Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Prompts

This morning I woke up some time around 4 a.m. This isn't that surprising, given that the last two days I have had to wake up at 3.45 in order to get to work for my opening shifts on time. Today I did not have to, but my body usually tries to get me on a schedule, though I (or more accurately, Starbucks) refuse to let it. As I was lying there, somewhat puzzled as to who I was and why I was there and why I was awake and why I evidently hadn't been just a moment before, I heard a sound.

The sound was sort of muffled, but it sounded like somebody whispering in my ear. Actually, it sounded like Daddy when he used to knock on my door in the mornings, "Time to get up, okay?" (Only he never whispered it right in my ear--he always said it softly through the crack between the door and the jamb.)

This puzzled me even more, though it also made me a little more alert. Although most supernatural events in my life come to pass through more or less natural means, I do believe in the supernatural. I was now awake enough to realise that I could very well have simply heard my own congested breathing and, in my somewhat stupified state, thought it sounded like a whisper from somebody else. On the other hand, I didn't want to take for granted the fact that my groggy brain had thought it had heard my dad. It's all about perception again. And even if I hadn't actually heard my dad, maybe it wasn't random that I thought I had. But it couldn't hurt to pray for him and Mom, who are, naturally speaking, inaudible to me at the moment, living as they are on the other side of an ocean. In any case, it must be said that I am a dismal failure at praying for people, even my immediate family, so any prompts in this direction are probably a good idea, given that God likes us to pray for some reason, according to Himself in the Bible.

So I prayed for them for a little while, and then fell back to sleep.

Later in the morning (which was more like afternoon for them), I called to make sure they were all right. They sounded very bright and chipper, and not as if they had had any near escapes from certain calamity or anything. That was a relief. But I do wonder about these prayer-promptings I get.

They come every so often. You know. You hear stories about people who get this sense of deep concern for somebody they know, so they pray for them and find out later that at that very moment, the person was about to get mugged in a dark alley, but something made the muggers run away. Actually, it happened to my great aunt or grandmother or somebody when their brother was fighting in the War. He's the one sibling of my grandmother's who is still alive.

I get feelings like that--about people's personal safety, or about their marriages or whatever, and I pray really hard, and then I find out that at that exact moment, things were just absolutely fantastic. The most recent and glaring (and I do mean glaring) instance of this personal phenomenon is that one morning back in October, I woke up at 4 a.m. again (for probably similar reasons to today) and suddenly felt compelled to pray for Brian. I prayed and prayed and prayed--and at the end of the week I found out that he had spent that very and entire day with the woman he is now courting, deciding that he wanted to pursue her in earnest. This is the kind of thing that makes me feel like one of the bumbling side-characters in the Movie we were talking about last week, who gets to be the comic brunt of dramatic irony--and everybody thinks it's funny except said character. Said character's usual reaction is a skeptical and mistrust-laden view of God and His designs for said character. This is probably another instance of broken-world-itis, but it feels too coincidental for me to believe Somebody didn't orchestrate it.

I don't get why I am prompted to pray for insanely happy people, but my attempt to get it leads me to one of three conclusions:

  1. These prompts are God's way of getting me to pray pre-emptively and my prayers are so "powerful and effective" (see James 5.16) that the subjects of these prayers aren't even aware that they were in any danger.
  2. I'm such a bad pray-er that only a sense of alarm foisted on me by supernatural beings is enough to get me to request or say anything worthwhile to God about people I care about.
  3. I'm totally out of touch with reality.

Given my misperception of my friend's "Jennwith2ns" comment, I'm leaning toward the last one. On the other hand, the misperception generated some pretty good analysis of myself and my relationship to God over the weekend, so maybe even delusional prayers are worth something. On the other hand, maybe I only think it was a pretty good analysis . . .

4 comments:

nakedpastor said...

it is never a bad time to pray for people. and with God, who lives outside of time and created time, perhaps our prayers are timeless... that is, they are not logged in at a certain time and date, but are considered for things we think are past or present or future. don't mistrust the promptings i say.

Annelise said...

I agree with the previous comment. Who knows where the battle in the spiritual realm might have been concerning Dad and me at that time? And since the church here is embarked on a concerted prayer effort to mark the beginning of the year, I'm sure we are that much more vulnerable.

I had an interesting similar situation. I wrote to wish happy birthday to one of my favourite Sunday School teachers and told him how much I missed his class and his teaching. He mentioned that he had been feeling discouraged after Sunday's class. I just thought I was sending a birthday note, but God obviously had other plans in mind! So, whether we see the reasons or not, the promptings must be there for a reason. Love you! Mom

hannah said...

you are a beautiful writer...loved this post!

Jenn said...

"NP" and Mom--I'm sure you're right. Just sometimes it seems all kind of silly. And I guess, given the fact that God often seems to cater to our time/space experience (with examples like the one about Uncle Carl), when He doesn't, it seems like the whole prompting thing was just a fluke.

Hannah--thanks for reading, and commenting (and complimenting)!

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