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.