Usually, if I ask God for help, I ask once and go on to other things, finding that God has a way of taking care of things better than we can imagine, especially if we are not asking God to help with our agenda -- which is what I think goes wrong with the prayers of the teenagers in my catechism class (e.g., they want an A on a test without having to study). But sometimes I am foolish enough not to put any worry aside after prayer. Silly me! What an unnecessary waste of energy and emotion!
I had a very dramatic experience with this a couple of years ago, one that came back to mind today through a post about prayer on Kari Brodin's Honest2God blog, to which I responded with the example I am giving here. (Kari, by the way, can use prayers for her health; please check out her site.)
A couple of years ago at work, I had made what could have been a career-ending mistake (even jail time if someone really wanted to press the matter) by signing off on a document without reading it thoroughly. By doing so, I had committed the US government to paying thousands of dollars, and I had no authorization to make the commitment. There needed to have been an authorization document from our resources department, and there was not, and I missed this detail. Still, I was the ultimate, responsible party. Media attention was threatened on Friday by the party not getting the thousands of expected dollars, and all ##$$&&** broke loose. I left the office not knowing what the situation would be, come Monday, but the next-higher office was clearly frightened by the whole situation. And then the day ended.
Needless to say, I fretted all weekend. Of course, I asked God for help right in the beginning, and then I fretted and fretted. On Sunday, as I fretted when I should have been praying, I suddenly saw the image of the kind of rope used in a tug-of-war game, and while I saw no tuggers, I immediately understood that the rope symbolized my work problem. At the same time, I heard the words, very clearly, "Let Me have it!" Startled, I immediately dropped my end of the rope, which went slack, and then the image disappeared. So had the worry disappeared. No more fretting. I could pay attention to real prayer.
Truly, I left the problem behind. In fact, I completely forgot about it and went on peacefully with the rest of Sunday since now God really did have the problem, and on Monday went to work, still in a peaceful mood.
I had nearly completely forgotten about the whole issue when I got a call from one of my boss's assistants who said he had been asked to come in early and work on "my" problem. In so doing, he found this major glitch in the system that could cause all kinds of unauthorized spending. It was being fixed, the party expecting payment was actually going to get paid, along with a dozen parties who were discovered to have performed services and not been paid in the past! Not only that, I was so not in trouble that I was being lauded because my mistake uncovered a serious problem with the system government-wide.
I was not going to go to jail! I was not going to lose my job! I was a hero!
And now I had another example of God knowing best, of God turning bad into good, and of the fact that we can, and should, trust God with anything and everything AND NOT FRET! As they say, just "let go, and let God..." :)