A Prayer of Thanks


4 Dec 2014

Too often when I pray, I find myself asking God for something – something as big as a cure for cancer, something as little as a good result in an exam. But I have found prayer is not about my asking, it’s about my own inner dialogue with God, allowing him to respond in a way that is good for the growth of my soul.

In a Jim Carrey movie, where he played God, he sat at his Godly laptop, and when all the prayers covered the room in trillions of post it notes, he just decided to answer ‘Yes’ to every prayer, which as you’ll see in the movie created even more chaos. So prayer can never be about ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ I have sat in the biggest church, said my prayer, and dropped 20cents in the poor box (all I had in my wallet at the time), but what good is that if I don’t have the faith that God has heard?

In my life I have found that faith is the bread on which I spread the butter and jam of prayer. In Narcotic and Alcoholic Anonymous meetings you are suppose to find a higher power of your own understanding, and through conscious contact with this God, you do the 12 steps which lead to a spiritual awakening. But really, in an addict’s life, until he/she finds God it’s a game of snakes and ladders. Prayer is what we are encouraged to do, a raindance, a moonwalk, whatever it takes to bring an awareness of God into our lives. I used to think an unanswered prayer was like an unanswered letter. But God does answer. Even if the patient with cancer finds the treatment debilitating, the rewards of drawing family and friends closer might be an unexpected miracle.

This summer, I’ve decided to pray everyday. Not for something, but to someone. I started this morning in the Jesuit church on the hill in Richmond. I closed my eyes and took five deep breaths and I thanked God for everything, especially for the little black and white tabby called Sooty I’m getting this Christmas. As I prayed I could hear footsteps, and my prayer felt ready then, like a Sunday roast. Afterwards I asked the young girl who seemed to be some sort of caretaker if I could light a candle, though I had no money. I came out of the church and the rain was falling, and it smelled good, and the yellow roses drank it. A prayer of thanks that gave me goosebumps.

Peta Edmonds is a writer and volunteer at Jesuit Communications
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