One Purpose of Prayer

For years and years I journaled my prayers. Almost always at the end of the day before bed, and often outside, during quiet reflective times.

Then I stopped. A spiritual director I had told me that wasn't a very good way to pray. I didn't have the confidence or clarity to dispute that. Around the same time, a priest I know shared some of his theology on prayers of petition: that he believed in a loving God, and since he couldn't reconcile the pain in the world with an omnipotent, loving God, then his loving God must be powerless to intercede. I followed his logic, and didn't dispute that, either.

And then I noticed how dry I was becoming. I noticed that I didn't have much hope, and that I'd stopped expecting miracles. I felt more reasonable, but I didn't necessarily feel wiser. I felt defeated.

There is such joy in expecting to be surprised. As I return to prayers of petition, I'm learning that one of the best purposes of prayer is the noticing; when I am attentive to the petition, I notice the response. My gratitude increases. My joy increases. The comfort of my loving God becomes incredible. And when the impossible becomes possible in my life, it also becomes possible in my relationships, and I can pass on some of that generousity.

God has been doing beautiful things in my life. Thanks be to God for the times I see it!


  1. "When I am attentive to the petition, I notice the response" Oh YES!!!!!! This captures it all so beautifully! And perhaps the Responder as well! Thank you for this.

    And the first part is such sad reminder about the power of such folks as SDs and priests to smother others in their own beliefs. We must be ever so careful...

  2. Somehow my comment disappeared in an error, so I'll try again.

    Good admonition to sds, and since I'm entering this territory, I'm glad for it.

    I'd forgotten about surprises lately, or at least GOOD/God surprises. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. good for you that you re-found it :)


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins