Sometimes, I choose things which are dictated by my own will in order to seek convenience. In prayer, I tend to ask God for something achievable and attainable, but I blame Him easily when something goes wrong and things are not in accordance to what I expect. However, I started to realize that God may have a greater purpose why He does not grant my petitions immediately. In addition, He may also want me to learn that prayer is not an “I-oriented” or an ego-centric thing, but a Self-Opening to God. Part of our existence that we know we are bestowed by free will and at the same time having a spiritual understanding about ourselves we are created in the image and likeness of God. We can choose what we want to do, but are we happy that we only decide only for our own? We may have relied on our own capabilities and talents, but did we realize that God bestowed all of them for us? We always tend to say that we have the freedom to express and to choose what we want to be, but are we aware of the limits behind the freedom that is “freely given” to us? I realized that as I rely on my capability alone was not enough achieve the happiness that I am seeking for. I still need the help of God which is the source of my identity, of my freedom and of my life. I realized that I cannot do things without God because doing things alone does not suffice the reason for authentic happiness. Without Him, it is impossible to overcome the obstacles in life because I, myself, have my limits, shortcomings and failures. I still need to let God work into my life through surrendering my will to His will.
Sometimes, I also let my emotions control my decisions, so that it was not really God whom I am experiencing. But later on, I realized that the more I let my emotions to control my decisions, the more obstacles come in. Letting my self to be subdued by my emotions and with my own preferences in my life came into a disappointing fact, i.e. I became self-centered. Also, when trial and failures comes, I tend to blame God. Also, I became pessimistic about God which tends me to take for granted the His graces and opportunities that He really provides. It came into a point that I don’t want anymore to pray and to listen to Him, but because of this, I became lonelier, sad and bitter. I paid my own price.
Through those difficulties that I experienced, it led me to ask this question in my own self, what is the point of praying when I am self-sufficient? Sometimes, I cannot deny the fact that my disposition in prayer is mere bubbling of words and self-centeredness. But I realized later that I need the help of God through prayer which is not simply mere bubbling of words, self-centeredness and lip-service. In the light of Opening to God, Chapter Two, written by the late Fr. Thomas Green, SJ, prayer is not to be used, but to be lived. When we live our prayers, we let God do the rest while we do our best. God will surely give the graces that we need if we start Opening ourselves to Him. In the end, I realized that prayer does not depend on the length or its rhetoric. It depends on how I act it diligently and sincerely. I realized that I must feel and live the presence of God in my life and not to take it for granted. He knows more well what life wants me to be though sometimes I am struggling to understand His will. But only through sincere prayers that I am able to start cooperating in His will which little by little grants me the grace of understanding His will. This is a manifestation that God really loves me. No matter how stubborn I am, He still finds a way to express His love for me. Starting finding an ample time of staying with Him and Opening to Him was the hardest thing that I did knowing before that I am self-centered. Only to find out that after trying my best to open up everything to Him, I found the relief. It was one of my humbling experiences that I cherished most for it tells me about how God is so lovable to his creatures. See, what prayers could do which is not simply mere bubbling of words, length, rhetoric or self-centeredness. But, it is more on LIVING, LISTENING and OPENING TO GOD. Try it! Hope may YOU find GOD in YOUR PRAYER.