get where he needed to go.  He said he never felt alone, that the feeling was peaceful and calming, knowing that all would end well.

As he lay there on his deathbed, he said that feeling had never left him.  He felt peaceful and calm, knowing that all would end well.  He was neither scared nor depressed as one might imagine, and instead he felt as though that someone was still with him.  Days later, he calmly fell asleep, never to wake up again.  He knew all along a bridge would be there for him.

The power of prayer can help you overcome any obstacle in life, and will help with faith even in the face of certain death.  It will help you understand that feeling of “I’m okay”, regardless of the circumstances you face.  Most of all, it will help you know God, and have the knowledge that you are a fully accepted, complete, person, just the way you are.

 

 

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