For someone who believes in prayer, it is amazing how often I forget to use it. I believe that God listens to my prayers and answers them. I also believe that when I pray on someone else’s behalf that my prayers have an effect, even though my logic brain is stumped to explain the mechanics of exactly how it works. I know for sure that when I pray it changes me; my internal landscape alters, calms, shifts and I step away with a clearer view of what is and what needs to be next. Sometimes the changes to my internal landscape unlock floods and rivers of inspiration which wash through me. Other times I realize that God has been waiting very patiently for me to ask before helping me. I’ve seen all of this over and over in my life. Yet I’m usually fairly well established in my stress or crisis before I think to apply prayer to the problem. I need to be better about that.
There are other religious observances which I also neglect such as daily study of scriptures. Somehow it gets lost in the middle of everything else and I don’t even think to miss it until it has been absent for weeks or months. Every time I put it back, it fills my soul. I find greater reserves and strength for managing everything else in my life. It is exercise and good nutrition for my spirit, yet it fares about as well in my schedule as exercise does.
Fortunately I have weekly church attendance to nudge me and remind me of the importance of prayer and scripture study. It is like a regular appointment with my personal trainer, the day when I have to account for my choices during the prior week. Sometimes I slouch into the appointment resentfully, knowing that I’ve been lacking. Yet I’m not scolded there, just encouraged, reminded, nudged. And on days like today, when I’m feeling a bit cracked open and raw, I am healed. My spiritual practices bring me closer to my loving Father in Heaven who only wants me to grow and is sad that sometimes the growth process is painful. I can sympathize with that today as I look forward to this coming school year and know my kids have some difficult emotional terrain ahead. I keep forgetting that Howard and I do not have to do this alone. My Father in Heaven is also there for my kids and when I remember to apply prayer to our challenges, miracles happen.