“Prayer Changes Things”

Dear President Trump,

Today is Laura’s birthday and I so wish there would be a pleasant political surprise to make the day even more memorable for her. It’s early yet so we’ll see. Miracles do happen sometimes.

This morning I saw a small hand-made sign that reads “Prayer Changes Things” on someone’s front stoop. I’ve seen it before but it’s been a long time since I noticed it. I think maybe someone has given the letters a fresh once over with black magic marker because it’s looking especially sharp right now. I love that it’s just down on the ground mixed in with a bunch of other things, almost as if to say “humble prayer changes things” as opposed to the more grand, public sort done by professional prayers. I think the idea is essentially correct, though rarely are prayers answered in obvious direct ways and when they are, it’s almost certainly a coincidence or because whatever was prayed for was basically inevitable and was just going to happen or because the person somehow influenced the course of things and made whatever they wanted (or didn’t want) to happen, happen or not happen. So what I mean when I say I believe prayer changes things has to do with the last way I just listed that prayers can seem to come true. When we pray by ourselves in our heads we might think we are talking to God or to the universe, and maybe we are, but most fundamentally we are talking to ourselves. We are clarifying and putting into words (usually) what is important to us, what we need, and what we want. We are letting ourselves in on what we care about and making it more likely we will move in that direction.

Yesterday was Confirmation Sunday. Our middle school students shared their faith statements and decided to join the church whether they believe in “God” or not. During the ceremony one of their teachers talked about how they have been working on social justice issues all year and they’ve been praying for you. People kind of laughed at the praying for you part but I think it’s important (not too surprising, right?). They are keeping you right out in front of them in prayer and they are working on justice issues that are important to them, standing up for their values in the face of the moral vacuum of your presidency. Prayer changes things and people.

May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May your life unfold and intersect peacefully.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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