The other day José and I had an interesting discussion about prayer. He was wondering why people go around asking for prayers while others keep offering to pray for someone else. He found this meaningless. Since I do both (only with some people) I started to think about it. Why pray at all?
Praying for myself
When I pray for myself, I pray for strength, for peace and most of all for acceptance of whatever situation comes my way. I also pray that should remain authentic and honest in my interactions and responses to people and situations.
I draw prayer round me like a dark protective wall, withdraw inside it as one might into a convent cell and then step outside again, calmer and stronger and more collected again. – Etty Hillesum
I think that prayer is a way to get people to focus positive attention on a situation so that it is resolved in the best possible way. But more importantly that we realize what the best possible way is!
Praying for others
If I ask you to pray for me, I am asking you to journey with me as I try to find a solution to a problem or make peace with a situation. Similarly, when I offer to pray for you, I’m offering to accompany you on your journey through a situation you are facing.
If neither of us has a predetermined notion of what we want as a result of this prayer, except peace of mind, then we’re fine.
In the last few months, I’ve been asking a young friend of mine to pray for me. When I ask him what he prays, he responds, “All is well”. While he might not have his grammar in place, I do appreciate the prayer. What can be better than to ask God to be in charge and to be assured that all is well? It reminds me of that famous hymn, the lyrics of which go like this: Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul.
Pray, but do
All praying requires that you do your part. I can’t ask you to pray for me to pass an exam I haven’t studied for! I love this story that illustrates this point.
A disciple came riding on his camel to the tent of his Sufi Master. He dismounted and walked right into the tent, bowed low and said, “So great is my trust in God that I have left my camel outside untied, convinced that God protects the interests of those who love him.”
“Go tie your camel, you fool!” said the Master. “God cannot be bothered doing for you what you are perfectly capable of doing for yourself.”
Source: Prayer of the Frog by Anthony de Mello
I’m sure many of you pray. If you do, share with me your reasons. I’d love to hear your reasons if you don’t either.
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I used to pray diligently until I lost my mother. My faith in prayers just vanished. After I became a mother, I started praying again for my child. I think I find solace in the feeling that my words are being heard by someone up there.
I loved your post regarding why we pray. Praying indeed gives an inner unknown strength that all was well, all is well and all will be fine.
I so loved this one Corinne. “Prayer is a way to get people to focus positive attention on a situation so that it is resolved in the best possible way. But more importantly that we realize what the best possible way is!” This sums it up so well… This is all there is to it. Whether you call yourself religious /spiritual or not. This is all there is to it. Thanks for sharing.
As someone who strongly believes in the power of prayer I loved your post. Whether one believes in God or not, prayer is a way of putting positive/supportive/healing vibes out into the universe. Even as a pragmatist I see value in that and derive peace of mind from it.
Terri Webster Schrandt
As a Christian, I pray frequently, but could pray more Corrinne. Love that parable, and so true. Like you I pray for strength and peace for myself but also pray to thank the Lord for the little things in my life, which lead to those requests. Hope all is well with you!
I enjoyed the parable, Corinne. So true. As a Christian, I pray at intervals throughout the day. I couldn’t get through the day if I didn’t, and I know I wouldn’t have survived on several occasions if I hadn’t had people praying for me. I don’t know how people live without God. Some amazing things to be thankful for this week!
I believe in the power of prayers and cant imagine my life without it. I find comfort and strength in prayers. I have never asked anyone to pray for me but I do pray for others. Loved the thoughts shared in this post and the story too!
Esha M Dutta
I feel ‘connected’ to the Universe when I pray, and often to share my burden of angst or pain or fear which I may not be able to express with another individual. I find the act of praying very calming to the soul.
I love the quote you shared, Corinne. I hadn’t heard it before. I do believe in the power of prayer – be it to God or to a higher power or the Universe. For me, the connection has always been as one to a dear friend, someone I can share my innermost thoughts and feelings and turmoil with. Is it answered? Is someone up there listening to us and helping us? I think that isn’t important. What prayer does is help us lighten our burndens and sometimes find solutions just because we’ve found that calm where previously there was turmoil.
I don’t pray. I guess it was just never part of my upbringing. But I do like your reasons for doing so. I do like the serenity prayer and remind myself of it from time to time.
I’d say why not pray? If we remember God when the chips are down why can’t we remember him when we are happy? I pray every day though not in any ritualistic manner. The days I don’t say my silent prayer, I feel something is missing. But I do know that no matter what I have a special insurance policy from Him.