Today I broke down in the car as I was driving to work. I surprised myself. For some reason I thought it’s been too long since you left me hanging on hope that you would pull through. At least once every year I get overwhelmed by this deep and helpless feeling of sorrow. But today was worse. I couldn’t help myself. So I cried and banged my fists on the wheel in rage not caring if the people in traffic could see me. You always said that you’d be surprised if I had any tears at all. You said my face made me look cold, disinterested and criminal so yes today I cried.
I have never forgiven myself for not calling you in 3 months yet you were my secret best friend. I hate the memory of calling you only to be told by your mother that you were in hospital. I can still remember how weak I felt when I came to see you at the hospital. I never imagined I could see you helpless. I thought I’d come in and you’d sit up and immediately ask me why my hair wasn’t shaved. You always wanted me to look neat and organised. For some reason I liked that I could handle your OCD.
I never understood why a beautiful soul with such a bright future would be taken first. I sat there at your bedside and for a moment my heart skipped when your heart monitor showed that my presence had gotten you excited. But you were trapped. I could see you fighting to come out from behind your tearing eyes. I could feel you trying to move your hand to touch my face. For a split moment I knew you just wanted for us to have coffee like we always did every couple of days just to talk and debate about anything and everything.
I have never forgiven myself for not being able to say anything all the times I came to see you. I was scared. I felt like you had abandoned me. I tried to speak but my throat always turned into a tight knot. I didn’t know how to talk to someone who was not able to respond. I felt angry and sorry to see you twitching and drooling all over the hospital sheets. I hated that for once I couldn’t fix it. I hate that we were so broke that we couldn’t afford you better care; I couldn’t shield and fight for you like the first time we met.
We were friends and we liked to keep it that way. We never dated and we never even saw the need of talking about it. I knew where your heart was and you knew the chaos that was my life. We were two sides of the same soul yet different in every way. But here you were, crying out for help. Trying to tell me something I will never know. There I was, trying to stay hard above my tears and trying to convince you that you’d get well.
I hate the day when I walked through the hospital gate and instantly knew in my heart that you were gone. Suddenly I knew all the things that I wanted to say to you but it was too late. We were born on the same day and hour so you know why it’s always been hard for me to understand why you were gone before our time.
I didn’t look at your face in the funeral. I didn’t cry. I didn’t want you to see me that way. Even now I find it hard to visit your grave because I know that’s not where you are. I want to hold on to the music, the laughter and the conversations that made everything okay. The best way I can honour your memory is to tell everyone around me about that brief moment in my life where I found a friend that promised she’d one day make me cry and delivered on it.
Tonight I will find a quiet spot and raise a glass to you.
– For Georgina Maxine Mueni, 1978-2007
Have you ever lost your Debit Card to an ATM? You typed in your password and seemingly followed instructions to the letter and still the greedy machine swallowed it all without even producing the money you requested? I know you cursed the bank, the machine, the bank CEO and most of all yourself. You cursed yourself because for some reason, you think you should have guessed it would happen. And from that moment, everything that day went downhill despite hoping that it would only get better. You tripped and fell on a flat pavement at lunch time. You stood up brushed the dirt off your shirt and said another silent prayer for the rest of the day. This time, angrily. Only kids are supposed to fall on flat surfaces! In the elevator, you involuntarily farted. That’s it! #DEAD
We pray for different reasons. Mostly, we pray to ask for help. It’s a human thing. We could be different in the sense of what we believe in, who or what we pray to but in the end, we seek to be answered in one way or another. And when our prayers don’t get answered, our faith is shaken. When this happens over a long period of time, we lose our faith. When we lose our faith, we lose our spirit [The little silent voice within us that tells us where we came from and our destiny]. We become animals.
On the other hand when our prayers are answered, our belief is strengthened. Our hope is renewed. We become thankful and want to spread the word so that others might experience what we are experiencing. We start believing in things unseen. Impossibilities turn into possibilities. What I know for sure is that there are many people who believe but very few can show the positive results of their beliefs. So could it be that we don’t know how to pray?
By now you’re asking what qualifications I have to teach people on how to pray. I have none. When was the last time I went to church? Let’s see… maybe 3 months ago, maybe more. I am not special in any way and I feel sad every time I think of the things God has done for me versus what I have done for him. I’m a ‘work’ in progress. I am thankful for the many things that I have experienced through prayer. I’ll share my secrets with you. This is not a lecture and I will say again that I have no qualification whatsoever. The only thing backing me up is, what prayer has done for me. I am a blessed man I tell you. Everything I’ve ever prayed for I have received. And for the few things I am yet to receive, I am gladly waiting for. If ever I fail to receive one of the things on my list, I know it will be for a reason. A bigger plan and purpose. I feel strongly that by reading my findings you will be enlightened. You could be a preacher or even the worst villain, it’s all the same. Praying is talking to God and as with any conversation, there are ground rules. Pay attention because I will tell you just one of the rules that I think is the most important. Important because it determines the outcome. There could be other rules but this one is essential. Walk with me.
God does not owe you anything. You heard me right. He doesn’t. That’s the main thing that you need to understand because I am pretty sure you know it already. Just because you prayed for a car doesn’t mean you’ll get it. Just because you wish your oppressive boss would die doesn’t mean it will happen. If that were the case, there would be no war, hunger or even starvation. The world would be a better place just based on the fact that there are more good people than there are bad people, I believe. You on the other hand are alive because God wills it. You owe God everything. When you pray, you should humble yourself and be ready to accept the answer God will give you. Why? It is for your own good.So God will definitely give you an answer. It just depends on how you choose to receive it.
