The Power of Prayer (for the no-longer-religious)?

I was amending my goals list on my tracking site (food intake, exercise, mental health, etc.) and was about to put down “pray at least one time a day.” But I stopped, because it hit me: who exactly was I praying to, or what?

I’m looking for another job again. The first few ideas didn’t pan out, and one of the amended goals on my tracker was to apply to at least 1 new job a day. Right after that, I was about to put my “prayer goal” in.

I am not a big prayer person at all and haven’t ever been. I started losing my faith and becoming skeptical in Christianity before I was a teenager. So, I can definitely say I’m not religious, especially these days. I think the words ascribed to Jesus have value and I would love to have met him…but let’s just say looking at things historically has left me not only skeptical but burned out on religion of all kinds.

Usually at this point, someone will scoff and tell me that my life would be better if I believed in God and prayed. That I need to believe that all is well and God will take care of everything if I believe enough.

One–I can’t fake belief to save my life (which led to a lot of fights between my mom and I, fights that made no sense because one night she’s getting mad at me for my disbelief, and the next she’d be crying that the world sucks).

In short, I just don’t believe that believing is enough.

And I do believe in God, in a way. The best way I can sum it up is that I’m sure God exists, but the rest is gray area.

To elaborate: with the massive whole of creation, the universe and beyond that we still can’t fathom or conceive, I can’t help but feel God’s got quite a bit more to deal with in the ‘verse than just little-ol’-us here on Earth.

Now, there have been requests to pray for someone to get better, one of those chain prayers that pops up now and again on message boards or a family grapevine or Facebook. I’ll say a small one in that regard, a positive thought or hug notice. I’ve sent a few through blogs, also, because we all need good vibes.

But praying for something for myself? It’s hard to do, and I just don’t feel right doing it. And I’d feel a bit like a hypocrite.

Since I have a pretty big belief that God has a heckuva lot of work to do and doesn’t hang around just for humans on Earth, I don’t really send my prayers to God. A large part of me can’t help but feel like it’s human arrogance to assume that a divine entity in charge of the whole universe is going to focus on one species on one planet to work his/her/it’s mojo on.

You know, kinda like the Probe and the Humpback Whales from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home?:

Makes me wonder…but those are questions for another day.

But if I’m talking to the universe, is that still prayer?

I guess the bigger question is what do we expect to happen when we say “a prayer”? And what is a prayer?

Maybe that’s why I hesitated–I may well be throwing my thoughts out into the Ether (you know, kinda like verbal blogging) and trying to fit them together in my head.

I just wonder now what people expect from prayer, especially if they have a hard time believing in God (or one that takes such an interest in us).

I think I’ve prayed for myself a handful of times, and when I think on it, it’s like I was trying to figure out what to do, and verbalizing (or thinking super hard) on my questions and what was coming. Most of the time it was work related, as in praying that I find a new job. I wasn’t praying for the phone to ring and the person ready to interview me–that only happens in comedies. I was “praying” to have some kind of way to put the pieces together.

I think it was more of a pep-talk than a prayer, but through a third party. I wanted to not make a fool of myself and do the best I could in interviews or basic conversation. I guess I was saying it to the universe after all and wondering at the response.

Maybe it was a way to articulate my goals, throw them out there and let me hear them with my ears instead of my head. That way I can finalize them and make my thoughts succinct and clear.

My head is full of noise, even at the best of times.

So, a shout-out to the universe at times, and a whisper at others. That’s the best I’ve got regarding “prayer.” Do I think some mystical hand is going to come down and straighten things out for me, and takes a personal interest in me? No.

Do I think the universe will re-arrange itself to do what I need for my own life? Heck no.

Do I think verbalizing my concerns, hopes, and fears, and taking time to reflect on them and what I want to happen will help me rearrange things myself?…


I have no answers, always the questions. And I’ll work on my focus so maybe one day, the universe will slap me upside the head.

Or that’ll be the dog whacking me with a frisbee because I’ve been pondering too long and need to go out and get her exercised.

Answers do come in strange ways, I suppose.

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