Tuesday, May 31, 2005

It's the End of the World As We Know It

Right after I wrote the last post, another incident occurred dealing with this topic of prayer. Firstly, I should explain that I sometimes have nightmares about end-time prophecy. One of the perks of being raised in a religious family, I suppose. I have had them since I was a child and I accidentally caught part of one of those really bad 70s tribulation movies. I think it's strange that I still have them at my age and stage of intellectual development. But, I do.

Every night I pray that I will have peaceful dreams. I never have a nightmare when I pray this. On the nights that I forget to pray or fall asleep before doing so, I have them. It never fails.

The other night, I was praying but I was so tired that I fell asleep right at the beginning of it. I had a nightmare that woke me up at 5:00 a.m. I had to read a few chapters of Max Lucado's When Christ Comes before I could go back to sleep. (Max Lucado is good to read when you're unsettled. I'm almost always unsettled at night, so I read him a lot then.)

I discussed it with Mother the day after. I asked her what she thought about it. She shrugged her shoulders and said, "Prayer is powerful." I told her that I'm leaning more towards it being a psychological issue. The mind is powerful as well. My brain is fully aware of the fact that I pray this every night, and as soon as I don't, it might concoct a nightmare just for fun. Who knows? I don't think God would torture me for forgetting to mention something to Him. I just think it's very strange.


Tom said...

I saw one of those "last days" movies in a drive-in. Our youth group went and when they got done scaring the literal hell outta ya they asked you to "be saved". Back then the church found fear to be a better motivator than love.

Prayer........I have had many "unexplainable" responses to prayer when I was a child and as a young adult. My matured view mimics Francis Schaefer. I dont ask for anything anymore. Prayer is an acknowledgment of our recognition and honor to God. It is a matter of worship. "Thy will be done..." is a good example. I think that praying for sweet dreams reconciles your mind to God's protection over you and I do believe God knows.

Nightocean said...

Hi Sojourness,

I think dreams are the way our unconscious mind communicates with our conscious mind.

Someone once told me that if your dreams are too frightening, it's because you're not paying close enough attention, and the unconscious mind is trying hard to get your attention.

Have you ever kept a dream journal? That might be helpful. You could also change your prayer a little bit -- rather than asking for sweet dreams, ask for whatever dreams are useful or necessary, but ask that the intensity be toned down, and indicate that you will pay attention, and even record the dream when you wake up.

Just a thought...

sojourness said...

Tom, I think the church still does. I was in a youth group five or six years ago that did the exact same thing. The first time I saw one of those movies, though, was when I was around eight. I wasn't supposed to have seen it but I did.

I can see the logic of the way that you pray. The only thing is that I couldn't go without praying for the safety of my family, at least. I'm still compelled to do that, even though I think to myself, "Why should God keep us any safer than anyone else?" and "Why should I pray this when there's no guarantee that it will make a difference?"

sojourness said...

Nightocean, I recently began keeping a dream journal. I found a lot of themes and have been able to make sense of them, but those are in my regular dreams or only vaguely upsetting dreams. I don't write about the nightmares. I've only had one since I began the journal.

Thank you for your suggestion. It sounds like a good idea.

Tom said...

I think your prayers for your family is good and recognizes your relationship with God regardless of any results. That alone is worthy.

Unfortunately you are correct about the church and their use of fear still today. Its just new law that Christ fought and died to extinguish.

slim whale said...

i was also raised in a religious family. unfortunately, i did see one of those crappy "70s tribulation movies" when i was around nine. i lived in fear since then. for years, i associated the guillotine with that movie and not with marie antoinette or the french revolution. i always felt that there was this ominous shadow that hung all over humanity. it had been a terrible experience, to say the least.

i wish the church would think of other ways to present this. it's just so absurdly traumatic.