Preying on prayer…

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I was taught to pray at an early age by my mother.

I remember waking up many nights and hearing her whispered prayers as she walked through the rooms of the house.

I attended three catholic schools and we prayed before classes, before lunch, after lunch, before we left for school and we prayed just because it was Friday.

My first executive position at church was prayer coordinator for the youth fellowship. Clearly prayer has been a major part of the fabric of my life…just like cotton.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the statement, “Prayer changes things…” but lately I have been asking, what is the purpose of prayer?

Christians believe God to be all knowing, all powerful, all loving, alpha and omega, holding all our future and plans in his hand. His will is described as perfect and he knows what is best for us all. After all, he knew us from we were in our mothers’ wombs. If this is the case, why do we pray? Why ask God to change things since he already knows what is good for us? To think I would have to go to my mother and father every time I have a need that they are already aware of, they have an obligation to fill that need. Isn’t it the same with God? Since he knows what we need why should I have to ask? Can my prayer change the will of God?  

I have often marveled at chaplains and athletes praying for victory, how does God even decide this? How does he pick a team to win or decide that this praying Christian’s request will be granted and the other denied? Surely we have seen people who later are revealed to be cheats win and walk off with the glorious moment of having confetti fall while they are hoisted on the shoulders of others, with the crowd chanting their names and the devout prayer warriors are left in the shadows. How about God allowing people to go on a murderous rampage, then we are urged to pray for the family left in the wake of the tragedy. Pray that “God may comfort them in this hour of need”. This bothers me. There is a school of thought that God allowed it to happen so people will draw closer to Him. seriously… Do I need to show the flaws in that ideology? 

I recognize the need for prayer, it is like a journal that allows people to get rid of some of the issues that plague their minds. It offers a release for many and offers hope in a world that may seem gloomy to some people. I am grateful when people say they will pray for me, not because I believe God may alter his plans for my life but that they care enough to try and have him alter his plans for my life. To say I have removed prayer from my life would be a lie, as there are times I ask for strength and answers to even some of these questions. Sigh, sometimes I wish I had blind-faith like so many Christians I know…oh well I guess I should pray for it….and it r the truth.

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Will of I am…

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This is the last will and testament of Albert R. Williams Jr, dated  January 7, 2012….ahmmm, well I hardly have anything to leave on a will, but I just wanted to type that as an opener :D, it sounds so serious and will contrast perfectly with what I will write here..

It has become fashionable for ppl to leave strict instructions for their funeral arrangements. I too have ideas on how this should go and though I’ve spoken to my mom, best friends and my partner about it, I think I should share it here to ensure we all on the same page.

First of all, there should be no cheerful colours at my funeral, my death isn’t a cheerful act. The idea of people being cheerful at my death would just kill me…again. So no reds, no blues, worse no orange or green, only shades of black, white and grey. Anybody who turns up in clothing that is too revealing will be given a black robe to wear until they leave for home. We not keeping a dance party neither is it a club and I am not a don.

I want a lot of flowers too, not artificial, as I refuse to be upstaged by dead flowers, there is only one dead present and that should be me. I’m talking about nice flowers too, Lily and Roses, not common chrysanthemums and ferns, I want the type of flowers that people will want to steal when they are leaving the church.

There will be no printed programs as I cannot deal with the thought of it being discarded months later. Can you imagine my programme in a garbage pile? Plus there will be no money left for programme, it will all go to the florist, remember we are doing really good flowers.

Pictures will be on display throughout the church lest we forget why we are there. A slide show projected right before the service begins showing images of me and friends in fond times with Barbra Streisand’s “The way we were” being played to support it. There must be tears during this section, I will have it no other way. After this slide show, I will appear on screen to moderate the ceremony via a pre-recorded video, which I will begin by saying, “I guess u r watching this means I died, hi from the grave *smile*”, this would slay me…again. 

  Many years ago, twinny 1 and 2, Keneisha and Nickeisha promised to do “Bridge over troubled waters” for my funeral, I have not forgotten. I want no preaching at my funeral, I’m sorry, but I’ve never gotten the need for sermons. They bring nothing new to the table that a song or a tribute cannot do. Instead there will be items from various groups I have worked with; monologues, short scenes, dances, dub poetry all that jazz in the service..:D, sounds good so far? I’ve commissioned the singing of “I’ll cover you (reprise)” from the musical Rent. I’ve seen one rehearsal of this and am happy with the progress, again, this should elicit tears.

Now as it relates to decorum…forget it, I want bawling. I want people throwing themselves on my coffin and wailing for me to be returned to them. There should be no dry eyes during the ceremony, remember I have no desire to die. So feel free to be as dramatic in your expression of love for me, I welcome it.

There will not be a bus to transport ppl to the grave side as this money will be used on flowers…I was not joking about this bit. So with that in mind, please take a pair of flats so you can walk to the graveside as I would hate to have my friends walk in their Manolo Blahnik and Louboutins pumps, which are a requirement. No need to worry though, there will not be a marching band, not only is this ghetto *vomits in mouth*, but it has a sense of glee, like people are celebrating that I have died and I will have none of it…sigh, the very thought.

Now, I left this for last because I know many of you are looking forward to having fish and bread on my account. I know It is a Jamaican custom to go to the house of the dead and eat the mourning family out of house and home. I know you must be tired after walking to and from the graveyard, but remember the money was used on the floral arrangements, so I would suggest you go straight home and remember the wonderful service you just experienced. Albert R. Williams was happy to have had you as a friend and I am sure your life is better having known him…and that r the truth.

What If…?

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What if I were BLACK?
Not smooth, rich black, grinning black,
but coarse BLACK,
abrasive and obscene BLACK.
The make you cringe type of BLACK,
Would we be friends…?

What if I were HIV+?
Not victimized, poor thing, HIV+
but “brought it upon himself” HIV+.
Messed around, sexed around, slept around HIV+,
Would we be friends…?

What if I were CRIPPLED?
not faulty machines, accident crippled,
but broke the law, had my ass clipped CRIPPLED.
CRIPPLED due to disobedience,
Would we be friends…?

What if I were DULL?
Not shy, stay by myself dull,
but a sad DULL, no jokes or dramatic anecdotes DULL.
DULL u scurry to escape from as it draws near,
Would we be friends…?

What if I were GAY?
Not happy, suave, well groomed gay,
but angry GAY, loud, defensive GAY.
Pelvic bone in your eye shoving GAY,
desire the smooth finish of women’s clothing GAY,
Would we be friends…?

What if I were an ATHEIST?
Not agnostic, flat out ATHEIST,
call you foolish for believing ATHEIST,
regard as ramblings, eternal soul ATHEIST,
Would we be friends…?

Life MAY NOT take me down this road,
so perhaps what I should ponder is,
WHY are we Friends…?