My wife and I were having a discussion last night about prayer, trust, and fear.
Question 1: Does praying "fervently" really have any greater effects than one simple heartfelt and genuine prayer?
My answer is: I don't think so.
Why would God totally disregard an honest prayer if it wasn't done a certain number of times? Or with a certain frantic desperation? I think God hears us when we pray and we don't need to beg and plead for things like he didn't hear us the first time. Also, what makes us think we know what is best for us? It's clear that some things are very hard to deal with and so we pray to make it easier, or to show God how serious we are about things, but what if it's best that things happen the way God wants them to? God doesn't forget about us because other people are getting all of his attention with their long and painful prayers. In fact, didn't Jesus say something and big showy prayers? That's another issue altogether.
Anyway, the point is, it might be better for things to go the way they are going to go without your persistent attempts at interference. Would you go to the doctor and tell him how to perform open heart surgery?
Question 2: Is it right to be fearful about things?
My answer: I don't think so.
I am pretty sure that the most commonly repeated phrase or idea in the Bible is Fear Not. Worry not. Fret not.
What I am saying is, my translation of that is to actually fear not. And when I say fear not I am saying that we should, actually, literally fear not.
Why do we try so hard to convince ourselves that things should be, can be, and are scary? What is scary?
What is scary to you? I am going to go ahead and argue that it shouldn't be. Why? Because we are told that it isn't. There you have it.
Which leads me to my next question.
Question 3: Am I weird?
My answer: Most likely.
My wife said that I have a "supernatural lack of fear", which I translate as a "supernatural ability to chill". Is that weird? Or unusual? I guess it doesn't have to be - but I think it is.
It's not that I am not afraid of things or that I am fearless for some stupid reason, I think it's because I believe God when he says that we should not fear, that we don't have to.
I remember the first time I rappelled off a cliff. The guy showed me how to do it standing at the top, clipped me in, handed me the rope, and told me to back up to the edge. I backed up and started to lean back into the void and, like everyone rappelling for the first time, freaked out a bit and had to catch my breath for a second. Leaning out from the wall, I looked up at the guide, who was still within arms reach. Clearly seeing the fear in my face, he looked me in the eye and said in a calm and reassuring voice, "Jacob, trust the rope. Trust the rope."
When I heard those words I looked at the rope, the gear, the knots, the anchors, and then down at the wall, and back at the guide and I realized - he's right. I am safe. He showed me all of this at the top, where it made complete sense, so why question it now? Everything is exactly the same as it was five seconds ago.
I am safe.
You are safe.
Trust the rope.