I really do enjoy the idea of God. I enjoy the idea that, at the end of the day, there is Somebody out there watching over all of us, keeping us from harm in one way or another. That, when we really ask for it and need it, Somebody out there will give us a helping and loving hand.
One of my favorite moments in Disney history is this one, from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In this song, a gypsy, Esmerelda, takes sanctuary in a cathedral, where she sings about God helping the people who need it. I love how, in the middle of this song, we hear the prayers of the common Frenchmen – “I ask for wealth, I ask for fame, I ask for glory to shine on my name, I ask for love I can possess, I ask for God and his angels to bless me.” Even better is Esmerelda’s response- “I ask for nothing, I can get by, but I know so many less lucky than I.” Her selfless thoughts of others instead of herself is exactly what I believe a true Christian, one like Christ, would do.
So how should one pray?
In Mark 11, Jesus gives some instructions on this matter.
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be ours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Because a person cannot experience God with our five senses, a believer must use their thoughts to speak to God. And when they do, Jesus says that, if there is real belief behind it, then what they ask for will be theirs. But what is real belief? And what if a person without a limb prays for his limb to be restored? It’s common for Christians to say that God answers with either “yes,” “no,” or “not now.” But why would be have these responses if all it takes is true belief?
So then what is belief? You must “believe” in Jesus to be saved. Many people “believe” in Jesus and his message. The word “believe” is barely in the Old Testament. What is this new idea that Jesus introduces that is the key to salvation?
WikiAnswers has an answer.
The greek word for believe is pisteuo(pist-yoo’o) and means to have faith, to trust in. To believe, as in faith is far different than simply to believe in something. For instance, the devils believe God exists, and fear him, but it does not save. The scriptures uses the terms to “believe in” and “to believe on”. To believe on connotes trust. To believe in simply agrees that something is.
What do I believe, as of this moment? I believe in (I have trust in) myself and my own abilities to make things happen. I spoke earlier today in my Twitter and on Facebook that I was frustrated with my father simply telling me to pray about a situation that I am going through rather than trust “my feelings, which run too hot, or my logic, which runs too cold. The peace of God is just right.” I suppose he means that peace is knowing that I am making the right decision because it isn’t my decision, it’s the decision of a being who supposedly Created me and knows better. I suppose he means that peace is being free of worry, because it’s the right decision that isn’t mine, so no matter the consequences that happen they are meant to be and definitely not a result of my own decision. I suppose that is peace to him.
I will not pray right now, because it doesn’t feel fair to the God that may or may not exist out there. But I will believe that an answer will come to me if I figure it out. And I will believe that, if God did exist, He would be watching out for the ones who need it, even if they didn’t ask for it.
p.s. I retrieved my Bible from my sister’s house a few weeks ago. I opened up the back section, with the notes, and found a note I had written to myself that is quite hilarious and true.
“My Struggle with Priorities – a.k.a. Dear God, why does my life suck so much?”
I like it.