Learning to Pray

I’ve never been what anyone would consider a “religious” person. I basically subscribe to my own brand of spirituality. A little bit Catholic, a little bit Baptist, a little bit Buddhist, a little bit Rasta, a little bit of all the best of them. I know that’s not the way religion is supposed to work, but the concept of one true religion is one I cannot grasp. I can grasp God, and Jesus, and Muhammad, Buddha, Haile Selassie I, Ghandi, etc., but I just cannot fathom how there is only one religion. I can grasp one God, but not one true religion, because they are all so similar and I’ve met plenty of religious people who are basically just hypocritical pieces of shit so you’ll have to forgive my skepticism. But the one thing they all have in common is prayer. All religions pray. They may pray differently, to different entities, but they all pray, or wish, or send vibes, or thoughts out into the great unknown looking for answers or help or miracles. And I’m not against any of that. I never was one for daily prayer. Most of the prayers I recall saying, aside from the ones I was forced to memorize and say during my years in Catholic school, have always been prayers of thanks. Like, thank you God, for not letting that car hit me. Thank you, God, for another period. Thank you, God, for getting me home safely. I’ve rarely talked to God or the Universe or Jesus or the Saints or the moon on a regular basis. Until lately. Lately, I find myself praying all the time or talking to God or talking to the universe or talking to the moon or praying to the saints (St. Jude in particular). I used to be in my own head a lot. A daydreamer. I could day dream up anything. My perfect house. My perfect car. My perfect life. My perfect man. I had pretty perfect kids so I never had to dream that up, but I was always somewhere else in my head. I was at the beach or on a mountain or in the middle of the ocean on a boat or on a stage or in a coat closet or at a bar high in the sky. I was never here in the now. At least not in my head. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I actually like that little dreamland in my mind, but lately, I’ve had less daydreams and have found myself more in the middle of conversations with one or all of the above mentioned. I wake up praying. I pray in the middle of the day. In the shower. While eating breakfast. On the toilet (which may or may not be sacrilegious). Before bed. When I wake up in the middle of the night. I’m always praying. At first, it was for Joe and Joe alone. Now it’s for Joe and anyone I’ve encountered near those moments who may need it. Ever since the whole James thing, I’ve found myself praying for him almost as much as I pray for Joe and I don’t even know why. At first I thought I was doing it for me. I thought if I prayed for him, I would be able to get rid of the anger that was eating me inside. But then I realized, it’s not anger at all. It was a genuine hurt. His actions and his words hurt my heart. And then someone said, “people who don’t care, don’t behave like that.” and then I hurt even more that I caused him hurt in some way. So then I started praying for him to heal however he needed to and then my window and headlight got busted. Maybe that was what he needed to heal. Maybe, despite the inconvenience of it all, that was an answered prayer. So I started praying even harder for him. I don’t know if it’s working. I don’t know if he will find peace. I have been having a hard time finding it, but I do believe prayer works. And I feel like I finally know how to pray. I guess praying is like writing. There really are no right or wrong ways to do it. You just do it the way it makes sense to you and it doesn’t really matter because it’s between you and whoever you’re writing for or praying to anyway. I know I have a long way to go before I can even begin to classify myself as religious and I’m ok with that. I feel too imperfect to be religious. There’s too much pressure that comes with religion. But I feel closer to my maker knowing that I can talk and genuinely feel like someone or something is listening and is on my side.

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