How should a beginner pray

Lord, give me the strength to change the things that I can change, the serenity to accept the unalterable - and the wisdom to distinguish between the two! ”If there is such a thing as a hit in prayer, then this is definitely one of them.

It has always touched a side in me, too. However, I am only slowly beginning to understand its meaning. Recently the words have come back to me.

One of the reasons for this is that my older daughter's atopic dermatitis has worsened. In the past few months we have therefore consulted many doctors and worn out some naturopaths.

Prayer as a pain pill?

We went to the sea and had a hospital stay of several weeks behind us. For weeks I have been cooking according to an extremely complicated diet plan. And the result? Nothing! It itches and itches. Of course I also tried praying, sometimes softly, sometimes loudly. When we were on vacation, I put a few candles in front of the saints in a French church. One should leave no stone unturned.

But here, too, there was no success. Perhaps this is because Catholic saints do not respond to the prayers of Protestant parishioners? Maybe God just had more important things to do? How is my daughter's crawling skin compared to the war in Syria? But none of that goes to the heart of the matter.

Rather, it is like this: I use prayer like a pain pill. I want to solve a problem with it. If that doesn't work, I'll be pissed off and sulk. Well, and somehow it doesn't work. Even if my hair is on the brink, praying is not about finding a rational solution to a problem. But what is it then? I recently got an idea of ​​this when I met a man in Spain. His name is Rafael. Rafael has a malignant cancer that is becoming increasingly resistant to therapy. Nevertheless, he exudes an incredible cheerfulness and cordiality.

He does not fool himself about his condition, but remains full of trust in life - and in God.

This trust miraculously seems to be independent of whether he will conquer his illness. Rafael prays every day and says that he draws strength from it.

Waiting for wisdom?

Apparently he prays very differently from me, who stamps her foot when she doesn't get what she wants. He prays like someone who has understood life, perhaps precisely because life has often not turned out the way he imagined. God has probably already given Rafael wisdom.

Apparently God prefers to keep me waiting. Maybe it just amuses him to watch me a little longer as I boldly run my head against the wall over and over again?