catapult magazine

catapult magazine




Nov 16 2002
11:01 am

I suppose ths should just go under Quotes: Something simple, hard to remember -

“You do not have because you do not ask.”
- James 4:2

Prayer can be a funny thing.
Is anyone familiar with a somewhat recent book called “Ragamuffin Prayers?”
It is compliled by Jimmy Abegg (from Rich Mullins’ “A Ragamuffin Band” band and also a great photographer) and contains short devotionals written by various Christian artists, on prayer.
Essentially what the book comes down to is that there is not one right or wrong way to pray. You can’t be good at it and you can’t be bad at it. Anyone who may struggle with praying (the concept of or the act of) would especially enjoy this book, but is perfect for everyone and anyone sometimes found beat-up and burnt out by life, living by God’s grace.
Just a suggestion.. (but I really liked it. )


Nov 16 2002
04:25 pm

Interesting idea, A, that there is not a right or wrong way to pray. I agree wholeheartedly in the seanse that it is certianly not my place to judge the prayers of others — and i don’t think that God is going to hold sloppy, confusing, or irreverent prayers against us in any way.

At the same time, though, it seems to me that there are some sorts of prayers that are better than others. My four year old daughter gives thanks for very specific things. It seems to me that this is better than my sometimes overly general thanks. I have heard some people pray in public whose voice mannerisms are so distracting that it is hard for me to figure out what they are praying. Other people’s prayers are so beautiful that they capture the very thought i was trying to get across, but was too inarticulate to manage it.

How about it everybody, is there a right or wrong way to pray?


Nov 16 2002
05:56 pm

Anne Lamott says that she has two basic prayers: “help me, help me, help me!” and “thank you, thank you, thank you!”. She admits that the former is far more frequent than the latter. I’m not saying this is the best or worst of prayers. I’m not sure what I’m saying, I just felt like saying it.


Nov 19 2002
05:45 pm

I was also going to bring up that Anne Lamott quote. Isn’t it powerful?

I think what I meant by saying that there is no right or wrong way to pray is that there is no prayer that cannot be or isn’t heard by God. There is no right or wrong way, in that we do not have to come to the Throne with this elaborate speech we have prepared and worked at and slaved over, just to find perfect words, as if that is the only way we may talk to our Creator. We may come as we are.
So many times I will admit to being intimidated by those “good pray-ERs” around me. I think that I have nothing worthwhile to say, or perhaps I do have something to say, but do not have a good way to put it, and therefore the prayer gets scraped altogether because I don’t think it’s ‘good enough.’

Well, the truth is that I am not good enough. And try as I might to be the perfect person we all sometimes strive to be, I am never going to somehow “deserve” grace or deserve to be heard. I screw everything up too many times and so often.

But I am told that God wants us to come talk to Him anyway -with that faith that of a child, a prayer that of a child. That’s when, not just the “best”, but yes, BBC, the most honest prayers come forth like,
“dear god, hi. i am crazy. send help soon.
ps: thanks.”


Nov 20 2002
04:40 am

if i might digress a moment…
on the topic of anne lamott – as i was working out last night and reading the wonderfully trashy magazines they provide so i don’t die from boredom on the bike, in the november 25 issue of People there is a 2-page article on anne lamott. it’s worth checking out, just for kicks.

and now back to the regularly scheduled topic…


Nov 20 2002
09:30 am

During high school, I went on several SERVE projects (through Youth Unlimited). At one of them, I was sent into a several-year crisis after both of my small group leaders emphasized that, as you become a more mature Christian, you no longer pray the “Help me, help me, help me” prayers, but only the “Thank you, thank you, thank you”s. Now I struggle—did they really, honestly believe that as mature Christians, they were not allowed to cry out for God’s help? If so, I pity them. No matter where we are in our spiritual walk, there are always times when we need to cry “Help!” Feeling like that is a sign of weakness would certainly be a spiritual detriment. I’ve now, after several years of prayerful (“help me”) contemplation on the topic, discovered the joy of blending both types of prayer: begging God’s guidance, and thanking him for his faithfulness.

B-C—you’re right about specific prayer. I never cease to find delight in praying for very particular things—and others take delight in my prayers, too. Thinking about the specifics helps us realize the truly wonderful intricasies that God has taken time to add to our lives.

By the way B-C—hello!


