Are My Prayers Good Enough?

Other6.com takes the essence of the Ignatian examination of consciousness, or Examen, and adapts it for today’s Internet-driven world by posing two questions: Where have you found God today? and Where do you need to find God today?

When they heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. The Lord God then called to the man and asked him, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.”
~ Genesis 2:8-10

I have found this website. And I knew in a moment that I liked it. It’s a Twitter for God. 140 characters to say either how you found God in your life today, or how you need God in your life today. It focuses on helping us connect to God on the “Other 6” days, when we aren’t observing our Sabbath, attending church and making that simpler Sunday connection.

However, I am equally stumped by it. I stare at the front screen with its two simple questions and big empty boxes, waiting for my 140 characters…and draw a big blank. I don’t know what my block is, whether I feel like I can’t “find God in my day” unless I have some beautiful image to relay, like rainbow, or a sunrise…or I feel like I can’t specify how I “need God in my day” unless I have a specific thing that I know I will struggle with today. I have gone to this site every day for several days now and stared at that screen, waiting for the inspiration to fill in one of the boxes.

I encounter this struggle in many parts of my life. I remember growing up and going to confession and feeling like my list of 12-year-old sins, everything from “talking back to my parents” to “being mean to my brother”, was too piddly to be bothering God with. I remember, even then, casting about, trying to find the things I needed God’s help with; trying to examine my conscience and finding myself at a loss.

I still have this problem today. I find myself like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. I am knowledgable of my sinfulness, and I hide from God, despite knowing that I will have to face Him. And when he calls out to me, “Where are you?” I want nothing more than to say “Here I am!” Then God looks at me and says, “Why did you hide from Me?” And I am either at a loss, unable to put a finger on the things I have done that have drawn me away from Him, just knowing that I feel the divide, that I know I could do better. Or I find myself not nearly as strong as Adam and Eve were when they stood before God and explained their sin, like children before they learn the consequences of their trespasses. I find myself scared and embarrassed and even angry to have to tell God the things I know I have done wrong.

Confession has always been my biggest personal struggle with my faith. I am very capable of praising my God, sharing my faith, giving thanks for the things I am given, and asking for the things I need, both for myself and others. I, however, have never seemed to master the art of examining my life, my conscience, and offering up my own weaknesses. As a result, I, in my weakness, simply avoid this issue. I avoid the beautiful sacrament of Confession, which I repeatedly remind myself is as much about my offering up my sinfulness as it is about God’s all-encompassing forgiveness and the freedom with which it is given to those who seek it.

So now there is this website. Asking me two simple questions: Where is God in your life? And where do you need Him in your life? And I spiral into my usual panic. Because to cast about in my life and find those God-filled moments and those moments of weakness, of need, means acknowledging the things I hide from within myself. It leaves me feeling sinful, unworthy, and incapable. But it leaves me with hope. Hope that I will find a way to fill in these boxes. That I will learn to recognize these things in my life and be able to put them into words.

And so, I will keep going to this website every day. I will stare at these questions, burn them into my consciousness, and look for their answers. I will spend more time examining myself before God. I will go to Confession. I will allow my Lord to love me in the way He has always intended.

Thank you, Other6, for giving people an outlet for their prayers of need and of thanksgiving. For asking the thought-provoking questions. And for helping those of us who struggle reconnect with God and learn to see His hand in our everyday lives.

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