Some people might say that it is foolish to pray because they are uncertain that there is a God while others pray, but ask for imprudent treasures or for outcomes of irrational requests. So, is it foolish to pray?
A close friend of mines offered this simple proposal: Pray to your god and if he doesn’t exist, what have you lost? If there is a god, then you at least have become aware that you are not in charge. The practice of praying has given me the opportunity to become humble and if there is a god, he sees this in my character.
Praying has taken on a different mindset for me. I do believe in a power greater than me and I do call the power God. I used to pray for everything from winning the lottery to achieving material gain in life. I prayed for God to heal my broken heart and hated Him when my pain continued. It seemed as though my prayers were rarely answered.
In my youth, I had found great solace in praying before the statues of the Virgin Mary and the Sacred Heart. With flickering candles before me, I was sure that I was sending up some perfect requests that were heard by my God who dropped everything to answer me. One day when my pain was great after finding out about some abuse of my child, I stopped by the Catholic Church on my way down the highway. This day at the doors of the church, I was stopped dead in my tracks: the doors were locked! What could this mean? I was outraged and hated that God had let this happen to me. My anger imprisoned my heart for a long time.
In the following months, I found some friends who practice spirituality and they lead me to find the right way to pray which is very simple. I ask God for guidance in the morning and thank Him at night. I also pray for the health, happiness and well-being of my friends and my enemies. I thank God for being with those I love because I am reminded of the Footprints Prayer. My God doesn’t desert me; He carries me.
When a member of my family is ill or I am called upon to pray for someone’s recovery, I try to remember that I don’t know God’s path for that person. I thank God for carrying them through this trying time and rest knowing that He makes all things right in the world. Is this a foolish practice? I look at it this way: if there really is a god, He does know better than I do and if there is no god, I am still powerless to change another’s health or most circumstances of their problems.
This practice of praying is not foolish for me. Praying is an art… pure and simple. Why ask for specific help when I am not sure what the Universe has in store for the other people around me? I give loving thanks because that person has brought joy to me or to the world. My God guides me to a place of serenity as I surrender to His will. The last part of the well-known Serenity Prayer says that, “…He will make all things right when I surrender to His will…”
Learning to believe in a greater power takes all the foolishness out of my praying. I have heard it said that today people are afraid to mention God, and I find that rather sad, but it can begin within each heart. When I do believe and pray, I am reinforcing my own belief. Maybe my neighbors will see how my God takes care of my biggest problems without my having to go insane. It is the little prayers of thanksgiving that keep my God in my heart.
I have yet to face many of life’s problems. I still have my spouse and my children who are all healthy. There may come a time in my life when my God has to carry me through the devastation of some loss.
Believing in my God makes me think that only a fool wouldn’t pray; however, that is each individual’s choice. Praying makes me feel better when I do it the right way. Please and thank you is my mantra and that gets me through the darkest days and the happiest ones as well.
If praying seems foolish to you, give it time! It is never too late to find a way to pray.