Tuesday, October 06, 2009


John Muir once wrote, "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul." He was talking about the formation of our great national parks, but I suppose the statement could apply to my bedroom, for it’s true, I have healed and found cheer and strength for my soul there.

Primarily, my room is where I pray, and I don’t just pray for myself, for prayer is not a selfish undertaking. I do pray for my health and well being, but I also pray for the same blessings for my family and non-family members that I care about. If you have expressed a need in your life to me, through our conversations or on your blog or Facebook page, there is a good chance I have prayed for you in my room as well.

Often I hear the distant sound of a siren, or the thumping of the “Life Star” helicopter making its way down the valley to a local hospital, or perhaps a traffic accident, to pick up and transport a victim with special and urgent needs to the University of Tennessee Hospital in Knoxville. Either of those sounds is enough to immediately prompt me to stop what I’m doing and say a little prayer for that unknown person/s and their family.

Prayer is a big part of my life, although you would never know it, even if you followed me day in and day out. It’s private. It often is silent and personally locked away inside my brain. Other times it is an audible whisper of a specific name or need in the darkness of my room called out to my God.

I don’t remember when I first began praying, but it must have been around my sixteenth birthday, for this was the age I was first baptized. Yes, I’ve actually been baptized three times. The first time I was a scared naïve young boy who was frightened by the thought put into my head by a Baptist preacher during "alter call", What if you walked out of here tonight without answering ‘the call’ and were killed?

That is scary stuff to a young uneducated mind, and that’s exactly how most acceptances of Christ’s blood occur. I realize such first time events can lead to a long life of Christian dedication, but it does take time to fully understand exactly what it all meant. Later there comes full understanding, but few go back for another baptism.

The second time I “went forward”, as it is known in the Baptist Church, it was because of a great sin in my life. In order to avoid dying and going to hell for my sin, as I believed then, I again accepted Christ and was baptized again.

Many years later, I became part of another church group, totally foreign to my Baptist upbringing, but the doctrine truly spoke to my heart and the logic in my brain. I dropped out of the Baptist Church and accepted this church doctrine and its people and once again was baptized in a long galvanized tub, just long enough for me to stretch out in, and, with the many hands of the church’s deacons and elders pushing me down, I was finally completely submerged! That one is the baptism that I personally accept as being the “real” one and will be the last one I will ever experience.

Anyway, somewhere around sixteen I realized how good I felt if I prayed each morning and night, and I felt better yet if I prayed for everyone I knew, especially those in need. Therefore, it continues today.

A typical prayer outline might go like this:

My wonderful, gracious, and loving Father in Heaven, thank you so much for giving us this day.

I ask that you watch over my mother – keep her safe, healthy, and strong. Thank you for her Father.

Please watch over my brother and his wife.

Watch over my son, his wife, Lily and Kinsley…and thank you for them and bless them.

Watch over my daughter, her husband, and Katie Bug. Please bless them as you have blessed me.

Watch over Danielle and Christi and their babies.

Please watch over me and Judy…keep us safe and healthy and forgive us of our sins. Lead, direct, and protect us Father. Without you Father we are nothing and there is nothing. Thank you from your love, your Grace, and your many, many blessings.

Watch over my brothers and sisters-in-law Father.

Watch over our men and women in the military Father and bring them home safely.

Please watch over our country and protect us from terrorism.

Please watch over…(here I insert names of non-family members I know that need special help, or who have asked to be remembered)

Father watch over and keep us all safe.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

Over the years I’ve prayed for some very serious situations and, more often than not, those prayers have been answered. Therefore, it would be very hard for anyone to convince me that prayer doesn’t work. I don’t demand that my prayers be answered, just that His will is done and that I will accept His decision as best. Although, there have been times when I went “boldly before the throne” and asked that He see my reason for asking for His help.

So, when you see my light go out, please wait a few minutes before disturbing me, because almost immediately, laying there in the dark, with my eyes closed, and my arms bent at the elbows and raised upward, I begin to talk to my Heavenly Father. I may be talking to Him about you!


Jeni said...

What an excellent post. Like you, Mushy, I often pray silently about events, for people I know who are in need. I rarely pray for myself -except to ask forgiveness -and if I ask Him for something, it is usually something like PATIENCE and and extra helping of that, if you please.
What is sad -to me -about people and prayers is those who think because they didn't receive this or that and they had, after all, prayed for that, this means prayers don't help, aren't answered, etc. And that is far, very far, from being the truth. I do believe God hears all our prayers and he answers them in the way He sees fit -which may not be the same way we see things as being fit, right and or correct. And he answers them in His time, not necessarily in ours too.
Prayer is a reaffirmation of one's Faith that God, our Father, loves and sustains us through whatever comes our way -be it good things or bad. Prayer strengthens us too so that we can endure things that may not seem the best that can happen to us but rather which can often be very difficult, even tragic, to endure. It gives us the ability then to pick up the pieces and begin again -and perhaps again and again and more of that!
Thanks for reminding me of the blessing call prayer.

