Monday, July 02, 2007

Notes From A Prayer Warrior.

For those of you not religious, this expression is used in Christian circles. I'm not sure if it is used in other religions, but I would suspect the function is covered, but maybe by another name. I love to pray. Prayer, for me, is simply "talking to" or "thinking at" God. I taught myself to pray in my teens as a Baha'i'.

At first it felt silly, like trying to have a conversation with ... Well, I'd start: "Hi God...", then I'd wait for a response! When none came, I was actually relieved, as an audible: "yes CyberGal," would have scared the life out of me!

I then decided I'd have to just trust that my prayers were being heard and acted upon. I didn't have long to wait before a friend admitted stealing cigarettes from my Cousin. This had put me in a very touchy position with my cousin. She assumed my guest had done it, but asked me if I'd stolen the cigarettes.

When my friend confessed I was out raged. My cousin and I had a very, very stormy relationship under the best of circumstances and THIS! I felt the temptation to scream at my friend. Instead, I thought a quick prayer to my new friend, God.

"What do you want me to do here?" I figured I'd wait to see if I remembered something from the Baha'i' writings. Within a few minutes I remembered some passages which dealt with forgiveness and kindness. (Two actions I really didn't want to take). I thanked God for answering my question and then asked Him to help me get over my anger enough to truly be kind and forgiving.

Something very curious then took place in my mind. I remembered how messed up my friend's home life was. I remembered how scary it was for me to confess anything bad to my cousin. It was like putting my neck on a chopping block and saying: "Here I am, go ahead and kill me."
I was not speaking to my friend as we walked and I talked to God. Once I had these new thoughts I frankly told my friend my new experiences with God and let her know I wasn't mad at her, (though I pleaded with her not to do it again). I then realized her silent response was because she was quietly weeping.

This established God for me. I prayed a lot as a Baha'i'. It probably kept me from attempting suicide as a teen. I had such awful bouts of loneliness for people. I'd been grounded for a year and was not allowed to leave the house, except for school. No phone and no outings anywhere. I remember feeling an isolation so strong, it was almost physically crushing.

I chanted the Baha'i' prayer "Remover of difficulties" five hundred times. It is about three lines. Chanting helped me live better with life as I found it. God came to me in other wonderful ways. I would listen to the radio and strings of songs would be played that I particularly enjoyed. I came to understand that God was doing this for me. It was a kind of caring. It made me very happy, when most of my life was abysmal at best.

Prayer kept me from fighting more with my cousin then I did. I hated her and her ways. Once I got married and found out how she'd mismanaged some money my mother had left for me, I was so angry I feared I'd try to torture her. I told my husband not to let me leave our home until I calmed down. I seriously wanted to torture her. Not kill her, but to inflict as much physical pain and emotional anguish on her just short of killing her. I wanted to do this over and over again.

I believe prayer might have saved my cousins life. I had the sense not to act on an anger so strong, I truly felt energy radiating from my eyes. I knew enough to realize it was a dangerous, cold, calculating vicious thing. I was afraid of my anger. I prayed to God for help. It took about three hours before I calmed down, but I know God gave me the strength to resist a very real temptation to hurt my cousin.

When I became a Christian I was amazed at how Jesus worked when the Baha'i faith didn't. Just reading the Bible introduced strength and hope into my world I'd never known before. With all my mental illness, Jesus had much work to do, to even position me where I could rightly comprehend "the good news". God let me wander through several different Christian movements before I really "got" what Jesus actually did for me.

I knew he healed me, but the sin thing and the Holy Spirit-as-a-man made no sense to me. I didn't think I'd done wrong in relation to what had been done to me! (Now, after almost 25 years as a Christian, God has gently shown me my darker side. I now have enough emotional strength to handle taking responsibility for my bad behavior). I've learned the freedom of working on the problems in my life and leaving you and your problems to God and prayer.

So here I am in The Church of God in Christ. My entire small church is full of people with similar spiritual gifts. We are all a bunch of coffee drinking, fun-loving prayer warriors. Warrior just means you are willing to PUSH! (Pray Until Something Happens). Since I am alone a lot of the time I think stuff to God all the time. I just give Him permission to receive anything that goes through my mind. God has taught me that He respects our privacy and boundaries. When I get into a snit and don't want to have anything to do with Him. My God-noise leaves.

I was in an alcohol recovery program in San Francisco, just before becoming a Christian. I had played around with some very dangerous magic and I believe God saved me from being killed from some evil something that was attempting to crush my skull from all directions at once. How did I get myself into something like that?

