Answered prayers are scary. They imply responsiblity. You asked for it. Now that you've got it, what are you going to do? Why else the cautionary phrase "Watch out for what you pray for; you just might get it"? Answered prayers deliver us back to our own hand. This is not comfortable. We find it easier to accept them as examples of synchronicity:
* A woman admits to a buried dream of acting. At dinner the next night, she sits beside a man to teaches beginning actors.
* A writer acknowledges a dream to go to film school. A single exploratory phone call puts him in touch with a professor who knows and admires his work and promises him that the last available slot is now his.
* A woman wonders how to rent a rare film she has never seen. She finds it at her neighborhood bookstore two days later.
It's my experience that we're much more afraid that there might be a God within and around us than we are that there might not be. Incidents like those above happen to us, and yet we dismiss them as sheer coincidence. People talk about how dreadful it would be if there were no God. I think such talk is hooey. Most of us are a lot more comfortable feeling we're not being watch too closely and not watching ourselves very closely either.
If God - by which I do not necessarily mean a single-pointed Christian concept, but an all-powerful force - does not exist, well then, we're all off the hook, aren't we? There's no divine retribution, no divine consolation. And if the whole of our life experience stinks - ah well. What did you expect?
That question of expectations interests me. If there is no God, or if that God is disinterested in our puny little affairs, then everything can roll along as always and we can feel quite justified in declaring certain things impossible, other things unfair. If God, or the lack of God, is responsible for the state of the world, then we can easily wax cynical and resign ourselves to apathy....What's the use? Why try changing anything?
This is the use. If there is a responsive creative force that does hear us and act on our behalf, then we may really be able to do some things. The jig, in short, is up: God in and around us knows that the sky's the limit. Anyone honest will tell you that possibility is far more frightening than impossibility, that freedom is far more terrifying than any prison.
If we do, in fact, have to deal with a force beyond ourselves that involves itself in our lives, then we may have to move into action on those previously impossible dreams.
Life is what we make of it. Whether we conceive of an inner god force or another, outer God, it doesn't matter. But relying on that force does.
"Ask and you shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened to you..." These words are among the more unpleasant ones ascribed to Jesus Christ. They suggest the possibility of scientific method: ask (experiment) and see what happens (record the results).
Is it any wonder we discount answered prayers? We call it coincidence. We call it luck. We call it anything but what it is - the hand of God, or good, activated by our own hand when we act in behalf of our truest dreams, when we commit to our own soul.
Julia Cameron, 'The Artists Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity'