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The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How Does God Answer Prayer?

How God Answers Prayer
By Robert Warren Cromey

God answers our prayers from within ourselves, not from up there or out there. When we shut up and listen to our deeper selves, we find the answers to our prayers. The God within is our true and deep self and tells us what to do.

Liz Gilbert describes herself in the middle of a cold November night crying miserably on the bathroom floor. The crying seemed to go on forever. She realized she no longer wanted to be married to her husband. Totally confused, she cried uncontrollably. “…Please tell me what to do – repeated again and again…and the crying went on forever. Until – quite abruptly – it stopped. Then I heard a voice….It was merely my own voice speaking from within my own self. But it was a voice I had never heard before. This was my voice, but perfectly wise, calm and compassionate….The voice said, “Go back to bed, Liz.”

In her book Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth (Liz) Gilbert describes her pain and sorrow and how she finds God in her conversations with Him, which turns out to be with her God within.

Now if your God within or without says go commit suicide, kill your spouse and children or murder all Arabs, then you might want to check out God’s voice with the members of your family, your therapist, your priest or the police.

But those of us who are relatively normal can listen deeply, look within, quiet our minds, use self examination, go to therapy or AA, read a book, listen to music or even meditate if that is your cup of bullion.

When you pray about deep problems, expect the answer to come from within your self not from outside, from a notion of God or even good advice from a friend. Rust that deep voice within.

I know a woman who knew she should not marry her groom as she walked down the aisle toward the altar. We all know the man who hates his job with a passion and the voice within says, “get out” but he stays and is miserable.

A friend of mine worked very hard in therapy about staying in his marriage, which had produced four children. He agonized that he would have to divorce his wife and be separated from his two sons and two daughters. One day he just knew what he had to do. It was clear from deep within himself that he had to suffer the pain of divorce and separation. After he moved toward ending the marriage, his doctors told him that he had been on the edge of having a massive stroke.

Too often we expect our prayers to be answered by some divine intervention, some event that will lead us clearly without pain to a new place. The God within answers our prayer as we struggle alone or with the help of friends to discover our own answers and only then we can be sure they are God’s answers to our prayers. God is “breathing through our own hearts.” God is wherever we have the experience of extreme love. The God within works through our minds, our thought processes, our thinking capacity.

We pay attention to what our mind is teaching us. The God within also works through our emotions, our anger, sadness, fear, sexuality and joy. By paying attention to our emotions, we also learn who we really are and what we really want out of life. These are the areas of our inner self through which we learn God’s will for us.

How do we know we are not talking just to ourselves if we listen to the God within? The answer is quite simple; we don’t know. But the same self-deception will happen if we choose any other way of knowing what God wants us to do. The incarnation means that God entered human history as well as created human life. This human life of ours has all the answers. The only ways we know any answers are through our reason, emotions and finally our wisdom. I’ll bet on the God within to give me the answers to my prayers.


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