On Prayer (and the small pieces to the puzzle)

Think about it for a minute: How many of you have not made some kind of deal if only your prayers were answered? Be honest now, we’re talking about prayers, remember? If only. If only. Those two words combined have to be the loneliest words in the English language. If only. Now, how would you feel if you found out that your prayers were probably answered all along but you didn’t know it? Maybe the difference is in how you’re praying. Y’know, for the most part, prayers are always answered. For the most part, prayers are never answered in the form that we have chosen but, yes, they are answered. The difference has always been in the details, the small pieces to the puzzle. It’s been said that life doesn’t always give you what you want but more times than not you’ll always get what you need.

When we pray, it’s always best to expect results from that prayer. That is where ‘belief’ comes into play; this is where ‘faith’ bends its knees and bows its head. Mark 11:23: Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea and shall not doubt in his heart, he shall have whatsoever he saith…’ And shall not doubt in his heart. That’s the key. And yet, we pray and we pray and wonder why our prayers are not answered? We had the answer within us all along. We are praying and we are filled with doubt. Now, that’s a very bad combination. In essence, what we are doing is wishing and there is no prayer that comes to mind for wishing. But, again, praying just for the sake of praying seldom works out. Now, don’t get me wrong. If you’re praying for someone or something halfway around the world, by all means, say a silent prayer. However, prayer is an active process not a passive process. My grandfather used to tell us when you pray, move your feet. Action!! You gotta take action. Once you have the prayer out of the way, get to work. The Lord knows this. That’s why they say that He helps those who help themselves. EVEN IF you don’t know what to do or which way to turn, DO SOMETHING.

Now, this has to sound foreign to some readers. How, you ask, are you supposed to start something without knowing which way to turn? We didn’t learn that one in business school. The process starts with that single step. What you don’t know, you will learn along the way. Once you have made the commitment to yourself and start to move forward, something very strange starts to happen, something strange and wonderful. The Heavens step in and conspire to help you along your way. You will find yourself in situations that you never dreamed of with people that you never or hardly knew and they will all be there to help you. I can’t begin to tell you how many times in my life this has happened to yours truly.

There can be no small prayers, can there? If there is something in your life that warrants ‘prayer’, then, indeed, it is a big deal. The trick is not to make a big deal about it. Say your prayer, expect a result and then, work your butt off. Tell yourself at the end of the day you have done enough. Try again tomorrow. The following day, hit it again. And just keep that up. Slowly but surely, the pieces will start falling into place, the small pieces to that big puzzle. And you’ll get this warm feeling all over that, yes, your prayer was answered but you’ll know that you had a hand in the outcome. This I know. At least, that’s the way I see it. MLProko (2011) more at www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on May 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On The Human Condition

A paradox. A puzzle. An enigma. How can you sum up, or better yet, explain the human condition? I’ll have to yield to one of my grandfathers on this one; his was an all-encompassing explanation that most people could find comfort in: When you hurt, you want the pain to stop right away. It doesn’t. When you feel good, you want it to last forever. It never does. That’s pretty concise, isn’t it? Better than any psycho-babble that you could pay $200 an hour for, in most cases. What is it in us that abhors pain and always seems to take the good times for granted? Surely, all things should even themselves out eventually. Scripture tells us that for all things, there is a season: a time for life, a time for dying; a time for sowing and a time to pluck up, a time to be alone and a time to gather around together… All things will have their counter-part: where there is an ‘up’ there must be a ‘down’; where there is a ‘plus’ there must be a ‘minus’; where there are ‘good times’, the flip side of that are ‘bad times’. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. To only expect good things to happen is delusional. You’re missing out on at least one-half of your life; some might say the good half.

A person’s character never gets tested when things are hunky-dory. It’s when you hit the curves, the roadblocks and all the bumps along the way—this is where your character will be forged in the furnace that only life can provide; these hard knocks that we call ‘life’ is where we will earn our stripes. Consequently, this is where we will acquire our gray hairs and the character lines (wrinkles)—from this same blast furnace. Some people will wear this mantle like a badge of success; they will stumble and fall time and time again, but each time they fall down, they will rise up again. These are the survivors. These are the victors. They have taken all that life and the fates have thrown at them and, yet, they’re still standing. They have that look in their eyes—seasoned, tough, street smart—these are the ones who knew early on how to roll with the punches, how to make the most of themselves AND their circumstances.

But, the other side of that coin is just as telling and, just like the survivors, these people who pass through life’s furnace will wear their scars like a hair-shirt for the whole world to see. These will be the victims. Same situation. Same circumstances. But an entirely different outcome. These are the people who constantly complained about the bumps in the road, the roadblocks, all of the twists and turns; these are the ones who never realized that everyone must pass through the same blast furnace. It’s been one excuse after another, one disappointment after another. Finally, unable to draw on any internal strength, they commit the ultimate sin—they give up on life. That is the bell-weather of any victim—to give up. They wanted everything to go their way and, in the end, nothing went their way. Surrender. Draw the drapes and just hide from the world. Carl Sandburg once said that there is nothing to do but bury a man who has given up on life and his dreams.

When life comes at you, it’s going to hit you like a Mack truck. Get your bearings, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back up. Get up and keep getting up. Not even life can beat a man who refuses to stay down. Besides, quitting has never been a sustainable option.

At least, that’s the way I see it. M.L. Proko (2010)   www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on December 26, 2010 at 3:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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