I was so angry at God and everything else. I decided to scientifically prove there was no God by going through the Bible and attempting to do all the sins God really hated! Yeah, that is a very, very stupid and dangerous thing to do. I quickly realized that God really had a thing against any kind of magic. So, I found me some Pagans who used Nazi stuff to get energy to do their "rituals". They would take the energy from the Nazi objects and literally bless trees. I didn't really understand what they were doing. But the house we were all in was "infested" with some of the nastiest spiritual energy I've ever encountered.

My husband was exorcising something from an upstairs bedroom. I was in the basement with my lover. I perceived this entity was coming down the basement stairs. I put up my shields and all of that, but it made mince meat out of my protection as it landed on me. I knew if the pressure on my skull didn't stop I'd die.

To answer your next question; was I drinking, or doing drugs? No, it was so frightening, what took place, I wished I had been. But I was totally sober and knew I was in some big trouble. I shot up a foxhole prayer to God: "OK, I'll never doubt You or the Bible again. Please get this thing off of me!" All the pressure and the appearance of everything in the room being blood red stopped. I was alive.

But there had been something in that room. Every object capable of holding liquid was filled with a tarry substance which stank. It was an indescribably bad smell. I am very lucky to be alive. I was so arrogant and angry. I have wondered how God kept His patience with me for such a long time, in light of such over-the-top behavior.

So, back to how I got my "God noise". I'd just come out of all that awful stuff with magic. I'd gotten tangled up with something called a "psychic vampire". This is another human being who has the ability to tap into your body's energy and drain it. I started feeling like I had the flu all the time. I started having very strange nightmares. I started feeling another person attempting to take over my body from the inside out.

I had to get help to rid myself of this "presence". I was still very scared to be alone in a room. As I moved through the alcohol recovery process, I was rewarded with my own room. For most a real privilege, preparing one to return to real life. I was terrified beyond words.

I begged God to protect me. I was now a Christian, but I knew I couldn't tell anyone what I'd been through. Most people hear stories like that and blow it off. God answered my prayer. He had friends in the program give me statues of Jesus and pictures of Jesus. They sensed I was very frightened and said I could look at the statue and the picture of Jesus and He'd help me. I believed them.

Bedtime was the worst. I'd listen to Christian radio, but the terror would come on me. I finally got honest with God. Please give me something from You, so I won't feel totally alone and unprotected. I figured I'd rather hear something, than see something. I began to perceive a soft sound almost like a ringing in my ears. It isn't exactly the same. I have had real ringing in my ears and it is very different. I began to see that God had a personality and a will, just like me. He would not do "tricks" for me. I tried to "demand" my God noise to show up at my will. No dice. He's not around to entertain me, or satiate my curiosity.

When I'd pray, however, I would find that soft noise. Sometimes, when I really get into prayer, with my eyes closed, I see soft light, but that is rare. When I think about God, or am trying to share about Him, my God noise is always there. I can "hear" when others are praying for me. I don't hear words, but the God noise shows up when I'm doing something really spiritual. Like, when I'm listening to a song by The Rolling Stones! I never know who is praying, but the fact that someone is praying for me is totally obvious via what I was doing before I heard the God noise.

Being around other people who love to pray teaches you things. "Standing in the gap" for someone is attempting to pray while they go through what they asked you to pray about. Say, someone is asked to lead the Praise and Worship service. I have experienced people standing with me when I have faced difficult things. It is a joy to give that gift to a fellow traveler.

Some people have an entirely different prayer style. One friend claims he can fire off a healing prayer in thirty seconds! His prayers, for me, are very effective. He has a different constellation of spiritual gifts to share. Prayer style isn't important, it is where your heart is in relation to God.

So, I had to be up and praying at 7:15 for my friend. He just requested a quick prayer from me. I only do quick prayers when I'm in the middle of falling... I prefer a "chat" with God about whatever I've been requested to pray about. I run through the actual request the person has asked me to pass on to God. I then go through and claim promises out of God's word that apply to the situation. Somewhere in all of this, I laps into thankfulness for having a friend in the first place. Being thankful for everything is a wonderful way to keep your mind out of the emotional swamp of child abuse.

So I got up at 6:50 to have some time to drink some coffee to get my mind into shape so I could pray. I'd been fighting with a project the night before and didn't get to bed until about 3:30. But, I don't talk to anyone intelligently, until I've had some coffee.

