While I was praying this morning, a couple of things jumped out at me.
My prayer room, which I have been using for a number of years, has many symbols I use as reminders of what I want to pray and I've created a meaningful ritual as I move from object to object, touch it with my hand and give thanks to God or make a request of him. Of these symbols, the crown of thorns and the water fountain were what stirred up some realizations.
With the crown of thorns I pray, "God, give me joy and gladness in the midst of suffering and pain." That prayer is based on Jesus' admonition, "Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." As I prayed this today, it hit me! Perhaps one of the reasons I have responded the way I have to my son's death is because God has been answering my prayer. Not that Mikael's death is persecution in any way but Paul and Peter talk about how we share in the sufferings of Christ.
With the water fountain I pray, "You are the Fountain of Life. You are the Living Water. Thank you for providing stepping stones of safety and protection during impossible times. This references a picture God gave me over a year ago during a time of prayer--how during some very difficult and painful times of my life, God provided oases, places of refuge in time of trouble, havens of safety. As I was praying this morning, I remembered what a friend had written me earlier in the day: "Your sleeping helps to protect you right now Deb." Yes! Another stepping stone in rough waters, an oasis in an arid land. God is protecting me.
I might have missed these gifts from God if I hadn't been praying. I wonder what sorts of things we do miss out on because we haven't prayed.
God, thank you for caring about our needs and listening to our prayers. Thank you for answering mine.
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