Nov 20 2002
12:38 pm

It seems to me that though there might not be a right and wrong way to pray (and I don’t know that I would make that concession just yet, at least not with more thought), there is certainly better and worse ways to pray. Otherwise I cannot understand why Jesus taught us to pray. And it seems to me that if we are going to look for a better or right way to pray, Jesus’ prayer is a better place to look that Annie Lamott. Before anyone jumps on me, I love Annie Lamott. It just strikes me that her quip about her two prayers might be more clever than it is helpful. Jesus’ prayer seems to incorporate a lot more than just those two elements.

By the way—hello, Sheri.


Nov 20 2002
05:45 pm

Wow, there’s a lot of hello-ing going on in this thread. Hi there, DV—nice to hear your sweet…um, that doesn’t work.

I was just pondering (dangerous, for me) and I came up with a couple thoughts. The first has something to do with DV’s addition, something to do with everything that I’ve learned in…13? 14? 14.5, I think…years of Christian school, and something to do with my own earlier post. I think that prayers (most of the time, at least) should consist of more than just one element. While there are some times when we are so joyful that all we want to do is praise, and some times when all we can do is cry out for help, most of the time, our lives contain a mixture of the two, and our prayers should reflect that. (That was a long, comma-ful sentence.) I don’t think that you necessarily have to follow some formula—I don’t think that God is always all about formulas (though Jesus’ sample prayer gives us helpful guidance so that we know where to start), but…I don’t remember where I was going with that.

My second thought…after my ordeal during this past year (see next *cino issue), I think prayer has become far more real to me. I knew the power of prayer, but I didn’t fully realize its power. Does that make sense? It just seems that prayer is a whole lot more meaningful, more necessary in my life. Has prayer always felt real to you-all, or do you think that it became real at some point in your life?

Sorry if any of that was incoherent—there are people talking in the hall, and I’m finding it difficult to think clearly.


Nov 21 2002
12:19 pm

In the few minutes break from work I have:

I have spent most of my life feeling as though prayer was not real to me. I felt suspicious of that and all matters of personal piety. Not that I was against it, but I didn’t feel comfortable with it as it was typically practiced. I remember one instance, especially, in which it seemed very empty: a good friend was in a fatal car accident, and as he lay dying, surrounded by friends praying increasingly vehement prayers, I felt as though there I wasn’t sure of the point. I felt that the only purpose of those prayers was for our benefit—that God had very obviously answered them already, and that the prayers that continued to be prayed were more to help those who survived him feel better. Not that this is a negative thing, but for me, at that time, prayer did not feel real. It felt like a grand farce, in fact.

Now, prayer is beginning to feel a bit more real (slowly), but I still don’t feel so comfortable with conventional prayer techniques. I like better to just sit and be silent and try to focus on the fact that there is a God who loves us, is sovereign over us, and already knows our needs. When I try to put specific words to my personal prayers I seem to lose my prayerful state.

I do appreciate it, though, when pastors or others praying in church thank/ask for little things: for example, mangos, sirens on the street outside, etc.


Jan 30 2003
06:49 pm

Ragamuffin – yes, I have that book in the first post that you mentioned. It is OK except that the whole excercise is sort of falling into the celebrity paradigm of ’let’s see how well-known people do it…’ If we live and move and have our being in Christ, then when are we not praying? All that we do communicates our help mes and our thank yous to God. …the Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words…for we do not know how to pray as we ought….

The great Christian preacher of medieval times, Meister Eckhart, says:
“If the only prayer you say in your entire life is ‘thank-you,’ that would suffice.”


Jan 31 2003
12:27 pm

I confess, I read the first and last and skimmed all the middle posts. What about James 5:16,17

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us…”

Forgive me for being nit-picky, but I have a problem with the quote about only “Thank yous”

The Bible is full of people praying for things to be done on “earth as it is in heaven”. Jesus says “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (I forget the address for those…)

In other words God predestines often for people to pray to him before he provides for them. (Hannah, Esther, Elijah, Abraham w/ Lot, Daniel 10, etc.) This is because he created us to have a relationship with us and to love us and provide for us.
Prayer, in effect, unleashes the power of God (when it is his Will).

I’ve gone to whole conferences on prayer. There’s a molecule on the tip of the iceberg of prayer. I’m trying to shorten my posts.

Anyone have practical examples of how your prayers are different now than when you grew up?