Snowflakes & Prayers – Scuttlebutt from the Pulpit
I sat in the predawn darkness praying and watching the uncountable swirling snowflakes in the halo of the street light. Many thoughts about them came into mind as I prayed. It never ceases to amaze me that something so fragile, so feather light and beautiful can also be a danger to life.
I mean what’s more harmless and beautiful than a snowflake spiraling gently down from the sky? When we get them nonstop for hours, piling up, obscuring visibility and safe passage on roads and highways, then they become a danger. Gentle snowflakes whipped up by a driving wind become blizzards that are very hazardous to human life and commerce. I recall the blizzard of 1996, I will never forget that once in a lifetime blizzard. I stood on a snowdrift as high as the second story on Mom’s house. The highway was closed for 5 days. Snowdrifts in the rock cuts on Caver’s Hill had to be dynamited out.
One snowflake is harmless but get uncountable numbers of them, add the power of compelling forces such as wind and temperature and the idyllic, peaceful snowfall changes drastically. It’s a lot like people- one person crying, “The sky is falling”, may be shrugged off as harmless or deluded, but if many others pick up the chant the harmlessness drastically changes in the power of the surge of voices that can drown out or obscure the path of truth and reason.
I watch those snowflakes and I think about prayers. How many prayers have I prayed in my lifetime? Probably not even a fraction in number compared to this one snowfall of today, or of the one I shoveled for an hour two days ago. I think of all the people in the world praying and all the prayers since the birth of mankind and I am staggered because the numbers of all these combined prayers are not even close to the number of snowflakes in snowfalls that have alternately filled our lives with joy or disaster.
Just as it’s hard to imagine the power of a snowflake, we also have difficulty seeing the power of a single prayer. Although prayer like snowflakes has power in volume, a single prayer is just as effective. Prayer is us the creature, calling out to our Creator, the One who always listens but who is rarely heard.
Just as I stop in the woods on a snowy morning, only in the silence can I hear the swish of the snowflake as it falls to earth, so do I hear God’s voice in the silence after a heartfelt prayer. When I stop talking sometimes, He shows me the most incredible things, but often nothing. Yet I know my prayers and deepest longings have been heard and received with love.
As God knows each snowflake intimately so He knows us and our billions of prayers. Each and every one is dealt with in His time and wisdom. We just don’t see them answered as we want. There are so many ways to pray and books and people to tell you how. But we all pray in our own way regardless, and to our Creator that is good. As long as we pray, that cry for help, that seeking out of the soul wondering if anyone is home in the universe, we are all heard regardless of creed, race, gender etc.
A couple days ago during my predawn prayers a beautiful thought came to me. It asked me, “Can you imagine that all of your prayers have been planted in Heaven and each one is a different flower?” I got all choked up on that. What a beautiful image indeed – Flowers of heaven many of which have been fertilized by suffering and watered with tears. Flowers of prayers of thanks and sorrow. These flowers are not seen on earth; they are flowers of unimaginable beauty, abundance and kinds.
I shared this with a young friend of mine. It over-joyed her. She then said the most incredible thing, “Lorraine, I am going to get kids to draw pictures of flowers and I will bring them to your funeral.” Wow what a dear friend, what a heartwarming sentiment, but I do pray that God isn’t wanting me to come home yet.
I hope to keep praying my prayers for our beautiful world and beautiful people in it every second I am on this planet. And I pray that everyone keeps praying and never gives up on prayer. I so treasure that image sent to me that our prayers are not only making the world a more beautiful place (even though we may not see it) simultaneously we are making Heaven more beautiful too. I like to think that as each snowflake is unique and not replicated so will be those flowers in heaven. Man, that is amazing don’t you think?