Why this blog? Why Me? Why now?

Recently, after a series of particularly stressful events, I had a day that was full of tiny moments that all seemed designed to push me towards God. As I've never been a regular churchgoer and certainly not a believer, this came as a bit of a shock. I have never felt that I was missing anything, but it was too strong of a feeling to ignore. It is possible that in a month or week or day that the compulsion will pass. It is also possible that it will not.

I started this blog to document the process. I am starting from scratch, more or less, so please forgive me if I get some fact about your church or your faith wrong. I'm a work in progress.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Learning how to Pray

It is almost overwhelming how many directions I can try to go with learning about Christianity. When I sit down to read something other than a book (which is by it's very nature linear) I find that I have a hard time focusing on one topic. So then I wander off and play a few rounds of Plants vs Zombies or Angry BirdWords with Friends instead. I decided that I need to start with one idea and follow that for a while, and then move on to something else. I'll continue to read my books while I'm doing this, and make notes as I go so that I have an idea of where to go next.  Sounds like a plan, no?  (By the way, I'm not spending a ton of time a day doing this, that's hardly realistic for my life. I am spending time thinking about it though.)

I've decided to start with prayer. I really don't know how to pray. It's always seems so greedy to ask someone as powerful and important as God is (should be?) for my little things.  Oh sure, I could ask him to heal someone sick or help the victims of some disaster without guilt, but for myself? Does one pray for themself? If I'm going to be completely honest here, and that's the goal, I'd really like to pray for a little peace and quiet of the mental variety. I'd like to share my anxiety over life's details with someone who isn't going to take that burden and amplify it into his own brain, as my husband would do. But, isn't it weird to talk to God about that stuff? Doesn't it make my self-worth awfully inflated to think God even cares that the baby won't sleep and the phone bill is due and I never managed to mop the floor (for the 42nd day in a row?)

The other night I was rocking and nursing the baby back to sleep. It was somewhere around 1am. Normally I'd either sit in the rocker and doze and hope I didn't wake up with a start and wake the baby too, or I'd sit there and make mental to do lists that I wouldn't remember in the morning anyway. I had the idea that I needed something I could recite that would both keep me away and keep me from thinking of everything I needed to do.  I have very few things memorized and the ones I do know by heart don't lend themselves to repetition of this sort (really, the first paragraph of Gone with the Wind can only be said a couple of times before even I lose interest.) So I went with reciting The Lord's Prayer. I said it wrong, of course, Prebytarians don't say it like Catholics do, but it was a start. It still wasn't fascinating, but it did keep my attention and crowded out the other thoughts in my head. I started to think, maybe these Catholics with all their repetitive memorization are onto something here. I was about 99% sure that there's be a whole stack of prayers I could learn, and likely there would be one that fit middle of the night baby rocking. 

This morning I sat down and poked around on the internet for something to back me up in this idea. I found this link at Catholic.com, that talks about prayer in general and lists some common Catholic prayers. The next link on my search was for this list of 3398 prayers. 3398!! Isn't that a bit overboard there?  I have no idea where they come from, for all I know the person who created that site sat in a dark room and made them all up. I was particularly enchanted by this Blessing of Bacon and Lard. I found this link about daily prayer from ourcatholicprayers.com to be very helpful in solidifying the idea of starting with prayer.

All of this leaves me with the question of: which prayer(s) would be best for middle of the night solo recitation? My solitary research this morning indicates that I should start with the prayers that make up the Rosary.  Not that I'm anywhere near saying the Rosary, or really even wanting to, but if I'm going to memorize things it may as well be useful things (as opposed to the Bacon Blessing.)  Maybe if I learned this kind of guided prayer I'd be more receptive to asking for what I want? Is it selfish to want something from religion? from God?

What does my in-house cheerleading squad think? (Yes, I mean YOU.)


  1. Oh my gosh. Blessing for Bacon and Lard. As soon as I'm done here, I'm so going over there to see.

    Honestly, what do you think about something as simple as "Come, Holy Spirit, please come"? It's simple enough to time out to your breathing, so it lends itself nicely to a meditative background, and it also sums up what I hear you saying about your spiritual quest right now. You're asking for guidance. You're asking for clarity. You're asking for peace. Everything else will come after.

    By asking the Holy Spirit to come to you, He'll bring those things- peace, clarity, guidance.

    Probably, He'll even bless the bacon and lard while He's there- no extra petition required.

  2. There was one for cake too! If there were one for coffee I'd have all the prayers I need!

    I want one that says, Please be in my day, help me find calm and balance and joy. And, I suppose, I could just say something like that, no?

  3. ah, crud. I had a whole post typed out and clicked your link about the bacon and lard prayer, and poof! gone. silly me!
    So, here are the verses I found:

    Matthew 7:7-11 (NKJV)

    7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

    8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

    9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

    10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?

    11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

    John 16:23-24 (NKJV)
    23 "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.

    24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

    So, my thought is, ASK AWAY! God wants our JOY to be full!!! And God loves us, like literally us- you, Lisa, and me, Lisa! We are His children. Here is a verse about that:

    Matthew 10:29-31

    29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

    30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

    31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.