I think about prayer daily. Funny, right? I wonder if I am doing it correctly or if there is a trick or recipe for a good one. I worry about upsetting God with the silly, selfish, and the mundane. But at the end of the day, I know it doesn’t matter how I pray or what I pray about. It is the action itself that soothes.
Being raised Roman Catholic; there are many rites, rituals, dos and don’ts. Although I do go to church from time to time, I would not say I am a “hardcore” Catholic or devout. Most of what I learned in Catholic school has been burned from my withered brain by the incessant hammering of those that love to say how much they hate religion and that any religion is the root of all of man’s troubles. I certainly understand that throughout the world’s history, wars based on religious differences fill our history books, have altered our lives and continue to do so. But I digress…
Prayer is not religion. I don’t think it matters how you pray, it just matters that you do. Well, it matters that I do. There were many years in my life where I had forgotten about prayer. Certainly mentioning prayer at an art college didn’t make you many friends. As I’ve aged though I’ve found that the simple act of taking the time to be grateful, compassionate, empathetic, self-less, (or just on my knees a sobbing wreck) frees my mind of worry and strife. In my prayer I acknowledge that I am powerless over some things, which in turn reminds me that I am human, fallible yes, but also capable of great love.
To say that sometimes prayer is like magic sounds a bit cliché and actually a bit dangerous…but sometimes it does seem miraculous. Through prayer I let go of my control and let the universe do it’s work. I might even go so far as to say that many of my prayers have been answered. I’m only given what God believes I can take.
Chanting “Om” in yoga isn’t an insult to Catholicism, it is a sound that opens me to prayer. Saying the Lords Prayer isn’t going to end a war but it sure makes my day less frightening. I am not my car (well, truck in my case), I am not my wage, I am not my outfit or even my face. My body is full of spirit- or energy if you like. To ignore it has always been unwise for it is part of me. My 80 year-old Uncle feels we are living in an age of such narcissism that it reminds him of the fall of the Roman Empire. Prayer is simply a reminder of what is good, kind and loving in this world. Works for me.