When Hurricane Irma was on track to come directly over Tallahassee, many of my friends and church members told me that they would pray for me.  What does that mean? When we pray in times of dysfunction or stress, do we seek God to take away that which threatens us? Do we seek a miracle to calm the winds and the seas, like Jesus did for the Apostles?

Prayer is lifting the heart and mind to God. In this case, some pray to avoid the crisis, some to keep them safe, others for protection in times of storms or peril. We all do it. God is manifest through nature. When we pray, using the prayer Jesus taught us, we ask that God’s will be done, that we have our daily bread (physical and spiritual) and that we forgive others as we want to be forgiven, that we not be led into temptation and, most importantly here, that we are delivered from evil.

The lesson is that God gives us what we need to survive whatever happens to us, even death. Prayer is our way to connect with God to admit that God is still God and we are not the center of the universe. What we pray for indicates our level of spiritual awareness. The Lord’s Prayer is a template for us because that is the prayer Jesus used.

Here is one of my favorite Psalms describing what I feel in my heart about prayer and its efficacy.

That in all things, may God be glorified. –St. Benedict

Psalm 103

Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness

Of David.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live[a]
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works vindication
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far he removes our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion for his children,
    so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
14 For he knows how we were made;
    he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for mortals, their days are like grass;
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
    on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    obedient to his spoken word.
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers that do his will.
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul. (NRSVCE)

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