I think it’s safe to suggest that all of us have had some exposure to prayer.
For me, prayer seemed like a responsibility or a chore as I grew up. Maybe it’s was something that your parents made you do as part of going to church or temple. At least for me, prayer was highly formalized, intimidating and a little scary. The more we formalize anything, the less personal and valuable it becomes.
Something happens as we get older. We learn, we try, we experiment, we succeed, we make mistakes, we gain wisdom from our own experiences and the experiences of others and we change.
For me, one of the greatest lessons I have learned is that I can not control the flow of life, that there is “something” in this universe more powerful than me. And not just me, but “ME”, the collective me. There is “something” more powerful than us.
For me, prayer helps remind me that our universe and our being aren’t limited to what we can see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Our experience in this world goes beyond the 5 senses and includes a faith in what can’t be seen, heard, touched, tasted, smelled or even explained with logic, formulas or science.
I believe that there is some “power”, a “force” a “spirit of the universe” a “God”, behind the process that became today. For me faith is the believe in something I can not prove, but that offers a calm acceptance of the process. There is peace in faith.
If we can look at prayer for what it is, a connection with a “power greater than ourselves”, it loses much of its unpleasant side. Prayer becomes something that we do for ourselves, and whatever we do to make our own lives better and richer ends up helping all of the people with whom we share our lives.
For me, Prayer helps put to rest things that need to be put to rest, such as resentment and anger, and it helps to make other parts of myself such as peace and compassion, and acceptance much stronger.
Prayer doesn’t have to be formalized. It doesn’t have to be done on our knees in a darkened room, some of my best prayers have happened on long bike ride or on long drive with the music off and the windows wide open. My prayers tend to be more like conversations, and I try very hard to listen for answers.
If you want to do something nice for yourself today, try a little prayer. A sincere little prayer in which you talk about the things that really matter to you, and about which you won’t have any preconceived notions of what should happen. The more you talk things over with a “higher power”, the less those things will bug you as you travel life’s journey of acceptance, loving kindness and forgiveness.
Enjoy a mindful pause.