I saw him approaching out of the corner of my eye as I sat on a park bench. The well-shaded grounds of the State Hospital is a spot frequented by local office dwellers escaping for quiet lunches on warm summer days, and that’s what I was doing there. But that’s not what he was doing there. The thirty-something year-old looked around nervously and asked if he could sit down.
Psychiatric patients at the hospital can receive permission to stroll outside during the day, but they’re not allowed to talk to the public. I knew this, and reluctantly I motioned him to sit.
His story was a bit shocking, but I didn’t flinch. Apparently I was the first person in the park who didn’t walk away from him, especially “after they found out I was gay,” he said.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read my earlier post, Part 1 On Prayer: God is not a Magician. My 4-part blog series On Prayer is my personal takeaway from Philip Yancey’s book, Prayer: Does It Make A Difference? This is not a review of his book, nor has Mr. Yancey endorsed my posts. Paraphrased examples from the book are credited to Mr. Yancey. Click here for Amazon.com ordering information; it’s a terrific read.
Photo courtesy of answersingenesis.org
Can you recall a prayer that went unanswered? Were you praying for something material: a new car, a salary increase, nice weather for your weekend outing, or for a favorite sports team to win the game?
When your prayer went unanswered, how did you react? Were you angry? Were you surprised? Did you question your faith, or your own ability to pray? How did unanswered prayer affect your attitude toward people whose prayers were answered? Were you joyful or resentful toward them?
Why do some people with life-threatening situations survive (sometimes without praying for healing), yet other sufferers backed by faithful pray-ers die?
How do you feel about prayer? Is it a waste of time? Does it make any difference? Can you look back over your life and find instances where your prayers were answered? How about your prayers that went unanswered?
How did you respond to unanswered prayer? Did you question whether you prayed “hard enough,” or “long enough,” or whether you knew how to pray at all? Did you resign yourself to believing that maybe God isn’t listening, or He has bigger fish to fry–or maybe He doesn’t exist at all? And if He does exist, why does He answer some prayers but not others?
Quote on Life, Reaching Goals
“It’s so easy to just reach those plateaus where we decide, This is good enough. It could be better, but it could be worse too. To get to the better will take work, and risk, and I’m fine with things the way they are. God comes along and says, Don’t give up.“
— John Eldredge, Walking with God
Quote on Prayer
“Ultimately prayer proves its power by producing changes in us the pray-ers.”
— Philip Yancey, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?
Quotes for St. Patty’s Day
“The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scotts as a joke, but the Scotts haven’t seen the joke yet.”
— Oliver Herford
Quotes On Life
“And I want to be there right in the thick of what people call horror and still be able to say: life is beautiful.”
— Etty Hillesum, from her 1941-1943 letters and diaries of Auschwitz
Quotes On Prayer
“The main purpose of prayer is not to make life easier, nor to gain magical powers, but to know God.”
— Philip Yancey, from his book Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?
Quotes On Writing
“Write like thunder and lightning. Edit like hammer and nails.”
“Write like the wind, edit like a quiet stream.”
— James Scott Bell, from his Twitter page