Coming to Terms

how to pray the japanese way

how to pray the japanese way (Photo credit: jessleecuizon)

In the last two days I have had to really come to terms with understanding the vast difference between how I pray and how a lot of others pray.

This has been driven home by a situation that I will not discuss as it’s not my situation. I will talk about another situation in which the same thing would occur: people may not agree with how I pray.

Now, know this before I start: I do not believe there is only one correct way to pray, just as I don’t believe there is only one way to view God. However, when people ask me to pray for them, they are often asking for something different than what I may do.

American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I am asked to explain it, I can; however, this can make things worse. So, here goes: let’s say that George is very sick. Let’s say it’s Cancer. People may ask (and have) me to pray for them.

Now, what I understand them to be saying is that they want me to pray that George gets well and lives out a normal life. I can’t do that. It is not in my belief set to tell God how to do things. I don’t mean here that people are ordering God around or doing anything that could be considered sacrilegious; what I am saying is that they are not, simply, asking God to take care of the situation, but are also telling Him how to go about that, in their opinion.

I really don’t have a problem with it. But, here is what can happen, and often does: George dies.

Now, if we look at this from a purely logical point of view, they prayed and God didn’t answer their prayers. But, we are taught to take everything to God in prayer and that He hears and answers all prayers.

Now, to look at that, if two people are praying the exact opposite prayer, one or both of them is/are going to be disappointed. What’s right here? How should we pray? I don’t have the answer, however, I do know that I don’t have that particular problem.

I fully believe in free will; I don’t think God will force us to change our minds. Now, I believe that He may well put a lot of resistance in our paths if we are heading down a not-so-good path; He may help us to think or lead us to a book, a movie, something to show us the best way. However, I don’t think God will force us to say “Yes” or “No”. So, I do not normally pray for God to “do” something particular. I may tell Him that I have a preference, this is what I would like to see. But, I always tell God to “let the best for all concerned be done.

Cover of "God Answers Prayer: A Season of...

Cover via Amazon(I am not promoting the book. I haven’t read it)

There are people who will look at me and say, “Scott, if you don’t pray for George to live, why would God make any intercessions for it?” My simple answer is because I asked for the best for all concerned.

What if George has accepted death and doesn’t want to be in all that pain? What if George is tired of being a burden and chooses to die? What if… I hope you can see what I am saying.

Just because it seems best to us does not mean it will be so. We don’t know everything.

I have looked at it like this, as an example:

Skulpturenpark Köln / Cologne Sculpture Garden...

Skulpturenpark Köln / Cologne Sculpture Garden. Dirk Skreber: sculpture “Reaktor”, 2009. Car, steel, sprayed concrete, wood, and gravel (Photo credit: wwwuppertal)

I have a wreck and break my leg. That’s not good. But, what if, by having that wreck, I wasn’t a mile up the road and avoided a head-on collision that would have killed 3 people? And how about by being in the hospital when I was I shared my ideas with a nurse who, because of that, was able to not kill herself that night because she had hope? And what if, because she didn’t kill herself, she was alive that next day and was able to save a baby’s life next door who needed immediate medical aide that she was able to give? And… See?

My broken leg was, certainly, worth saving 5 people’s lives in 3 different manners. I don’t say God caused the accident; I say it was allowed to happen and God used it to help all the other people. We don’t know it all; we don’t have enough information to know what may be truly best for all.

Do I want George to die? No. And then people say, “Well, why doesn’t God just stop it all? Why do you even have to have your leg broken in the first place?” My answer? I don’t know. I can’t know. If I had known to go to the hospital and share with the nurse, would she have listened? I would not have been a patient and she would have been working.

No Greater Love

No Greater Love (Photo credit: kelsey_lovefusionphoto)

This discussion could go on all night. My point is that I simply pray to allow God to do what He does best. Perhaps, that’s not the best way to pray, but I feel that I am releasing God to do whatever instead of burdening him with “have to”s.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. What I do know is that things have always worked out for the best in my life. I am happy now and God just used a stroke and a near-death situation to allow me to choose differently. Would I have otherwise? I don’t think so.


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  • Larry  On March 25, 2013 at 3:03 am

    My only prayer is “thy will be done” and or “show me the way”.


  • Rev Dani Lynn  On September 15, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


  • Indira  On September 15, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Namstey Scott, I prayed for my mother to happen whatever is best for her, but her condition is not changing to any good or bad. I’m confused, whatever happens will happen whatever or how much we pray, it is her destiny? perhaps we pray for our satisfaction.


    • kindredspirit23  On September 15, 2012 at 10:00 am

      I believe we make our destiny, that God allows us to choose. But, I believe that God hears our prayers and works it all to our good by allowing all these things to happen “just so”. That’s not the best explanation, but how I believe is in there somewhere.


  • Carol Wuenschell  On September 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Prayer for me is a process of examining what I really want – and don’t want – and articulating it within myself. (Not that the person who just hurt me should suffer a similar hurt, but rather that he/she should come to an understanding of how not to hurt others – that sort of thing.) I do it with an awareness of how it reflects on me, but without reference to any outside force, because, frankly, I’m not sure who or what – if anything – may be listening.

    I believe that when something “bad” happens, it’s up to us to make the best things come out of it that we can. It sounds as if you’ve made something good come out of something bad that happened to you, and I’m glad for it.I don’t see anything but good in what you’ve said here.


    • kindredspirit23  On September 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Pretty much. Oh there are things about the stroke that have affected me poorly – pain, etc…but, on the whole, I am a better person and feel good about myself. I attribute it to how God works in our lives, especially when we let Him. Thanks for all you said.


  • buckwheatsrisk  On September 12, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    what a great perspective! i love it. my prayer is often “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” basically what you are praying. i do pray in other ways that i’m led but that is my bottom line prayer. you helped me to understand that something that may not seem best can be and it involves other people’s live as well.


    • kindredspirit23  On September 13, 2012 at 1:47 am

      Well, then, the blog post succeeded (or I did) as that’s what I was trying to put across. Instead of worrying about God answering our prayers we simply need to give God the opening to do what’s best and just be thankful with whatever happens knowing it is best.


      • buckwheatsrisk  On September 13, 2012 at 9:51 am

        such faith!


        • kindredspirit23  On September 13, 2012 at 10:05 am

          It gets me though!


        • buckwheatsrisk  On September 13, 2012 at 10:18 am

          me too mostly although i will admit i’ve been pretty shaken lately. i think some suppressed anger with God is surfacing…i don’t think it’s a bad thing, i’ve ignored it for years as it feels wrong to be mad at God, but…i guess that is part of any relationship…


        • kindredspirit23  On September 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm

          I think you have to go through the anger to get to the love and acceptance. I believe all is as it needs to be. Just think of the people you have changed (perhaps saved) because of what you have gone through and your acceptance of it and desire to change!!!!


        • buckwheatsrisk  On September 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

          i am thinking so and my mind fights it. if what i have been through helps even one person positively then it eases the pain of it some!


        • kindredspirit23  On September 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm

          Heck, that’s easy…you have helped me some.


        • buckwheatsrisk  On September 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm

          wow i’m humbled!



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