Friday, September 10, 2010

Prayer and Paul the Octopus


a) I believe in prayer.*
2) Some people believe in affirmations.
d) Some people believe in hallucinations.
3) Tom DeLonge believes in Hallucinations, any dream or its revelation
IV) Muse has an album called Black Holes and Revelations

*Specifically prayer to God, in the name of Jesus.

I can think of many instances where I've prayed for something major, like the healing of someone on the brink of death, and they've gotten well. That process of recovery has usually taken a long time, but they've gotten well.
Recently, I've been thinking about smaller, immediate answers to prayer. Before I address those though, and throw out some thoughts for you to chew or choke out, I need to specify WHO I'm praying to.
I'm praying to God, the God of the Bible, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Not to generic God, but to the Christian God who made heaven, Earth, and Texas.

When I was a little kid, I had no idea why we said, "In Jesus' name, Amen." I just knew that we always said it, and I eventually figured that it was like an address. We pray in Jesus' name so God would be sure to get it. If we prayed in Buddha's name or Reagan's name, the prayer would never get to God. It would just float up the sky.
Something like that.
I eventually realized that the true reason for praying in Jesus' name has nothing to do with that, and I'll go on a brief tangent (in my tangent) to talk about the reason.
The reason that Christians pray in Jesus' name is because we're (supposed to be) praying according to His Will--according to what He wants. We're not ADDRESSING the letter, to use my metaphor, we're SIGNING the letter with Jesus' name.
That's a basic explanation, if I go any deeper I'll go completely off topic and get more theological than I want to get right now.
Let's pursue another brief rabbit trail. When I was a kid I thought that the national anthem was about a guy named "Jose" and I thought that one Christmas song was about a herald angel named "Hark."

Anyway. Back to my original point: prayer.

In the Bible, Paul tells Christians to pray without ceasing and to cast all of our cares upon God.
When I lose something, I pray that God will help me find it. I started doing this about two years ago. And almost the instant after I pray to locate something, I find it. I always know that I'll find it after I pray.
Lost my pen--lost my phone---please help me find it--THERE IT IS.

Weird? Positive thinking? Coincidence? Or answer to prayer?

I had an interesting answer to prayer this week. I was supposed to get a check from OU around the first day of school. Three weeks later, I had yet to receive this check. I was moderately concerned. I kept forgetting to e-mail the OU folks about it to ask them if they had the check ready. This past Tuesday night, I was praying (possibly for you, I pray for a lot of people), when I remembered that I still hadn't e-mailed OU about the check.
I immediately wanted to get up from prayer, turn on my computer, and send off an e-mail. But I figured that if I did that, I would get distracted and wouldn't get back to praying. I needed to pray. So I just asked God to have THEM send ME an e-mail about the check. Then I expected the e-mail the next day.
I didn't check my e-mail until after Professional Writing class. During Professional Writing, I thought about the check (forgetting my prayer) and then I thought, "OH! I need to send them an e-mail."
Then I realized, "OH! Right, they were going to send ME an e-mail, because I asked God about that."

I got back to my dorm, opened up my inbox, and saw the e-mail saying that the checks were ready to be picked up. I wasn't surprised at all, but I was happy to see it.

Quick summary in case you got lost: I prayed to God that someone would send me an e-mail about a check, and I told absolutely no one, and then the next day that person sent me an e-mail about a check.

Weird? Positive thinking? Coincidence? Answer to prayer? Or does the Bursar have cameras in everyone's room which are constantly monitored by people who read students' lips while they pray?

Some people will say that's a small example of an answer to prayer, other people will say that "weird things happen." For example, Paul the Octopus had a 100% success rate of predicting results in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Even better than his 100% success rate is the fact that Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad totally hit the "dislike" button on Paul the Octopus.


It is easier for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven riding on a camel than for an octopus to sew with a needle.