I believe in the power of prayer.
In April of 2015, I began praying - extensively and out loud.
I pray extensively because I have a lot that I am grateful for and a lot more that I desire.
I pray out loud as my hope is that the divine is only able to hear verbally expressed thoughts and hopes - not the rambling musings of what can often be a crude, petty and naive mind. It might be a long shot, but it suits me.
I remain uncertain if hopes expressed in my mind or out loud can affect the outside world, or rather move the divine to affect the outside world in the manner desired - my understanding of the traditional conception of prayer. I am not willing to say it is not so, but I am not certain of a relationship between the two.
Because of that, I do not depend on prayer alone to be the source of my blessings. Instead, I believe in it for what it does for me internally (clarity, mindfulness, openness, etc.), which then prompts external activity. (action, commitments, effort, etc.)
Here's what happens when I pray:
I pray to be a better human - more understanding, less wasteful, more active, less self-consumed, etc. In doing so, I am reminded of the ideals I hope to uphold, which I then strive for through action.
I pray for my nieces to be courageous, original, healthy and happy. I then work to show them things that excite them, and invest love and confidence into them. In time, I will teach them to be healthy and active.
I pray for the relationship between Stuart and Kelly. I then try to surprise them, make them laugh, support them through their endeavors and listen to them individually and together as they develop as spouses and parents. The hope is that this fosters further growth of an already incredibly positive and healthy relationship.
I pray for the health and well-being of my parents. I then strive to keep them active, assist as they utilize new technologies and expose them to contemporary ideas and people. (business, arts, etc.) The hope is they will remain hip and healthy for years to come - I think they are doing an outstanding job.
Side Note: This is likely the area that my actions serve the least. Traveling overseas does wonders for my father’s blood pressure.
Some prayers are for things outside of areas I can directly affect through my actions - a loved one having a successful operation, for example. While I remain uncertain if my prayers can have any impact on such situations, I pray for them anyway. I just like the process now.
Prayer, for me, stands as an opportunity to connect with the divine - whatever (and yes, if) it may be - in the only way I, as a human, know how - using language. The words hopefully have impact on how my world continues to prosper. If not, they at least serve as prompts to me to dig my hands back into myself and the world around me for further cultivation.
It has been a tremendously refreshing and rewarding practice.
"An Open Letter to a Dear Friend #2"
"The First Week"