efficacy of prayer

i went to morning prayer this morning.  i am not even sure why i went since i don’t think that god is listening to my prayers.  i prayed for another person and felt really weird about doing that.  i think i’m going through a crisis of some sort spiritually.  nothing makes sense anymore.  i’m not sure what i believe anymore.

fellowship

as i wrote a thankyou note to my friends just a minute ago for a wonderful dinner last night to celebrate my life, i realized that i am part of an amazing community. while i am having a difficult time worshipping god right now, like the paralytic who was carried to jesus by friends, i am hoping that faith of my friends will carry me through this time period. so i decided to go to church. i am part of the body of christ and want to be there to worship god together with my fellow brothers and sisters in christ. what can i say, people love me and accept me at the church i belong to and that counts for something.

coffee

i just made coffee in my new coffee maker! and it tastes so good. 🙂 i got it as a gift. it’s programable and it has its own filter system too. i haven’t figured out how to use the filter yet. yes i’m just lazy like that.

i’m feeling really indecisive this morning. i was going to church at 8:30 am but decided not to. i could have gone to an 11 service but decided not to. now there is a 2:30 pm church service i could go to. should i go? i can’t decide. it’s just that going to church has not felt good. it’s hard to worship lately. do you have to go to church to worship god?

EM and i are having people over for superbowl. it is going to be great!

i just read the dynamics of faith by paul tillich. he’s brilliant. i can’t remember much of what i read but of what i remember it was really refreshing to read.

final exit

i really think that if i died an early death that jesus would still love me. am i wrong to think so? when this life is so hard, when the pain gets unbearale, i often just want to escape: a final exit. maybe that’s why sleep is so inviting. sleeping allows me to stop life for a little while. and that’s why the hospital visits are helpful to me too. i get a break from my life.

last time i ended up in the hospital, i had a black out, a day of no memory. i’m not sure whether i was conscious or not. i only know that i have no memory of being in the ER. is that like hitting rock bottom? i don’t think so. i talked to a girl who ended up in the intensive care unit as a result of an attempt. i’ve never ended up in the icu. maybe i’m not doing so badly. but still everytime i attempt a final exit i run the risk of making a “final exit.” there are times when i’m not sure that is what i really want. so maybe i’m not really ready for a final exit.

petitionary prayer and faith

as i have done for the past three years or so, i went to morning prayer today. and i wondered, why should any of the prayers we pray matter? why should god who created the universe care or help me to finish my semester at school or to have more wisdom?

a few years ago, i wrote a paper on petitionary prayer. my thesis was that petitionary prayers play an indispensable role in our sanctification process: as our prayers get answered (or not answered) we learn about the character of god and as we pray we experience god of the universe as our god.

i don’t know how job or st. paul kept up their faith in god. sure when things are going well, you can believe that god is for you. ironically, at those moments you might forget about god because you don’t need god to help you. but when things are going badly and take a turn for the worst, people tend to turn to god and ask god for help. and in such difficult times, god may be more real to you and you may rely on god more for everything because you can’t rely on anything else.

but what happens when a bad thing happens and another bad thing and another bad thing happen to a person? i don’t mean that things that happen have to be viwed as “objectively” morally a bad thing. but when someone feels that gods is not with them, that god is not for them, what happens to one’s faith?

i’ve been told in the past to seek god more in times of trouble: read the scripture, spend time in prayer, and rely on your community of faith. but what happens when those things fall through as well? then i suppose, you still read the scripture, pray to god more even if you are praying that you don’t know what to pray, and tell others to pray for you.

i’m reminded of prosperity gospel – people counting on god to bless them b/c they believe that god is good, and perhaps also b/c they believe their works warrant their blessing. most people would say, no god never promised happiness just that god would be with us through it all, the good, the bad, the happy as well as the sad moments. but what does it take for one to say, god is not for me (as opposed to god being for you, showing you favor). more importantly, when you have been pushed to the edge, to your limits, how can you turn back to god?

god doesn’t test us more than we can bear, right? the bible says so. probably god knows what your limits are. but when you feel that you have been pushed and pushed to the point you can’t bear the pain, suffering, disappointment, despair anymore, what then?

top five reasons 2008 is going to be great!

1. it’s not 2007! 2007 was a hard year for me. i was in and out of the hospital. i didn’t do well over all. i continued to gain weight. i kept getting triggered by by various things, even while watching the elf!

2. new community? i may take a break from my current church to make new connections. and my church is also getting a new pastor which will be refreshing.

3. romance! i feel ready to date again. i’m hopeful about this. i don’t know why. i just am. and since i have lots of knowledge about what i don’t want, figuring out if the relationship is worth keeping will be a piece of cake. 🙂

4. my niece is turning 4! she’s a little girl now. she’s really thoughtful and just lovely. i’m looking forward to spending more time with her.

5. DBT group – okay. so i’m not totally looking forward to joining a group therapy that is going to be so intensive that it’s going to kick my butt. but i think the work will pay off in the long run. i’ll be able to cope with feelings and impulses better. and hopefully that will translate into fewer hospital visits.

note to self: top five reasons for not killing myself

1. there will be no self/consciousness as i know it. sure enough i believe in an after life (a happy one at that – one with jesus). but will “life” after death be of the same kind as life as i know it? i don’t think so. (and this is a bad thing?)

2. people will have to tell my nieces and nephews that they used to have an aunt who loved them alot! i mean a lot! and my family members (especially my siblings) and my friends would be heart-broken. (but would they prefer a living aunt/sister/daughter/friend who is suffering immensely from depression?)

3. family reputation (especially that of my mom and dad) will be ruined. (i see no way out of this one.)

4. if i should fail in killing myself i will once again end up in the ER then in the psych ward for only god knows how long. and my doctors might decide to do ECT on me, what is left of me anyway. (the best deterrent for not killing myself if there ever was one)

5. i can’t think of the fifth reason…maybe god would be disappointed? (i don’t really believe that god would be disappointed. i mean, isn’t god permitting me and apostle paul with the thorn on his side and all to suffer?)