Sammy Hagar and a frog I once knew are great tools to teach about prayer in recovery.
See, a student within one of my “recovery writing” workshops approached me after I conducted a class about the importance of prayer within a recovery program. One of the exercises through which I paced student was to write their own prayers of thanks for the blessings within their lives but the student who approached me did so with a furrowed brow and manic hand movements. Prayer to him, turns out, was a waste of time. “I pray all the time,” he said as he invaded my personal space. “And NOTHING good ever comes of it. As a matter of fact, I’m beginning to wonder if God even exists.”
Now, I’m no one’s Pastor and I’m no expert on matters of faith. However, since he was in my class, I knew that he was struggling with some form of substance abuse and that he needed help. I was also curious about what he was doing to support his prayer, “I’m sorry to hear that,” I said and invited him to take a seat and a deep breath. “But, what have you done to support your prayer?”
His face looked a brand new etch-a-sketch. After several moments of trying to figure out my question, he gave up and asked me what I meant.
“Well, it’s kind of like Sammy Hagar and a frog friend of mine.”
At my statement, his mind must have spun out because he stood up again and was about to walk away. “Man,” he said while waving me away. “You’re nuts.”
“Do you pray that God takes away your Addiction,” I asked and he stopped dead in his tracks once he heard me. “And then find that it’s still there, day in and day out regardless of how much you’ve prayed?”
He turned, nodded emphatically, sat down and said, “Yeah, man. God just don’t give a crap about me.”
“Hmm,” I said and nodded like a cartoon doctor listening to a patient. “To me, it’s like Sammy Hagar and this frog I once knew. See, Sammy Hagar wrote this tune called, Give to Live. The chorus to this tune says that if you want love, you gotta give a little, if you want faith, you have to believe a little, and if you want peace, jut believe a little.”
“Ok,” he said. “I’ve heard that song, but what about the frog?”
“I knew this frog that had sat on a particular lily pad for several days, all the while wished that he could sit on another lily pad that was closer to a marsh that probably held a ton of juicy bugs. After some time wishing, he finally decided to jump. Problem for my frog friend was that he never actually jumped. His decision was not the action.”
“Look, if my frog friend listened to Give to Live, he’d of known that any thought, decision, or prayer without any action isn’t going to change a damn thing. We all have to DO something towards a goal; otherwise, we never give God a chance to work. He can do miracles, but more often than not, he works through us in order to get those miracles in place.”
“So, I have to do something to make my recovery happen?”
“Yup. If I were you, I’d write out what it is recovery looks like for me and then find things I could do to make that vision of recovery happen. And then every day, I’d do those things. Of course, I’d continue to pray and thank God for the opportunity to heal from my Addiction and ask for the courage to always face those things I need to do.”
He nodded and smiled. “Man,” he said. “You are nuts, but you make sense for a nutty dude.”
I winked and said, “I really hope so.”