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Reluctant Worshippers week 4 - Is it OK to pray for ice cream? Bring your own spoon and bowl!!!!!

(48 Posts)
MaryBS Fri 10-Oct-08 16:23:55

Right you lot, you've worn the Rev out, it must be all that talk of fluffy dressing gowns and jealousy, but she's having a rest this week.

Due to the unseasonably warm sunny weather today, I've not put the heating on, but thought everyone might like some ice cream! The question is though, is it OK to PRAY for it?

I think if I were to suggest that at my local church, all the old ladies would have several dozen fits, as it would be COMPLETELY inappropriate and disrespectful to bother God with such a prayer. Their blue rinses would turn white with horror!

Yet, so many times when I see requests for prayer, either here on the internet, or when people ask for prayers in real life, there seems to be a sense of guilt, that their prayer request is too small, too paltry to bother God with, when other people have things wrong in their lives which seem much more important.

It's almost like people think that God has a prayer box which our prayers go into, and that once it's full, God can't POSSIBLY hear any more prayer requests. Or that we should pray for all the important stuff first, before even beginning to consider what we might call our teeny tiny prayer requests.

So saying to God "hey God, I'd really love a bowl of Ben and Jerrys tonight", could be seen to be trivialising prayer. How many other things would you have to pray for before THAT request might be worth bothering God with?

See, this is where we've got prayer "arse over tit", to put it crudely. St Paul gets it spot on in his letter to the Philippians "Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus".

And by "everything in prayer" I MEAN everything (well, except for praying what colour socks I should wear today blush). I regularly pray for a parking space when I'm in town, knowing spaces are few and far between. And do you know I reckon it WORKS? You would not believe how often a car pulls out just as I need a space! How trivial is THAT? But, by the time you've thought about "ooo should I really be praying for this, it's a bit silly", you could have offered up a quick prayer and have done with it.

But don't just stop there. When you fall out with one of your children or a partner, offer up a quick prayer that you can be reconciled. When you hear of someone who is ill, say a prayer for them. Right then, on the spot. If you hear of a disaster on the news, pray. Doesn't have to be out loud, you might get some funny looks in Currys whilst watching the news on that mega-huge widescreen TV. If you see an opportunity to pray, or a situation that needs prayer, then pray! Before long, prayer will become second nature, and a quick prayer for ice cream will seem the natural thing to do!

A word of warning, though - if God doesn't deliver a bowl of Haagen Dazs, don't think it's because prayer doesn't work. God is like any parent, he knows what is good for us, even if we don't. If I gave my children ice cream every time they asked for it, they'd be as fat as pigs and as sick as a dog! God does truly answer prayer - it might not be when we want, it might not be what we want, but we should trust him to know what is best for us, as he has the bigger picture.

bythepowerofgreyskull Fri 10-Oct-08 16:41:58

smile have just had ice-cream - friday treat in the garden with the kids.. YUMMY!

Thanks for your words they are really food for thought. I am constantly surprised by Christians believing totally that God can have created all things - THAT AWESOME - yet they still put human constraints on his greatness.

Praying for everything has to be the way. He will decide what to do... However going back to week 2 I do think it is immensley hard when people pray about the big stuff/sick children etc and don't feel they have had an answer.. It is almost impossible to see how we can trust that this is the best thing for us...

Off to ponder some more... Thanks again. smile Hope the Rev is enjoying her week off.

MaryBS Fri 10-Oct-08 17:58:59

I know its hard, and I've no real explanation for why bad things happen sometimes. I guess it goes the other way too. If we accept that no thing is too small to pray for, then no thing is too BIG to pray for either, even if it all seems hopeless. We have two choices, we can either say "I can't possibly believe in a God who lets bad things like this happen" or "I've no idea why you let that happen God, all I can do is keep trusting in you, I don't really feel I have much choice, so help me please with my distrust".

There have been times in my life when I wished my life was over, although I never quite got to the point of actually attempting suicide - couldn't do that to my mum, really. Yet somehow I've come through it all, hopefully a stronger person for it.

There's a poem called "I asked God" (see below), and its true, the pain I've been through over the past year HAS brought me closer to Him, so I guess its not all bad... I've quoted it before, and someone said that God seemed to say "no" a lot. But although he sayes no in the poem, the answer why makes so much sense to me

I asked God to take away my pain.
God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No. Her spirit is whole, her body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No. Patience is a by-product of tribulations, it isn't granted, it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No. I give you blessings, Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No. You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No. I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as he loves me.
God said... Ahhhh, finally you have the idea!

justaboutstealswinegums Fri 10-Oct-08 18:03:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PandaG Fri 10-Oct-08 18:03:23

totally agree with the OP Mary...and I am starting to get brave enough to offer to pray for teh people that I meet (in the queue in the butcher's the other week!)

