Wishes, hopes, and prayers

Do not let your deeds belie your words, lest when you speak in church someone may say to himself, “Why do you not practice what you preach?”
St. Jerome
c. 342 – 420

I once knew a woman in a church service organization. The meetings for this group were held at the church, and at the end of each gathering, members would express their special needs and ask others to remember those intentions in their prayers. There was one woman who always ended her intention request by asking everyone to pray for world peace.

Now, that’s a very noble intention. But if you spent more than a few minutes talking with this woman, you discovered that she held very strong and rigid beliefs. As a result, several members of the group disliked socializing with her. Although she expressed a desire for world peace, her attitude was far from conciliatory; her prayers and her actions were not in alignment.

To see how this example applies to your life, think about some of the things you wish, pray, or hope to achieve. Do you want a better relationship with your spouse or children? Do you want more income or fewer bills? Are you miserable in your job and wishing for a miracle at work?

Most of the people I work with have a long list of desires. Yet their day to day actions don’t bring them closer to obtaining what they want. In many cases, their actions are in direct conflict with their professed desires — much like the lady at church.

So take a close look at what you say you want. Often our wishes and prayers reveal internal conflicts that need attention.

If you want world peace, you need to relax your ideas about how others should think and act. If you want better relationships with those around you, consider how your words and actions affect those individuals. If you want more money, a better job or fewer bills, examine how your beliefs and actions (or lack of actions) are limiting you.

Instead of praying for a miracle, realize that you have a significant role in creating your world. No matter what you’re hoping, wishing, or praying for, obtaining it starts with you.

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.
St. Augustine
354 – 430

Copyright © 2016 John Chancellor


Wishes, hopes, and prayers — 2 Comments

  1. Another great lesson from John illustrating how we can write two stories simultaneously that can at times be in conflict with each other.
    It’s also a reminder that we are always reaching our goals, so it’s helpful to know clearly and consciously exactly what they are.