Alternatively: greater freedom from what or greater freedom to do what?
I use the term freedom very intentionally. I realize it can sound counter intuitive on the surface, but the impact I have felt is very real. You might choose to categorize it differently after hearing my explanation, but it is the word that best fits my own understanding and experience. When I think of "comfort" or "peace" I tend to picture more a feeling of warmth, or tranquility. When I say freedom, I see it as a more powerful expression of emotion. For example, if I'm worried about situation, I may live as a slave to fear. It may manifest itself in anxiety, uncertainty, and any other number of emotions. That isn't to say that I never feel these emotions, but, at times, I used to be controlled by them to the point where it would be difficult to move past them. For some people, this might even lead to depression and other negative consequences. Anytime we feel trapped by our circumstances, there can be that feeling of "slavery". For example, I could be a slave to debt, and feel like I can't quit my job for fear of what will happen, or I can't move on and do something else because I'm trapped by what I owe, and the consequences of those decisions. I could be a slave to a substance such as alcohol, to the point where I feel I must have it all costs, even if that ruins my relationships. I may not want it to destroy my marriage, but my inability to quit and the adverse effects may leave me feeling hopeless and enslaved to something outside, or perceived to be outside, of my control.
This makes sense, though I still think 'peace', as in 'peace of mind' is a much more direct way of expressing the effect prayer has on you. But 'freedom' works I suppose - as in, being free from worry, free from anxiety, free from fear...again, to me, that sounds like 'peace of mind', but I get what you're saying.
So, when I say "freedom", it is a very intentional usage. Seeing God as my provider, for example, frees me from the worry and anxiety about my job, my business, etc. None of us are completely in control of every circumstance. For people like me, that can be extremely difficult. When I don't have to come home at night and worry about what will happen tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, I become a better husband, less prone to snap at my wife, I become a better father who is more attentive to my kids, I become able to actually look at the problems I'm facing head on and not worry about what is going to happen. I know, with confidence, that if my business fails tomorrow, my life will continue on and all will be ok. That is freedom. It also leads to more peace and comfort, but life isn't always comfortable. But to not be enslaved to fear, depression, worry, anxiety, substances, etc. is a very real and powerful thing. It isn't an excuse for laziness or lack of concern with what's going on around me, but it is freedom from the fear and anxiety, which makes me much more capable, in fact, of seeing the way through these difficult and stressful situations.
I have experienced this freedom in so many other areas of my life, which is leading me to more fully understand "He who the Son sets free, is free indeed." There has been great freedom in my life that has come through, ironically, surrender. I understand it sounds counter-intuitive, but hopefully you can understand what I mean by it since it can be difficult to explain.
Basically, because you've recognized that god is in control of some matters (exactly what...different conversation I suppose), you have been freed of some anxiety, worry, and fear. You've recognized that of the things that you don't
have control over, someone who cares about you does
have control over. That makes you feel less worried about outcomes that may or may not manifest in your favor or to your detriment.
I get the idea of wanting to have a positive, semi-passive state of mind. A state of mind where you don't have your emotions overwhelm your thinking.
Here is where we deviate:
To me, it makes more sense to train oneself in accepting that there are uncontrollable aspects to life; that tragedy and favor can come at arbitrary times, in arbitrary ways, often times in ways one has no control over. The recognition that there are some things one cannot control...and that there is no real use in worrying about that which I cannot affect or control. To imagine that another entity such as a god is in control of what I don't have control over doesn't change the fact that I
have no control over it, and worrying about it, again, is pointless.
Imagining an entity such as a god in control, unfortunately, opens the door
to me worrying about that which I have no control over. That maybe - just maybe - if I had pleaded
with this all-powerful entity in control, then <insert tragic situation> would not have occurred, or would have caused a minimum of damage, or whatever. For example, there are people in this world that actually believe
that a natural disaster like a tsunami or a flood was instigated by this entity who had control of the uncontrollable to teach humanity a lesson
, or did not prevent
tragedy from occurring because of the way humanity is or has behaved.
Imagining an entity such as a god in control also becomes rather difficult to apply universally - while I may feel like god is watching over me to protect me when, say, my business fails (i.e. still providing opportunity to feed myself and my loved ones after a failed business), it becomes difficult to resolve that idea in the same world where there are situations like country-wide starvation, murder, war...all of these other tragedies where, if someone who cared
in control, would have done something about those tragedies. And if he won't do anything to stop an innocent 6-year old child from being raped
, how confident can I feel that he'll bother to help put food on my table when the economy tanks?
Again - I understand what you're saying. What you're describing is somewhat akin to 'life-experience insurance', wherein you feel confident and at peace that life will work out because someone's looking out for you.
I just don't buy that there is an all-powerful, all-knowing entity that actually is
looking out for you. Perhaps there is something to playing pretend so that you don't have to worry yourself to death. But I tend to think better of humanity and think we can learn to deal with the unknowable and uncontrollable without having to make up imaginary friends.