I hate parking (not keen on driving at all tbh) and the please God can I have an easy space to park in prayer is much used in the Panda household

justaboutstealswinegums Fri 10-Oct-08 18:06:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

berolina Fri 10-Oct-08 18:08:31

<pops head round door> hallo - interested lurker (active-CofE-in-agnostic-phase). I will come back for more later (making dinner) but first wanted to offload my envy at a walk home from school involving blackberries. Best I can do on kindergarten walk is chestnuts.

PandaG Fri 10-Oct-08 18:11:16

but who was saying the other week that prayer not just aboput a list of requests but simply being with God? If I simply am with Him, then talking to him about the small stuff seems more natural somehow. (and how often do I just present my shopping list of prayers without the simply being, and acknowledging who he is? blush)

amber32002 Fri 10-Oct-08 19:18:36

I regularly pray to God for help in joining motorways off the slip road blush. Strictly speaking, I'm sure He has better things to do...but it helps me anyway.

justaboutstealswinegums Fri 10-Oct-08 20:04:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wangle99 Fri 10-Oct-08 21:22:59

I am struggling with my own faith at the moment, not sure where I am going at all but I really enjoyed reading this - thank you.

bythepowerofgreyskull Fri 10-Oct-08 22:11:41

random question <after a couple of beers> do you all have special prayer voice?
the people I know who do the prayers at church and my Mum have very specific change to their tone when praying out loud... like they have to speak a little bit more properly.

Wangle - I hope you find the answers you are looking for.

IncontinentiaButtox Fri 10-Oct-08 23:22:24

I like the CS Lewis thing about 'prayer doesn't change God, it changes me.'

MaryBS Sat 11-Oct-08 06:11:10

Yes, praying to me, is about being truthful and true to ourselves and others in our prayers.

Bythepower, I don't really have a "church" voice, when I say the prayers, but I know what you mean about those who do! I slow down when I speak so I'm clearer, that's particularly important for those who have hearing aids and use the induction loop, as there's an echo for them apparently. But "putting on a silly/special voice" really isn't me! (am now paranoid that I do it without knowing... ).

There was one memorable occasion where I was "doing the prayers" one week, while the world cup was on. I used the "official" C of E world cup prayer, then I thought well not everyone feels like that, so I prayed "and for those who are sick to death of the football, we give thanks that its only once every 4 years". Everyone fell about laughing, and I thought I might get into trouble blush, but the Vicar thought it was funny - and true too! It was from the heart, anyway!

And Panda, you are right, it IS about being with God. Sometimes my prayers are more in the nature of a chat, "God, about what happened today... I hope I did right... I'm sorry for that... thank you for ...."

Buttox - that's a brilliant quote!

Wangle - praying that your struggle will help you, and lift you, not drag you down.

Amber, your prayer is important, its asking God to keep you safe on the roads, nothing wrong with that at all!

(And Rev, don't get complacent, you can have it back next week, typical vicar, always trying to find someone else to do the work! wink)

MaryBS Sat 11-Oct-08 06:12:31

Missing comma there shock, that first line should read "praying, to me". Eeeeeek!!!! Nobody start praying to me PLEASE! blush

justaboutstealswinegums Sat 11-Oct-08 07:53:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryBS Sat 11-Oct-08 08:57:08

I wish I WAS full of grace!

justaboutstealswinegums Sat 11-Oct-08 09:26:24

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DutchOma Sat 11-Oct-08 09:28:52

But, but... you are...full of grace I mean:-- The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ... - - it's all about you Lord.

justaboutstealswinegums Sat 11-Oct-08 09:37:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryBS Sat 11-Oct-08 09:41:18

If I were full of grace, there wouldn't be room for anything else... I'm not perfect yet... blush

justaboutstealswinegums Sat 11-Oct-08 09:44:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaryBS Sat 11-Oct-08 10:00:15

Apparently I don't understand metaphors, I wouldn't know.

I do understand ice cream though. I think a refill is in order...

Something else that often comes up is that people don't know how to pray, or can't find the words to pray. Sometimes, its just best to say the words as you would to a friend, whatever is on your mind and in your heart. Other times, its impossible to find words to express how you feel. At those times, I just say something like "Lord YOU know what needs to be said, you don't need me to tell you".

Or as it says very profoundly in Romans "for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words".

Notquitegrownup Sat 11-Oct-08 10:05:53

OOh, getting very complicated here now!

Back to puddings, I remember as a child fervently praying for more juice as I ate up tinned parents (an inside my head prayer - my parents went to church occasionally, but never prayed aloud at home) and feeling kind of naughty-in-a-good-way as I always managed to find an extra scoopful at the bottom of the bowl. Looking back now, I am sure the pleasure was largely at enjoying my favourite treat (this was, of course, in the days when tinned peaches were served in very bad for you syrupy stuff, not natural juice) but it was also important because I was developing a special relationship with God and learning to trust Him to provide little things as well as big things in life. Seems like a good lesson to relearn as an adult too.

justaboutstealswinegums Sat 11-Oct-08 11:27:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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