In Uncategorized on February 7, 2005 by Cody McComas

“You’d better be careful what you pray for,” somebody once said, “because you’re going to get it.”…

Time after time I’ve watched it happen, in my life and the lives of people I know. I’ve tried to find somebody who didn’t get what he prayed for, but to date I haven’t found him. I believe it: whatever we wrap away in thought is opened for us, one day, in experience.

There was a girl I met in New York, who lived in lived on a tight-packed Brooklyn tenement, acred about by old concrete and cracking brick; by frustration and fear and quick wild violence in the street. I wondered aloud why she didn’t get out, move to Ohio or Wyoming country, where she could breathe free and touch the grass once on her life.

“I couldn’t do that,” she said, “I don’t know what it’s like out there.” And then she said a very honest and knowing thing. “I guess I’m more afraid of what I don’t know than I hate what I have right now…”

Better to have riots in the streets, better squalor and subways and sardine crowds, she prayed, that the unknown. As she prayed, she received; she meets nothing now that she hasn’t met before.

All at once I saw the obvious. The world is as it is because that is the way we wish it to be. Only as our wish changes does the world change. Whatever we pray for, we get.

Look about, sure enough. Every day the footsteps of answered prayer are ours to walk, we have only to lean forward and walk them, one by one…

From time to time, when I was barnstorming the Midwest a few summers ago, (barnstorm: v to appear at county fairs and carnivals as a stunt flier) a passenger or two would say, “What a great life you have, free to go wherever you want, whenever…Sure wish I could do it.” Wistful, like that.

“Come along, then,” I’d say. “You can sell tickets, keep the crowds behind the wing, strap the passengers into the front seat. We might make enough money to live on. We might go broke, but you’re invited.” I could say this, first because I could always use a ticket seller, and second because I knew what the answer would be.

Silence first, then, “Thanks, but you see, I’ve got my job. If it wasn’t for my job, I’d go…” Which was only to say that each wistful one wasn’t wistful at all, each had prayed harder for his job that for the life of a barnstormer, as the New York girl had prayed more for her tenement that for the grass of Wyoming or for any other unknown.

I consider this from time to time, flying. We always get what we pray for, like it or not, no excuses accepted. Every day our prayers turn more into fact whom we most want to be, we are. It all sounds like justice to me; I can’t say as I mind the way this world is built, at all.

–From “Prayers” by Richard Bach


3 Responses to “Prayers”

  1. One rainy night in a car outside my house:

    “Here I am about to go on this mission, and it just hit me that I’ve never seen the world from anything but the Judeo-Christian perspective. Of course I think it’s true — I’ve never known anything else. Man…I need to pray about that.”
    Without pausing she answered, “You are praying; right now. You’re always praying.”

  2. Cody… Your blog today was truly an answer to my prayer. Inspired, you must be. I have honestly for the past five years been praying for something that eternally, will do me no good. I should have been praying for my ultimate desire but since it always seems to be the unknown and definatley in my eyes, the unattainable I continue to remain on the beat up streets of New York because it is simply all I know. The vain request takes my prayers in other directions that I’m sure the Lord acknowledges, however he only shakes His wise head and wonders when I will start praying for what I really want. What I want eternally. Thank you. Starting today, I am moving out of New York…..

  3. Wow. That’s all I can say. I am glad to know that the thoughts and ideas I share here actually mean something to someone. That is really the number one desire that I have; to affect someone’s life in a positive way. I think that is what art is all about, to reach us in a way that nothing else can, to reach into our souls and touch a part of us and move us in a way that nothing else is capable of doing. I’m glad that I have been a part of that for someone, it makes it all worth it. Thank you for sharing.

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