Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Surprisingly, we had good weather and a cool evening for the outside concert last night.It had looked like rain all day. Someone said she had prayed for good weather, and pointed upwards to the sky, giving thanks to God.

I was rude, and said sarcastically, “Oh Jesus, help me”. And it bothered me that I would do that. Its not what I’m shooting for. Its easy enough to be cynical about prayer for me. My program teaches me to be open-minded and willing about it. I don’t know if a prayer can change the weather, or stop Obamacare. It doesn’t matter. What I have learned is what a friends grandmother said so well… "Prayer doesn't change God, but it does change the hearts of the people who are doing the praying" I like that. I like that a lot.

When I first came to Narcotics Anonymous I hadn’t prayed in 25 years.
Then one day I got mad at work and started throwing stuff. I told my sponsor about it. He taught me a prayer, my first prayer in 25 years, and it goes like this:
“God, give me just enough serenity and patience to get through this situation with a little dignity left”
And it worked! After 5 years of learning to pray again, I still say it from time to time.

See, prayer for me keeps me from throwing a chair through a window at work. It keeps me from walking out of Albertsons with something I didn’t pay for. It keeps me from lying when it would be easier than telling the truth.
If I pray hard enough at the right time, it can keep me from saying hurtful things. I don't use that prayer near enough.
Prayer just might have kept me from running into a concrete wall at 70 mph on purpose a few times.
It helps to keep me from picking up that first drug.
Mostly, prayer helps me live the principles the twelve steps are about, and to improve my conscious contact with God as I understand him.

I was having breakfast with another addict this morning. I told her that the person in charge of the cookout today at the NA group had called a few days ago and asked where we could get a grill for the cookout.
I had told her “I’ll put the word out on Facebook for a grill”.
So I post a status that says: “Attention all my NA peeps- we need a couple grills for the Saturday cookout-please contact myself or Connie if you have a grill we can use”
You know how many responses we had?
So poor Connie had to cancel the cookout and order pizza.

As we were leaving breakfast, I said to my friend "Maybe I should have just prayed for a grill".
I said it in a sarcastic manner, another little slam on prayer, like the one I threw at my friend who had prayed for good weather.
But I got to thinking about the hundreds of responses you get on Facebook whenever you put out a prayer request, and it occurred to me that if I had asked for PRAYERS for a grill instead of a grill, we probably wouldn’t be having pizza today. If I had posted “Requesting prayers for God to provide a grill for us today”...
We would be having hamburgers and hot dogs.
On a grill. I'm sure of it. 

They call that faith.

See, the thing about prayer is that people respond to it. 
People respond to prayer. 
And maybe on some level, the universe does too.
They call that faith.
Prayer sure is a funny thing.
If there is anything you can ask for and always get a lot of, it's prayer.

"We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry that out."
Step Eleven


SL said...

"the best prayer is patience" has been attributed (perhaps incorrectly) to Buddha but I still like it, whoever said it!

soubriquet said...

Well spoken, Steve.

As you'll have gathered, my relationship with god is complex. Mostly I don't believe in god. However, I do kinda hope there is one, and I hope he's a better character than that psychopath in the old testament.

But, I think eveybody's relationship with god is complex, I'll bet the pope gets confused at times.
I suppose, if pressed, I'd have to admit talking to the non-existent deity on occasion.

I liked your grill reasoning. If you ask for something outright, then it's easy for people to think, hey, there's a lot of other people, so I don't need to respond.
Whereas prayers for a grill? Everybody might think they're part of the divine masterplan as they load up with extra coals.

Wish me luck.
Or pray for us, interview friday.

See you soon, I hope!

bulletholes said...

i told this story to a friend, and she said something like "Prayer doesn't change God, but it does change the hearts of the people who are doing the praying" and I guess that makes sense to me.
Sometimes a change of heart can change an event; it likely wont change the weather, but it might keep one calm enough to do better in an interview than they otherwise would!
Good luck Soub!