About 7 or 8 years ago, I was having trouble installing some design software that I had just bought, and I discovered that it was incompatible with the hard drive I had installed. I did some Google searching, and soon made things much, much worse.
I don’t remember all the steps I took, but I ended up deleting my Master Boot Record (that’s very, very bad), and my computer was “bricked” (a tech term meaning the device has been rendered as useful as a brick).
After that prayer, a simple thought came to me: “why don’t you try to understand the problem?”
I discovered an underlying lazy desire for it to “just be fixed already,” a desire that was driving me to try every solution I came across. Pushing that aside, I began to examine the real problem instead, to see what specifically was wrong.
To my surprise, I was able to restore my master boot record, “un-brick” my computer, and even install my design software all within thirty minutes of taking this approach.
During software development, I’ve used prayer countless times to ask for help solving a problem. Sometimes, a problem has been so difficult it has literally brought me to tears. Any time I encounter difficulties during the course of my work now, I try to remember to pray, as I’ve noticed things become much easier when I do.
When faced with a particularly stubborn bug that I was trying to fix, I prayed for help, and a new idea came to me: “ask someone for help.” This not only helped me solve my problem quickly, but showed me how strong and useful the software development community can be.
In another case, I had a complex problem with many moving parts, and one part was not working. I prayed for help, and immediately saw that I could sidestep the problem by addressing it in another area.
This helped me solve me problem, and showed me that most times that I’m faced with an “insurmountable problem”, I can approach it from a different angle and get leverage. Sometimes though, all I could do was pray for help to not become despondent, and continue to trudge through the problem.
Through these experiences, I’ve seen that beyond just solving the problem, prayer often also brings a deeper understanding and helps me see the mechanisms that are at play.
As an added bonus, the approaches above have been just as helpful in understanding myself and developing spiritually, as solving problems. Not being lazy with self-observation, not jumping to conclusions, asking for help, and seeking understanding (not just solutions) have been instrumental in changing myself, and having better relationships with others.