A few weeks ago, my husband had a severe headache that needed medical assistance. I asked for a day off at work so that I can accompany him to the hospital. While we were waiting for our turn, we talked about random things, until our conversation turned into a more in-depth, life-level one. It’s about prayer.
I think that was the time when news about road accidents broke out on television – so naturally, I would often ask my husband to pray each time he drives off to work, or anywhere else.
It was natural for me to offer this advice because growing up as a Christian, I was taught about the power of prayer – the works of God and how it can help us have strength, wisdom, and protection in our daily lives.
And true enough for me, though some of my prayers have not been answered, I can say that it worked in my life. Prayer saved me (or keeps saving me) from going totally insane lol, it has protected relationships, and it’s what keeps me going during dark and emotionally-overwhelming situations. It’s like each time I face a wall or what seems like a cul-de-sac, prayer helps me get over it.
PRAYER IS NOT FOR THE SINLESS
But during our talk, one of my husband’s replies struck me:
“I don’t pray because I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”
My first reaction was ‘surprise.’ I thought, if prayer is not present in the lives of people, then how do they deal with seemingly impossible situations?
But then, later on, I thought, I can’t blame him. I get why he said that. Some people seem prayerful yet lead shitty lives. You know what I’m saying? It’s like seeing someone go out of the church feeling blessed and holy – yet, under the same halo, do not even take time to share blessings to the poor. Or could be someone praying and praising God, yet maltreat other people.
PRAYER IS NOT HYPOCRISY
I get it. But here’s something missing in that kind of thought. Prayer is NOT just for the righteous, sinless, and perfect. Prayer is for everyone – sinners and regular people like you and me.
Prayer is one’s inner voice – call it conscience, soul, etc., that knows the good and the truth, considers the bad you’ve done, and humbles one’s self to ask for forgiveness and guidance.
I know for a fact that I am not good person. I have a short temper and have bouts of rudeness. However, I also know that I am not a bad person. That at the end of the day, I recognize everyone’s struggles and aim for everyone’s blessing and happiness.
I recognize the terrible things I’ve done, the things I need to improve on, my lack of strength, my confusion, and other things that are not ideal in a human life and lift them all up to God in prayer.
Because as a human, I cannot handle things. But relying on a Supreme God, as if by magic, I can.
THE SPIRIT OF ANGER
When I was a child – there was a time when I found myself waking up angry – for no reason at all. I took every little thing as a big thing. I was jealous of my siblings. I hated my parents, as every child would, and I didn’t want to talk to people. I sleep and wake up with a heavy heart. I realized too that I stopped praying.
My lola, a devout Christian, would tell me. “Demonyo yang nasa puso mo. Resist it. Don’t let it stay”
Funny how in the church we go to in the past, people would often consider every feeling and emotion as a “spirit.” For instance, when you feel angry, they say “Espiritu yan. In Jesus’ name be gone!”
PRAYER MAY SOUND RIDICULOUS
It sounds ridiculous. I mean emotions are perfectly normal human features. But now as a grown woman, it makes sense to treat every emotion as a spirit. Because feelings are fleeting.
At one point, you may get obsessed with being angry at one thing. But tomorrow, you feel less angry and more forgiving. It means that the spirit of anger has left you, and is overcome by the spirit of wellness. Ok, I’d buy that idea.
On another part of the plane, some of us choose to nurse our anger for a long, long time. This is perhaps why some family feuds last for years. Some of us go “bitter” over an event in the past. We choose to let the spirit of anger stay, instead of asking God to rebuke it.
A prayer is a form of resistance.
I remember that during that time in my story when I was a kid, I didn’t want to pray because life felt unfair. Why would I humble myself for the benefit of life? Why?!
But I overcame the spirit of anger. I resisted it. Anger wanted me to lose in life.
So what I did, though I was still angry, was to say a one-sentence prayer before I closed my eyes to sleep. “Lord, tanggalin Niyo po ang galit sa puso ko”. I said it angrily and even cringed at the thought of praying, then went to sleep.
PRAYER EFFECTS MAY BE SUDDEN
But the miracle of God happened when I woke up the next day. SUDDENLY, my heart was not heavy anymore. I began to appreciate the sun peeking through my window. I greeted my parents with a smile – and all of a sudden I felt that they were kinder to me, more attentive to my needs. I felt loved. I destroyed the spirit of anger and felt lighter, happier.
God moves suddenly. He moves swiftly, unexpectedly and without warning. When you least expect, He’ll come shining through! – Karen Peavy
I emphasized the word suddenly – because that is perhaps one of the traits of God’s work in your life. Sometimes, we feel like we’re heading off to hopeless land. We’ve reached rock bottom, and we don’t know what to do.
But when we ask God’s help in prayer, SUDDENLY, miracles happen. Either we find a miracle in a co-worker or a friend willing to help, or we find the inner strength to get through our obstacles. Our fears become less scary, and we see the future with more hope.
This is the kind of effect of prayer that I want my husband and my son to realize and believe in.
PRAYER DISPELLS FEARS
Sometimes, it’s easy to be rattled by life’s uncertainties and negativities. Debt (who doesn’t have debts?), a stressful situation at the office, bills, family problems, school requirements, societal expectations, and even self-doubt – all these things are rattling and may, at one point in our lives, make us go cray!
But I want my loved ones to think, that any problem – big or small – can be lifted up with prayer. Regardless of what you feel at the moment – say a one-liner prayer on anything you need help in – and expect a SUDDEN change – in life, and in your perspective on the situation. Let God help you.
You know what I fear the most, in the absence of prayer? That people resort to hopelessness, suicide, anger, blame, desperation, drugs, and panic. In the absence of God and prayer, we don’t think that there’s any hope at all.
Imagine, people, feeling hopeless about their lives – saying that they cannot pray because they are bad people and that there may be no forgiveness bound their way.
Is that how we want out children to live?
Is this how we want the world to believe?
My husband is a kind man. His heart is gentler, more understanding and empathetic than mine. But I know where he’s coming from. He also knows my goal to raise our children fearing the Lord and knowing how to pray. Together, we aim to be a family that is kind to others, and prayerful.
PRAYER IS CONSTANT
As for myself, I know that my life is constant. Constantly messy, and with me constantly wanting to fix it (lol). I still feel anger and frustrations. So prayer will also be my constant weapon of choice to drive these spirits away.
Let me pray for you.
May You be blessed with wisdom and discernment. Whatever it is that you are carrying at the moment – be it a problem, anger that has been nursed for a long time, doubt, disbelief, I pray that may you find that humility, that strength to surrender everything to the Lord Jesus Christ. He will take your load and trust that he will solve your problems for you.
I pray that may we not lose hope in this life. That we realize how our lives matter and that good things are bound our way. I pray that may we all choose right in the face of adversity, and be open to God’s miracles in our lives.
** Some photos are not mine.