Archive for February, 2012


A couple of weeks ago my daughter was telling me about a friend’s situation in life and how she was worried for her. I won’t go into the details, because that’s not the point of this, but needless to say, I told my daughter to pray for her friend. I was surprised to hear my daughter say that she didn’t know how to pray. I had two revelations at that moment. One, obviously I had failed as a parent because my daughter didn’t know how to pray. To be fair, she doesn’t spend that much time with me, but that’s just an excuse; I should have done a better job teaching her how to communicate with our God and Father. Two, I bet many people have no idea how to pray.

I can honestly say that I was lucky and my parents, probably just my mom, but to be fair I can’t rule out my dad, taught me on some level how to pray. I was raised Catholic, so of course most days ended in bed saying the “Our Father,” “Hail Mary”, and other typical Catholic prayers. So I had a good foundation.

But what is prayer really? To me, it’s simply a communication with God. Praying isn’t a complicated process. You talk. God listens. I don’t think it’s meant to be much more than that. Jesus even gave us a blueprint on what we need to say.

This is from Matthew, Chapter 6 (NIV):

9 This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

Jesus prays a lot in the bible. And not just in his solitude moments, but you will also find several passages where the gospels say that he is sort of mumbling to himself before doing something. I believe that he is talking to God at that moment. He doesn’t do so where anyone can hear him, obviously, because it always states that he is mumbling or making a noise. But he might just be saying under his breath, “Hey, Father, let your will be done.”

That’s what I believe Jesus teaches us about prayer. It’s supposed to be simple. Can you imagine when he said here is how you pray and it was just those simple, few lines. People were probably expecting something eloquent, moving, complicated, long, or verbose, but probably not those short simple lines, which summarized is: God you are great, let your will be done, give me something, forgive me, I will forgive others, and help me to be good. I mean that summary is almost as long as what he said to pray.

I bet a lot of people have that misconception about prayer. I’ve heard many people praying out loud (which I don’t partake in, more on that in a little bit), and they just keep going on and on. Lord do this. Father do that. Amen Father. Yes. Lord Father. Father God. They think the prayer has to be long and complicated. It doesn’t. Remember what they taught you in school: KISS. Keep it Simple Stupid.

You’re talking to God. He understands all. He knows all. Tell him what you want. He knows your heart. He knows what you are trying to say. God just wants you to talk to him. He enjoys your company. You can’t mess up. If your toddler says “milk;” you know what he or she is attempting to express. If your dog barks by the door, you know that he wants to go outside. You don’t expect it to be perfect. Neither does God. He loves you more than you can even begin to imagine, and he knows already that we are far from perfect.

I’ve never really told anyone this, but I pray to God all day long. That’s the beauty of having a conversation with God. He can understand what I’m thinking. So if I get angry at someone who cut me off while driving to work, I ask God to help me calm down. If I can’t solve a programming problem, I pray to God, first, to help me calm down, and then, second, to help me discover the solution. When I talk to my kids, I tell God thank you. When I see someone asking for money on the side of the road, I pray to God to comfort them. Maybe it’s because I’m a shy person and I don’t have lots of conversations with people, but I talk to God more than anyone else.

Of course, I also have my longer prayers — the times when I devote more time and soul to the conversation, and a lot of times, those moments aren’t planned, and many times, they occur when something moves me. If I’m driving and I see a beautiful sunset, if I’m sitting in the deer stand or if I hear a favorite song, I will take that moment to reflect and worship God, asking that his will be done, asking for a good raise at work, asking for forgiveness as I tell him those individuals that I forgive, and finally, I ask him to help me be a good person. You don’t have to make time for prayer. As the famous philosopher NIKE always says, “Just do it.” If you were in the car with your best friend and the sunset happened to be stunning, you wouldn’t wait until tomorrow to sit your friend down and tell her how much you liked it or whatever you and your friend discuss. You would just tell them, right then and there.

I know what you’re thinking, “for someone who said keep it simple, you sure went on and on,” but hey, I just want you to understand what Jesus said and practiced when it came to prayer. Prayer is simple, and you just need to do it. See, I could have just typed that sentence, and it states all that you need to know, but I like writing what I think, so I tend to go on and on. And guess what, this was longer. I spilt this into two posts. The second half will be coming soon.

