Monday, September 14, 2015

Prayer Works.

Does Prayer Work?

Yes. Each and every time. If it is sincere, a cry from the heart, then yes, prayer works. I promise you.

(Cue hordes of scoffing atheists jumping on my back and wrestling me to the ground for the sheer ridiculousness of that statement…. I look around. Oh, they’ve gone? So, I’ll get up, dust myself off, and repeat:)

Prayer works. Each and every time.
I’ll tell you why.
Prayer is not about what you pray for.
Prayer is about you.
Prayer is not about who you pray to.
It is about the prayer itself.
Prayer is about what happens to you when you pray.
Prayer is not about changing the world, to get the outcome you want.
Prayer is about changing you.
Prayer is about making you strong enough to bear the outcome, if it is not to your liking, not the thing you prayed for.
If the outcome is to your liking, prayer works because the relief and sheer gratitude you feel will strengthen you and give you faith for the next time you need to pray.
And let’s admit it: most of us pray only in desperate situations. When someone we love is ill, or a child we know might be dying, or  you’re in a plane that has been hijacked, or you see distressing photos of refugees in a boat on the Mediterranean – that’s when people pray -- often, even,  people who don’t believe in God.
People pray when they have no more control over the outcome of a situation. We, especially those who live in the West, are greatly enamoured with the word “empowerment”. But sometimes we have no power, and something bad is looming, and there’s nothing at all we can do to change it.
That’s when we have to surrender. Admit we are helpless. Throw up our arms in a heartfelt plea: Help me, Lord!
Prayer is the admission that you are helpless. It’s a good admission.
So pray.

The harder you pray, the better it is for you.
Sometimes, the person you are praying for “feels” your prayer, deep inside, and it gives that person strength, too, and so prayer works for others as well. A praying person helps those around him or her. Just like a panicked person spreads panic, a praying person  spreads peace, and peace helps soothe others in distress. It’s contagious.
It doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or not.
It doesn’t matter whether there IS a God, or gods, or not. That’s irrelevant, actually.
The problem is that YOU are in distress, whether it is for your own sake or for someone else.
Help is needed. That distress does no-one any good, neither you or the person who needs help. So pray.
It doesn’t matter if you pray in the Christian way, or the Hindu way, or the Muslim way, or the Jewish way.
If you are in trouble, simply pray.
I have prayed for over 40 years. In good times and bad, I’ve prayed.

It has always worked. Each and every time.