Before Coffee: "Our Heaven, who art in Father..."
After Coffee: "Our Father who art in heaven..."

I have a wonderful set of memories about being dragged to a sunrise service before I was saved. I howled in protest and demanded coffee. This group didn't drink coffee, so I was out of luck. Fine, I got down on my knees at the top of this dew covered grassy hill to pray. The next thing I knew, someone was waking me up. Yeah, real spiritual, this one. Right.

At my first Church of God in Christ church, they held retreats which were actually endurance marathons. Meetings started at six AM and didn't break up until eleven PM over a three day weekend. The only way I could function was to drink lots and lots of coffee!

On my last retreat with this church, I'd been through a revelation about how important it is to pray when you tell people you will be praying. I got a kind letter from a friend thanking me for my prayers. (At that time, I prayed during the week with a partner at a set time.) He said that my prayers really helped get him through some stuff.

Only problem, when he thought I was praying, I was sleeping! I'd let my partner call me in the morning. No call, no prayer. Man, did I feel bad over that one! So, when we went on retreat to this monastery run by Franciscan Monks, I was determined to be up in prayer at 6 AM, when we were supposed to BE in prayer.

I had a good laugh when I discovered the coffee situation. I have no idea why these dear Monks need coffee that is so strong as to make Pete's coffee look week, but there it was! They had this little dispenser, where you'd take a packet with a cap at the top and slam it into the device to make a cup of coffee which almost raptured me without The Lord!

It was an absolutely beautiful retreat site. I'd get my coffee and sit on benches which overlooked the lush countryside. As I drank my first small cup of coffee for the morning I realized I was sweating and feeling very alert! (Over one eight ounce cup of coffee? What did Monks need this stuff for?) I thanked God for making it possible for me to truly be awake to talk to Him. Man, that coffee was something else again.

The other situation for a prayer person is how people are drawn to you to "share". They instinctively realize you can help them, even if they aren't religious. You are taken into people's confidence. I've had this happen to me all my life and have heard almost everything, I thought.

Recently, however, I had a conversation that totally stopped all rational thought. I am astounded to be trusted like this. I hurt for the people involved. My job is to pray. My pastor has preached about praying people losing their intercessory gift because they gossip instead of pray. It is a very, very serious and sacred responsibility.

I am grateful to my accountability/prayer partner for helping me adjust to a whole new level of holding something in confidence. She has had the same situation. We prayed together to help me truly turn the situation over to God. We never speak of details. Can't make a mistake if you keep it all under wraps. I learned that from my Psychologist. If you don't talk about it at all, you can't slip up.

From mental illness to constructive living. Not bad, my Lord, not bad at all. (((smile))).


Marty Flick said...

Hi, Cybergal ...

Question: If you know that you're praying to the same God, why take a step backward in the Divine Plan? Are you aware of who Baha'u'llah even is? I'm not going to go into too much - my blog: http:/// should help a bit. I'll check to see if there is a comment from you, before we start a dialog. - Marty

Marty Flick said...

Religious hostages is not my bag either. I do know the Bible, and a few other scriptures, although I'm not exactly 'chapter and verse' on them. That's why I have several scripture browsers.

I assume you've become a Christian, from being a Baha'i - and that's what interests me.

If you're sincere - as I trust you are - as a Christian, you are expecting the 'Return'. More than three decades of study have convinced me [remember what I was looking for?] that I've found just that - or, rather, that it found me.

Before I would return to being a Christian [raised Catholic], I'd have to be convinced that Baha'u'llah IS NOT who He claims to be! It's a no sale.

I appreciate your comments, though.

Marty Flick said...

Cybergal says:

“All I know is when I looked at the Bible, without making any judgements, I felt a strength and power with Jesus Christ, I'd never found with the Baha'i's.”

The question is this: Did you ‘judge’ the Baha’i revelation from the Sacred Writings, or did you judge it from her interaction with the Friends? There’s a massive difference between the two.

Baha'u'llah wrote over a hundred tablets, some having to do with prayer and meditation - if you're a prayer warrior, that would be good information.

The Master elaborated on the subject, as he was the authorized interpreter of the Writings. Seems to me, if power was what you were looking for, there was plenty to be found there.

So, that's why I'm asking ...

Marty Flick said...

If you'd rather email me, and not clutter up your blog with our comments, let me know via my blog comment section, let me know your email. I'll delete the comment, so it isn't up for public view, if you wish. MRF