Oh, and what did I tell my daughter about praying for her friend? I simply told her to pray, “God, help my friend and comfort her.”

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You are Loved

Basically, I can write whatever I want to on this blog because no one really reads this stuff. I only write because I don’t know how else to release the thoughts swirling around in my head. This weekend sucked for me even though I got to see all my kids (minus the older ones) which is always a blessing, and I’m thankful for the time, but with the blessing comes a curse — I have to see my kids suffer when the visit is over. That is definitely the hardest course of action that I have ever undertaken — that is telling my kids goodbye for another time.

While that sucks, trust me, it’s not what weighs heaviest on my heart. On Friday, I listened to a 911 call by the actor that played Mr. Kruger on Seinfeld. He attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head; it failed, and he called 911 for help. The call is very straight forward, and he seems very calm for someone who just shot himself in the head.

I’m having a hard time with the sadness, the desperation, and loneliness that he must have been enduring in his life for him to attempt suicide. I guess I can’t deal with the fact that people feel so horrible about themselves. I’ve been there so I know what it feels like to be so alone and wonder what not just the next day will bring but what the next hour or even minute holds.

I wish that I could tell everyone who is feeling sad, alone, unloved, afraid, broken, and on the brink of considering that his or her life is unworthy of this world that they are loved. I love you. You don’t have to be alone. I feel helpless because I am useless when it comes to solving their problems. I am no superhero. Hell, I’m not even a person who talks to people. I keep to myself, forever the introvert. I pray that I have the power to overcome my inadequacies so that I can seek those who need to know that they have value to someone — to me and to God.

I would invite you to dinner. I would listen to your problems. I would be the friend you need, but I don’t know how to even start that conversation. I wish that God had given me the ability to communicate. I wouldn’t waste it on meaningless political topics, sales pitches, or hooking up for one night stands. No. I would get on a tall pedestal and yell to the world and tell my fellow brothers and sisters that life does suck and that you can feel alone, very alone, sometimes, but you’re not. God loves you. I love you. You don’t have to face your difficulties alone. God bears all burdens. He conquers all fears. He forgives all sins, and he loves unconditionally.

My heart aches for the broken souls. I can’t even imagine how God must feel. To be right there with them, waiting for them to just call his name and ask for his help, trying desperately to reveal his love, watching as they suffer, holding them as their sorrow blinds them and closes off their hearts to his love.

I curse myself for not having the courage to help those that need it most. May God hear my pleas and take all that I have and bestow it on those that have nothing. And if by some act of God, you stumble upon this blog, I pray that you realize that you are loved. Call me. Email me. Pray. Ask God to comfort you. He loves you. He will shoulder your burdens. He will ease your pain. I know. I’ve been there. He did it for me, and I am only just a someone just like you.

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When the cold wind grips you through your jacket,
I am with you to warm your spirit.
When those who don’t know you, laugh and mock you,
I am with you to endure your hurt.
When the day seems hard and your path confused,
I am with you to lead your way.
When your body hurts and refuses to cooperate,
I am with you to heal your soul.
When life is fleeting and you feel alone,
I am with you to carry you home.
Though most of the time
you believe I am never there,
I am constantly with you.
When you wonder where to find me,
when you forget to call my name,
or even when you reject me — I am.
I am with you in all that you do.
I am a part of all that you are.
I am the warmth of a fire.
I am the chill of an ice cold drink.
I am the dreams that visit in your sleep.
I am the smile from a stranger.
I am the stars on a black night.
I am the notes from a finely-tuned guitar.
I am your God that
never gives up on you
forgives you
        accepts you.
I am your God that loves you.

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a day

a day, like the day before
but not the day after,
changed my world as i knew it;
a day, bearing gifts from god
transported by a stranger
fragile were they,
scared was i…
a day, simple yet complicated,
dropped a love that appeared
and grows to this day;
a day, promising my lord,
as i peeked through curtains
at what he delivered,
(not of me but more than i am)
i swore to protect
the boys of a cruel world.
just a day,
you probably don’t remember
the breaths you took,
opportunities overlooked,
or the warmth of a february sun;
a day, etched in my memory,
by simply closing my eyes,
i hear the squeak of the door,
smell of your breath,
and your weight in my arms.
a day, that passed as all others,
but remains…thank you

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