Do you pray?
What come to mind when you think about prayer and praying? For many of us it will something along the lines of 'hands together, eyes closed'; a phrase familiar (to me at least) from hundreds of primary school assemblies. There are also countless illustrations of small children kneeling by bedsides, comforting images of innocence from a time before VTech and Nintendo.
These days I suspect the vast majority of parents never raise the subject of religion or faith unless forced into it by the tyranny of 'homework'. It's a commonly held myth that you stop having to do homework when you leave education, but it's simply not true; the second you have children of your own, you are doomed to have to try and remember at some point how quadratic equations work, or worse, French verb tenses. Most parents will be asked about pilgrimage as a part of the Ethics and Philosophy GCSE!
The only time prayer comes into it is when they come home with their marks and you pray you remembered it correctly!
However, most of us DO pray...we pray instinctively, all the time, whether we realise it or not...
"Please God, let them get good marks"
"Please God, let me pass my driving test"
"Please God, help me get some money"
"Please God, help me get a job"
"Please God, don't let it be serious..."
"Please God, let them recover..."
"Please God, help me find my car keys!"
And when it happens in our favour, how many of us offer up a heartfelt
"Thank you God!"
All the time, regardless of whether we know who we are praying to, we pray.
A prayer does not have to be formal, use fancy words, liturgy or ritual.
You do not have to 'signed up' to a specific faith or religion to pray. All you need is the thought of what you need. The clearer that thought, the more focused that thought, the better chance you have of it getting through...
Now this is the best bit about prayer. It seems to work.
Scientific studies have been done to try and prove that it could work, or not...sound a bit nuts? How can you 'prove' that something that requires faith, something like prayer, actually has a real and measurable effect?
When churchgoing volunteers prayed for coronary patients (who were completely unaware that they were being prayed for), they fared a bit better than those NOT being prayed for... More research is ongoing.
So my reasoning goes like this...
It cannot possibly do any harm, and might conceivably do some good, so we might as well give it a go!
Also, if those who did not know they were included improved, how much better could we fare if we DO know we are being prayed for!
If you do not believe or have faith in a God, then try directing your efforts at the energy of Nature, of our planet and see what happens.
I would love to hear from you; tell me what you prayed for, and what was the response, if any!
A prayer I offered up many years ago was answered in the most dramatic fashion, in a way I could never have dreamed of. I'll tell you another day though, it's late and I need to sleep.
Hands together, eyes closed...
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