Recently I was reading the classic children's book "The Ugly Duckling" to my kids and I couldn't help but come to the awe-inspired notion that it doesn't matter when or where we are born but that we are born of God. For the Ugly Duck, it didn't matter that he was born into the duck family, for he was a beautiful Swan. We can all raise above our start if only we trust in God. And that got me thinking of a common theological trend in my book - that out of the ordinary extraordinary can happen when you add God to the mix!
I got asked lots by people searching "How do I pray" or "How do I know God hears" and well I struggle with the answer to this because the simple answer is: you just know God hears and basically you can say anything to God as long as it is directed to our Lord. But it is hard for us to do this. More so it is hard in our "easy" button world to accept that perhaps God's timing is not right now. And yet, God does hear and does know our needs and well just as it took as time to get ourselves into our mess, it will take God time to get us out.
Yet out of the ordinary, with God, extraordinary can happen! In fact, God puts the "extra" on the ordinary!
Recently my daughter was singing about praying to God and she stated: We pray to God yes we do, we pray to God for things we need. We pray for strong, courage, brave, love, not to fight...We pray to God yes we do, we don't pray for horses, people buy horses.
When we got to that last part I couldn't control my laughter. You see she wants a horse and has been praying for one. When I tried to talked to her about "selfish prayers" vs. "true prayers" and the realities of the young King Solomon who prayed for wisdom, she took away that she couldn't pray for horses. (Although perhaps God tried to answer that one, in that we were offered two mini-horses).
My point is, my daughters song was right. We can't relay on prayers to "fix" everything in our lives, or especially change our circumstances alone. Pray doesn't do that, or we would all be winners of the lotto. Instead prayer helps us to realize the needs we need, come to terms with our relationship with the divine and through that relationship pray allows us to accept ourselves and hopefully through God do a lot more then what was ever possible on our own. But first we must trust.
We must put our trust in that when we begin the praying, no matter how formal or informal that God hears us. We must trust when God asks us to do something even if that seems a bit off of what we should be doing and we must accept that sometimes God isn't going to just hand us our needs. The ugly duckling found a lot of places before he found where he belonged. When we are ready to fully and truly accept our baptisms and our selves as "of God" instead of "of men" then we are ready to put the "extra" on the "ordinary" So let's take our lives to the next level...to the level of extraordinary where each day we praise and thank God for all the good things that our Lord hath done!