Oh my friends, thank you so much for your wonderful supportive responses to my last post. You really are a huge blessing...Consider yourselves hugged, one and all.
I'm still not sure where I am with this intellectually. I am inclined as a rule to pray as Emily does, offering God lots of helpful options (or are they get-out clauses?) and would do this for sure if I were praying aloud with R and co. ( Songbird, we'll use the prayers at Morning Prayer, which generally only the vicar and I attend...so they will be prayed aloud, but privately) On the other hand, I worry too that, as Mary said, I'm thereby "fettering judicial discretion", and expressing a lamentable lack of faith.There are some further complicated issues around the whole thing (not least the fact that R's tentative approach towards God is not popular with all of her family), but there isn't really any option about praying in some way, is there? In fact, I suspect that praying and praying and praying some more is really what I'm called to in this, and being prepared to offer as much practical love as I can to accompany that.*
I SO don't believe that God allows our lack of faith to limit his responses to prayer, though, Liz. I wouldn't try to love and serve a God that worked that way, - not for a moment. We both know lots of situations in which we've not had the "right" result, and we know too that's nothing to do with lack of committment to the prayer...nor, I'm sure, is it indicative of a capricious God who doesn't love us as much as we want him to. It just is a mystery...but mostly one in which I'm content to rest, trusting that it will all make sense ultimately.
*Just after typing that, I read an email from a friend in the congregation who had dropped in here, and suggested that we should pray but also get a ramp to enable R to cope with the steps around the church....which strikes me as a pretty perfect illustration of prayer plus action! Clearly, going "live" with my blog was a Good Idea!