Ron Southern said...

No comment.

BRUNO said...

I could sit here, and write a short book for you, on my own experiences with prayer, religion, baptism, etc.

But I won't. Because I see it would be pretty-much in the same context as your own.

So instead, I'll just say Thank You, for a reminder of why I'm still here.

People don't think of ME, having any religious convictions, either. You might say "I don't fit the part", in their mindset.

Too bad. THEIR loss---MY gain.

And, here's where I stop, before I go into more than I care to remember, right now.

Just thanks for bein' there...

Mushy said...

Excellent additional comment Jeni!

Yes Ron...even you have been a subject of conversation. Hope things are well.

Mushy said...

Bruno, my friend, you are on my lips every night. We can only ask, put in a good word for each other, but we must be prepared to accept his will.

Suldog said...

Beautiful piece, Mushy. Your prayer ritual pretty much mirrors my own, actually. What else can I say? I really enjoyed reading this. I also love the photos of sacred spaces. My Mom often took me into church to light a candle when I was very young, and I highly treasure such spaces to this day.

Mushy said...

Made those on my trip to New York City in St. Patrick's Cathedral...actually the same shot just two different angles.

Michelle H. said...

A wonderful piece! I've been having discussions about this recently with a mutual friend (Jim-Suldog) who dropped your link to this post. I've only recently started seeking religion and enlightenment. This posts helps me understand it a little better.

Mushy said...

Try this one on for size when you get a few minutes:

BRUNO said...

Yeah, it takes at least 10-minutes. But it's well-worth the read. Couldn't have said it better myself---nor would I even attempt to!

I WILL add, that for ANYONE who wants a real prospective on the true existence of a Supreme Being, by WHATEVER name they call such---this is a must-read!

Where was this insight, when I was MUCH younger, with a still-developing mind? Oh, it was there for the taking. I was young, quick, virile! In a word---INVINCIBLE!!!

Well, that, and---the preachers' daughter WAS kinda HOTT-lookin'...!!!

FHB said...

Man, this takes me back. I seem to recall that one of the first comments I left around here, how many years ago, back when I was probably still just lurkin', was a long winded comment to a post you did on your religious beliefs.

It's always nice to read your take on these things. Like me, you try to strike a ballance between worlds... between the "religious" and the "spiritual". I guess I've become more spiritual as the years have come and gone. Truthfully, it kinda comes up out of me now and then, with the prompting of a situation.

Normally, I don't think about it too much. I've spent most of my life so far thinking that it's all made up. The opiate of the masses? I don't pray in the evening, usually. I used to when I was a kid, but i always thought we were supposed to put away "childish" things as we grew up, and I thought prayer was childish. The arrogance of youth, or supposed intellectual superiority.

I guess I've matured now to the point of coming close understanding the difference between religion and spirituality. We all believe in something, even if it's to profess a belief in nothing at all, or nature, or science. I guess I try to strike a ballance between what I believe, and then what comforts me and heals me when, for instance, I had to bury my father.

The head and the heart get tangled up in those moments. The cold facts don't provide the comfort that our human mind seeks in those times. I find myself thinking about what I hope I'll see one day when I make the transition. Who I might get to see again. It comforts me, and it doesn't hurt anyone else for me to go there.

Like you said, I often say a little prayer out loud, usually whispering, when I see an ambulance or care flight chopper go by. I've seen my own family memebers taken off in those things, so I know what someone else out there is going through.

Intellectually, I know my whisper won't comfort them, but maybe it does. Who knows? We have to be honest enough to know that we really don't know, and then do what comforts folks, or just ourself, in those wee hours of the night. It doesn't do any harm.

DeeDee said...

Nice to know that others feel the same way I do when it comes to hearing ambulances, seeing a car wreck, or even hearing about someone who has fallen ill. If I stop right then to say a prayer, I don't have to worry about forgetting later. This was a way to pray that mother taught me. She explained that I didn't have to say a lenghty prayer, just asking the Lord to care, heal, touch someone else's life was sufficent. Something else I realized later was not to say "I'll be praying for you" if you didn't intend to do it. She explained what a disservice we were doing to our friends when we paid such lip service then did nothing about it.