So how then do you interpret the outcome of your prayers? I will give some practical and familiar examples. Would you give an infant a razor blade just because they cried for it? Would you skip immunizing your child just because injections hurt? Why not? It’s sad to see a baby cry in all it’s innocence. In the same breath, it feels good to be able to provide your child with all it wants. Anything that will make it happy. Clearly, if you listened to the desires of the child you would end up killing its fragile life for giving, or failing to give for the wrong reason. One more question. how then do you explain to a baby who still speaks goo goo gah gah why you had to treat it the way you did? So there you have it. When you pray, understand that God will answer according to his WILL. Not yours. He alone knows the master plan because He made it. So if you prayed with an honest heart and didn’t get exactly what you wanted just know that THAT is still an answer. On the other hand if you got what you wanted after praying, always remember to give thanks because you are still in God’s plan. This realization has been my motivation. That is why I can confidently say, ALL my prayers have been, are and will ALWAYS be answered.
It’s sad that in our time we’ve had people promising you returns if they pray for you. Some even pay in exchange for prayers. They say plant a seed by sending money and reap the benefits. I don’t dispute any concept but at the end of the day, everything depends on God’s will. What God gives, he gives for free.
Next time, I will give you the anatomy of a prayer according to my findings. Ofcourse it will depend on how well this article is received. I could be wrong. Write to me and tell me what you think.
Dedicated to the one person who in my blog poll, said that God does not exist. Just pray that you’re right.
When I was in class one, my teacher noticed I had a passion for arts and so she made it her mission to help me develop my talent. She would always provide me with extra crayons and additional drawing paper. All this, because I painted her a picture of what I thought was her family. Perfect and balanced. I remember her reaction when I presented her the painting. She cried helplessly, hugged me and soaked me in her tears. I was too young to understand what her tears meant so I cried with her too. I was later to learn that she had lost her family in a car crash. From that moment, we became best friends. She even offered to teach me how to count as I had difficulty in math. She liked me. During the morning breaks, she and I would go and sit on the grass at the far end of the field and I would catch grasshoppers for her. I wanted her to smile but she wouldn’t. She was a sad creature.
One day after learning of the fate of her family, I painted another picture of her family. This time, I painted her departed husband and two kids were on the top of my composition with smiles on their faces. At the bottom of the painting I had drawn my teacher smiling and looking up at her family. I used yellow for most of the painting. This also happened to be the first thing she noticed when I presented it to her. I explained that the yellow stood for God, and that he was always watching over her. I also told that her family was safe in his hands. There were tears in her eyes when she told me that she didn’t believe in God. For a young child brought up in a christian family, her statement threw me into personal melee and finally a quest for the existence of God. It was the saddest thing to know that my teacher died a few years later in 1997. It was even more sad to learn that she died having not believed in the existence of a higher power.
When I was twelve, I read the bible from beginning to the end. I wanted to find out why people believed in christianity. It was a tough time as my uncle and his wife had just lost their three month old baby. Naturally, some people wanted answers, others wanted understanding. For me, there was one big question. Where was God when the poor child was sick? Why would he give us a ‘gift’ only to take it away before its time? It just didn’t make sense. I was looking for answers in the bible in the hope that I would get an enlightenment or at least an understanding. I could not bring myself to believe how God formed the universe from nothing. There was a tempest in my heart between logic and faith. In a strange way, I could now understand why my teacher did not believe in God. It was scary to harbor such thoughts in my young mind. But sometimes, the answers come when one is in the eye of a storm because after my long search, I finally got home. I believe strongly that God exists. Trash everything else. That we evolved from apes is complete rubbish. How else can the evolutionists explain why the apes are still there? As one blogger put it, it’s like saying a chair will one day evolve into a table.
You see the terms faith and logic are relative; depending on how you understand them. Personally I believe that faith is observed and experienced by signs. Affection is not affection unless it is expressed in signs. How else do you know that someone loves or hates you? Is love something you can touch? Is hate an object you can take hold of and bury in the sand? Why then do you doubt the existence of God just because you cannot see him?
Likewise, science also derives its basis on signs. Smoke is the signal of a fire. The mood, cognition and voluntary movement in a human being are explained by the presence of dopamine (a neurotransmitter) that the brain is able to produce. So can we safely agree that science and religion are based on signs? Well scientists would definitely not agree to this co-relation. Fair enough. I wonder what they have to say about this thing called gravity. How is it formed? Where does it come from? Clearly, all a scientist can do is try explain the signs of God’s work. It then becomes useless to explain the inside of an egg without first trying to find out where the hen came from. Get it? At the end of the day there is no evidence needed to bring forth faith. Just signs.
‘Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. ‘ Hebrews 11:1-3
In my article Dreams, I gave the example of Jesus‘ Walk On Water. I have come to call this wonderful event WOW- Walked On Water. Of course scientists will always try to refute this fact but I on the other hand, have experienced more WOW moments than I can count. My prayers have always been answered. I have seen the signs of God’s goodness that I can’t ignore. I have done bad things in the past but I now enjoy the mercies and grace of a forgiven man. You see the same author of my faith is the same One who created science. So when science fails to explain an occurrence, I cannot assume that it doesn’t exist.
Sometimes all we need to do is close our eyes and experience the connection. You know that feeling in your heart that tells you, that you are not here by chance?
These are just random thoughts of a man looking to find his way. The journey is long and it’s just beginning. Maybe next time I will tell you what else I have discovered. I dedicate this to my mother who has been the best teacher when it comes to explaining the intangible.