Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered

<b>Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered</b>
Your “prayers not answered” means your “expectations not fulfilled.” The TAO wisdom explains why: your attachments to careers, money, relationships, and success “make” but also “break” you by creating your flawed ego-self that demands your “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Control


CONTROL

Obedience and trust

What is obedience or disobedience to God?

An example of disobedience is lining up for hours to get your Power Ball.

What if it is God who wants you to win the lottery?

Well, in the first place, God did not create the Power Ball. It is your own choice and decision to go and get the lottery ticket; it has everything to do with your own greed and vanity.

Buying a lottery ticket is one of the many attachments to money and wealth. You may want to change God’s mind about what He has destined for you. Remember, if God wants you to be super rich, He would have given you all the tools in the form of God-inspired life passions.

Changing God’s mind for what He has already destined for you is disobedience. Obedience to God is graciously accepting and embracing any adversity and calamity in life so that you may learn lessons from them, thereby enhancing your spiritual wisdom to continue your pathway of trust and obedience.

“Teach us to number our days,
   that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
(Psalm 90:12)

What is trust in God?

Trust in God means believing in the veracity of His Word.

“so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
  It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
  and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
(Isaiah 53: 11)

Letting God Is letting go of your control
                 
God is in absolute control of everything.

 “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth.’”
(Psalm 46:10)

Throughout ages, miracles have happened around the world—a testament to the indisputable fact that God is always in control of anything and everything, despite humans’ resistance to letting go of their futile endeavors to control their own destinies.

There was the story of Norbert Gennep, born in AD 1080, who came from a wealthy and influential family in Germany, with ties to the imperial court. At that time in history, it was not uncommon for those seeking political advancement to also acquire ecclesiastical offices. So, Norbert had himself ordained a Sub-deacon and became a Canon, although he had no real piety or religious inclination; his ultimate motive was to indulge himself in worldly luxuries and pleasures. 

Then, one day in AD 1112, while riding on horseback, he was struck by a fierce lightning, thrown from his horse, and remained unconscious for a while. On waking up, Norbert was completely transformed, and asked: “Lord, what do you want me to do?” He heard God’s voice, saying: “Turn away from evil, and do good.” Obediently, he gave up everything he ever owned, became a priest, preached the Gospel, and lived the simple life of a wandering preacher in barefoot. Norbert eventually became the Archbishop of Magdeburg in Germany, and was subsequently made a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

You do not have to be struck by lightning and thrown off the horseback before you would let go of your attachments to the material world, as well as your futile attempt to control your destiny. God can work miracles in your life if you are obedient, and if it is His will.

The origin of control

Control is basic human instinct. Humans are inherently controlling. Out of fear and insecurity, our ancestors living as early as in the Stone Age strove to control their environment in order to survive, and thus developing their fight-or-flight instinct.

Since time immemorial, control has evolved, and most of us are controlling to a certain extent. We, as parents, control our children’s destinies by striving to steer them clear of the wrong pathways we might have previously treaded ourselves. Our cultures tell us that we should be in control of everything around us at all times, including our futures and destinies. Controlling, to many of us, is synonymous with independence and power.

The irony of control

Stress in everyday life and living may make you want to control everyone and everything around you in order to de-stress yourself. Ironically enough, in the process of controlling stress, you may also have inadvertently created a vicious cycle of stress-generating-more-stress.

The anticipation of stress puts you on an alert system, producing stress hormones. Then You may have to make some choices—choosing this and avoiding that. Choosing in itself is stressful, especially when picking the wrong choices, leading to regret and disappointment. In addition, your expectation of the anticipated result may further intensify the stress, often making you do more than what is necessary to guarantee the expected result. Over-doing is stressful.

The irony is that controlling stress may only lead to getting more stress.

The different ways of control

Control may come in many different forms in life, and we are all susceptible to some forms of control.

Given that control is basic human instinct, we all spontaneously want to control how people perceive us.

If you ask a child “How old are you?”, the child may answer: “Five years and four months”, while also extending his or her four fingers to highlight the “four months.” The child wants to control your perception of him or her—that he or she is “four months” older than other five-year-old kids.

If you ask a teenager the same question, that teenager may answer: “I am fifteen”—implying that “I’m nearly old enough to drive soon.”

If you ask someone in the late twenties or early thirties the same question, that individual may answer quite differently: “I won’t tell you; just guess!”—that individual may want to control your perception of his or her real age in relation to his or her appearance.

If you ask an elderly person the same question, that person may be more willing to let you know his or her real age by saying: “I’ve just turned eighty.” That individual is, in fact, also controlling your perception: “See, I’m eighty, but I look much younger—probably like a sixty-year-old, don’t I?”

To a more or less degree, we all want to control how people think of us. Do you like to wear loose-fitting clothing to hide your belly fat? Do you use heavy makeup to mask your facial lines? Do you dye your hair to make you look younger? Control is about the perception of the ego-self by others.

In addition to controlling how people perceive us, we may also want to control how people act and react toward us by using emotions, such as anger, fear, and guilt, among other negative emotions. Furthermore, we may also want to control the circumstances we are living in, thereby controlling what is happening to and around us.

The bottom line: we are all controlling to a certain extent due to our attachments to different things in life that we think may define who and what we perceive ourselves to be.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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