Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I ask your prayers.

I get really confused about prayer, sometimes, wondering what it's really about. It is all too easy to think of prayer as "trying to change God's mind." Yet, that doesn't seem quite right. There is a lot of evidence in the Hebrew Bible (i.e., the Old Testament) where "God repented of the evil." Check out Jonah, for instance.

Surely prayer cannot be about changning God's mind. If that were so, then wouldn't the one with the most prayers win? Can we convince God to love us more, or do we need to? I think not. I am firmly convinced that prayer is about changing us, not our changing God.

But if that be the case, then why prayer for someone else, unless the prayer has to do with our relationship with that person in a concrete way, such as our needing forgiveness or needing to forgive. Is it about sending energy to or toward another person? That sounds a bit new agey. And what does it mean to say that prayer "works?" Is it only if we are faithful "enough?"

The Episcopal CHurch's Book of Common Prayer (1979) says "Prayer is responding to God, by thought and by deeds, with or without words." (p. 856). Responding to God. So, God moves us to pray. Why? I can understand about God opening my heart to changes I need, but, again, how does this help others?

Thanks be to God that the power or efficacy of prayer is not dependent on my understanding it. Even though I sometimes feel clueless about prayer, I still do it. At least some. Whatever it does or does not do, it is something we are called to do. Jesus prayed, taught, and healed - and so should we. So I do. But God only knows why. Yes, exactly.

Soooooo, I ask your prayers. My process of coming out is beginning to commence to get started taking some new turns. I am frightened (but not paralyzed). I am unsure (but no less convinced). So, please keep me in your prayers, that I may be faithful to God's calling on my life, that I may not lose heart, that I may have serenity to accept, courage to change, and wisdom to know.

Pax vobiscum. Joe.


Ross said...

OOooh. The next step...the next phase. This is very exciting.

I'm sorry if I sound too much like a mother on the first day of school, but I'm hoping it can encourage you as well.

I'll be keeping you in my prayers. I'm excited to hear what milestone you will reach next. I like milestones. You can make your own, and they can be as significant as you like.

God be with you.

Steve said...

The one thing I know is that the closer the relationship, or the more I have at risk, the more fear there is. But two things I've gotten from Coming Out: An Act of Love is that (a) unconditional love is about acceptance, not manipulation and fear, and (b) coming out is about getting honest, about stopping the lies and the hiding.

You'll be in my prayers, brother - and "peace be with you" is not just blowin' smoke in my book. Hugs across the miles.

Michael said...

Prayer, says Teresa, is taking time alone to talk with (Editor's note: not just to)the One who loves us. I am sure you are doing a lot of that, and you will be in my conversations with that One. I have said it before and will say it again: The Serenity Prayer for oneself or for others is always good: Serenity, Courage, Wisdom be yours (and theirs) from the hands and heart of the One.

Just another thought: Maybe in prayer we don't change God's mind (such an anthropopmorphic statement about God must be meaningless anyway), and I am not sure that in prayer we just change our own mind. Maybe in that conversation, we come to discern that God's mind was not what we had feared or projected or assumed all along. Maybe it is only in prayer that we can discover what is in God's mind. (But then, that's another anthropomorphism, isn't it?)

God's Heretic said...

Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou....for leaving your comment on my page and allowing me to read some of your truely wonderful words. You have a wonderful treasure in your writings. You are so right--our journey is not an easy one, but you are also not alone on your journey. Please feel free to add my link to your blog and I'll try to do the same with yours if you dont mind (and if I can figure out all of the technical part) I came out to my family just over 2 years ago now. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. I have two boys--15 and 19 and I am pained by they way it has hurt them. But we are growing and we are healing. I still have a lot of hurdles. I am not out to my church and I continue to serve in ministry. I don't know how long I can continue to do this in the present denomination.
You are in my prayers and I hope that we might be of some strength and hope to each other. You have already been an inspiration to me just from reading your words.

*Christopher said...


Know that you are in our prayers. Take your steps gently and love yourself.

zimbo said...

Yes, that we might not lose heart! It's not so much the coming out with me, as regarding being gay I've done that, now it's how do I walk with Him & find fellowship with others? I started a blog on here and it's been a promising start but slowed down. I'll certainly be praying for you. I suppose I've got out of the habit of trusting God in that long time when I thought I was just plain no good, I need to be changed!I'll read more here.

Wharton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wharton said...

Why should we be able to understand prayer? One of the parties is incomprehensible -- except that the Incarnation teaches that Incomprehensible comes to us in the languages of our species!! And comes to us continually in random absolutions,in slices of beauty that melt us to tenderness, in fierce embraces of men unashamed that we are animal persons!