From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “When I pray, coincidences happen. When I don’t, they don’t.” (William Temple)
Temple is referring to things that “happen” which seem to be the result of, or at least associated with, a prayer. Sometimes, if the coincidence is important or significant enough, it may even be called a miracle. A logical explanation that one may pursue is the thought that praying for something in particular, or some outcome to an upcoming event, forces one to visualize the steps necessary to achieve that outcome. Visualization is a well-known technique for success in athletics and other pursuits in life.
Another possible explanation for the coincidences of success after prayer might be that prayer puts one in a positive frame of mind and being positive and confident going into a situation has a strong influence on the results. The feeling that you have God on your side is a huge positive motivator and comfort through any adversity. I’m sure that research could prove some proof that prayer releases some endorphins in the brains of those who fervently pray and they feel better (perhaps even invincible) as they tackle the challenge that they prayed about.
Perhaps prayer forces us to take the vague and amorphous fears that we have about whatever it is that we are praying about and put them in a box that we then hold up in front of God and ourselves. We are able to acknowledge that we need help with the things in that box. The fact that we express that need for help in prayer allows us to admit to ourselves what our fears are and forces us to deal directly with them. The feeling that, through our prayers, we have God on our side in dealing with those fears provides the strength and courage to take the first steps towards overcoming them. Prayer often provides that little push that we need to get started.
Oft times, we allow things in our lives to grow in importance all out of scale to their actual meaning or impact. I posted not too long ago about a great piece of advice that I got from a friend who had noticed that I was obsessing about something that had little real significance in the grand scheme of things. He just looked at me as I was lamenting something that I hadn’t done and ask, “Did anybody die?” As absurd as that sounded initially within the context of my diatribe, it was actually the exact thing that I need to hear and think about to put things back into perspective. I use it often now to re-position the importance and priority of things in my mind
Finally, taking things to God in prayer allows us to reset our perspective on things that might be going on in our lives. In my prayers, I often use the little phrase “not my will, but Thy will be done”. For me, that is the quickest and easiest way to let go of things that I have no control over anyway and put my trust back into the coincidences that God makes happen in our lives.
What works for you?