Sunday, September 30, 2007

When You Haven't Got a Prayer

First a prayer for folks over 50 who are cranky, then a story about prayer which will make you think, hopefully.

--- THE SENILITY PRAYER : Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.


---------------------
A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm
at sea and only two of the men on it were
able to swim to a small, desert like island.

The two survivors, not knowing what else to
do,agree that they had no other recourse
but to pray to God. However, to find out
whose prayer was more powerful, they
agreed to divide the territory between them
and stay on opposite sides of the island.

The first thing the first man prayed for
was food. The next morning, the first man
saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the
land, and he was able to eat its fruit.

The other man's parcel of land remained
barren.

After a week, the first man was lonely and
he decided to pray for a wife. The next
day, another ship was wrecked, and the only
survivor was a woman who swam to his side
of the land.

On the other side of the island,there was
nothing.

Soon the first man prayed for a house,
clothes, more food. The next day, like
magic,all of these were given to him.

However,the second man still had nothing.


Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so
that his wife and he could leave the island.
In the morning, he found a ship docked at
his side of the island.

The first man boarded the ship with his wife
and decided to leave the second man on the
island. He considered the other man unworthy
to receive God's blessings,since none of his
prayers had been answered.

As the ship was about to leave, the first man
heard a voice from Heaven booming,

"Why are you leaving your companion on the island?"

"My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one
who prayed for them," the first man answered.
"His prayers were all unanswered, and so he does
not deserve anything."

"You are mistaken!" the voice rebuked him.
"He had only one prayer, which I answered.
If not for that, you would not have received
any of my blessings."

"Tell me," the first man asked the voice,
"what did he pray for that I should owe him
anything?"

"He prayed that all your prayers be answered."
-----------

For all we know, our blessings are not the
fruits of our prayers alone, but those of
another praying for us.

6 comments:

Ryan said...

Despite the whole genie depiction of God, I like this little fable. It demonstrates the selfishness of people. I keep thinking about the apostle Paul's statement that "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men" (1 Cor 15:19). The hope of the believer is a future one. This life is to be treated for what it is in the grand view of things.

"The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25).

Dave said...

I guess instead of selfishness, I see it as the selflessness.

"This life is to be treated for what it is in the grand view of things." For some folks that means ONLY thinking of the future, and going to some spiritual plane in heaven. They seem to miss any reference of the "kingdom" as not only a future realm, but a present one as well. Jesus and the NT writers place a very heavy emphasis on how we live our lives in this world now.

Some men and women have many blessingsin this life. Their role is to show love to others, to be an example of God's love, just as Jesus was 2000 years ago.

The good news is that Jesus came, and died for our sins. And top of that, we have God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, with us everyday. The really good news is that we be resurrected into a new earth.

God is here now, transforming lives, giving glimpses into the future kingdom, in this present day.

Ryan said...

Hi Dave,

"I guess instead of selfishness, I see it as the selflessness."

Looks like it is both, right? One is selfish, and one is selfless. From my perspective, I see the Bible highlighting the corruption of man and the goodness of God, and that if we repent and place our trust in Him then we will bear good fruit as a son of God (ie. do good to others, not just think of ourselves). Maybe I'm thinking too deeply again, but this seems to be a known flaw of mine ;-)

You made a very good point about some who only think about the heavenly future and ignore what's going on around them. The one who thinks only about himself could do so by focusing only on things of this earth that will make him happy or, to the ignorance of the plight of others, he could spend all his time thinking about streets of gold and how happy he is going to be. Point taken. I think though that the point in deferring to the next life is supposed to be to convince you that it is worth trading off temporary discomfort in this life. It's not that everyone needs to become poor, but rather that they show mercy since they have been shown mercy, even if it means getting into uncomfortable or inconvenient situations.

God, give me the grace to love others as much as I already love myself!

Matthew said...

That is a good prayer, and sometimes more people need to pray it.

Jim said...

Good stuff, perhaps we never realize how powerful the prayers of others are on behalf of us.

God bless,
Jim

Shane Vander Hart said...

Great post.