Friday, May 27, 2011

Answered Prayers

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about things I used to believe.  And it makes me laugh and cry at the same time. It's like if you told me there were no such word as gullible in the dictionary, so I would go look it up.

My husband loses his keys a LOT. And he gets paranoid and says that he left them in the door and someone stole them. Or he left them in the car and someone stole them. Or he left them (insert place) and someone stole them. So I would wearily say a prayer, and he'd find them.

Mmm hmmm.  My prayers were ALWAYS answered when it came to finding my husband's keys. Or his wallet. In fact, I was out of state several months ago and he lost his keys/wallet, and he called me to pray that he would find them. I did, he did, all was well.

Of course, he would have found them anyway. Because they were where they were. It's not like someone actually did steal them, and then when I prayed they were magically removed from that person's pocket and deposited on top of the washing machine. or the bathroom counter. or the hearth. or between the sofa cushions.

When I was in church and someone would comment about praying over all things, including what kind of tuna fish to buy, I'd snort silently. But I still believed that whenever I prayed about my husband's keys, he'd find them.

I just wish my other prayers were answered so immediately.  Going to do IVF? Pray and I'll magically have 8 eggs instead of just 3. Afraid I'm losing the babies? Pray, and they'll magically all regenerate and I'll give birth to triplets. Maybe even quadruplets, so that I could name them John, Paul, George and Ringo like I always wanted to do. Having trouble in the dumb-ass math class I needed to pass so I could graduate? Pray, and all the proper formulas will be right in my brain, ready to use when I need them.  Need to lose weight? Pray (and fast, heh-heh).  Need $10K? Pray and somehow, someway, the money will be magically deposited into my savings account.

Instead, of course, I lost the babies. I barely passed the dumb-ass math class thanks to my husband tutoring me. I'm losing weight not by praying, but by surgical intervention and hard work. I still need cash, but I'm slowly accumulating it by painstakingly making deposits every payday into my savings account.

Since leaving LDS., Inc., I have to stop myself sometimes. Not from praying in general, although my prayers right now tend to be along the lines of, "God, if you're there....", but from praying over stupid things, like my husband's keys.  I mean, there are earthquakes and tsunamis, and I'm going to bug God (if there is a God) about something as pathetically unimportant as keys? Nah.

And then with the storms the other night, and me huddled in the hall with a scared dog curled up next to me, I wanted to pray for safety. But then I thought of all the people who've been killed of late in tornados, and thinking they were all praying for safety, too. So I just meditated, tried to stay calm, focused on being in the moment, the funny (and painful) sensation as the tornado passed overhead and I felt the pressure on my sinuses increase to an almost unbearable level as the winds howled outside. And then it was gone, and our house was still there, and my dog kissed me, and it was good.

I still find some solace in meditation/prayer, even if I'm not sure to whom I'm praying. Maybe I'm just sending my thoughts out into the universe, and somewhere someone will bump into them, and send some positive vibrations back in my direction. But not about the keys. If the keys are lost, I'll go look for them.


  1. Loved this post.

    I'm a lifetime student of religions, a Skeptic, and a psychologist. When I'm scared, my mind immediately shoots to prayer, which annoys the hell out of me. I realized this week that I might as well be flipping the pages of a Book of Spells or wringing a chicken's neck to make an offering.

    We humans have always, always tried to invoke the powers to move in our favor. Since Gobleki Tepeh, since Stonehenge, since the dawn of the species we've tried to placate the lightening and beg things of the moon.

    Magic. We seek magic because scary things are scary. It would be more honest in me to learn to learn spells.

  2. You know part of the reason J was always able to find his keys is because in the act of prayer (or as you also indicated, meditation), he calmed down and was able to focus and retrace his steps. Had he calmed down first, he'd have found them without calling you.

  3. Yes, I find myself "praying" all the time too, still. But my prayers are so very different than before. I have considered them meditative as well, but therapeutic more than anything else. Right, I have no idea where my prayers are directed most days, and any type of magical thinking is entirely decoupled from them, but I still find relief and comfort in silently sending up a plea for strength or help or whatever - sending it up to whomever, even if just myself as a motivational speech to an audience of one.

    Thanks for sharing. Prayer. It has a place, I think, even in a way that a believer would certainly not recognize.

  4. It's funny how people credit prayer for helping them with such minor things -- like finding keys. I remember a Sacrament Mtg. talk where a man swore that god helped him fix his sprinkler system. Evidently god isn't very good at fixing poverty, famine, or disease, but he is pretty good at the small stuff. ;)

  5. I've got to stop associating "god" with that fake mo dude. Every time I think about praying I just want to give him a piece of my mind using lots of vulgarity. Thanks for the gentle reminder. I love this post.

  6. Great post. I always enjoy reading your take on things and the comments generated. I used to pray for what I now consider inconsequential stuff (like finding keys - yes, I did that, too), but now I don't pray at all. I do meditate, though, and I think that's more useful - like what lifelongguy described as a motivational speech to an audience of one. I can also relate with what Cognitive Dissenter said that he needs to stop associating "god" with that fake mo dude (and I can relate with wanting to give him a piece of my mind using lots of vulgarity as well). I'm not all that sure that "god" even exists anymore although since leaving Moism, I've only made it as far as Agnostic since I can't seem to take the leap to Atheist and believing for sure that there is no god. Part of me wants to believe in God, but part of me thinks that if God does exist, he's rather selective in who and what he wants to help... like the people caught in tornados and tsunamis. Like Donna Banta said, evidently god isn't very good at fixing poverty, famine, or disease, but he is pretty good at the small stuff. And he's also good at protecting missionaries (like in Japan) even though he can't seem to keep the disasters from happening in the first place.

  7. such a great post. I guess if the thought of having a divine helper in little daily things comforts people, I don't have a problem with it. But when people like my FIL tell me that Husband and I should set aside time to pray read scriptures together, I can confidently say "I have no use for it; please stop imposing your opinions on my happy, thriving marriage."