What is prayer. If you look it up it a religious analogy to hope. Hope is a powerful thing as it keeps people going, moving onward thinking things may get better. It is the optimist’s fuel, or maybe the pessimist’s foil.
The experience of prayer for me is complex. At times it is joy and thanks, literally I feel good and say thankyou. I am beginning to take God on face value and have gotten to a stage where I just speak out loud and then listen. If you do not pray it may seem odd, odder still if you do not believe God exists. But I take Blaise Pascal’s Wager, you have a lot to gain from belief in God but little from no belief. Fortunately I was brought up in the Catholic tradition by a constant family and the seed of belief germinated in me. My first memory of an experience of God was in church when I was in my early teens. I felt a presence that was warm but confusing. It was like someone turned a warm heater on but it as hidden from me.
The earliest memory of love was of a teacher I had when I was about ten years old. I can still picture her face lovingly looking at me. At the time it was unnerving as it was a thing that I knew was magical but I did not begin to comprehend. The word solid comes to mind.
in my latter teenage years I started to go off the rails emotionally and turned to prayer for help. My prayer was by rote, with a healthy dose of youthful energy I thought smashing God with prayers desperately repeated would invoke a response. Over many years I have learnt that a gentle prayer from the heart, a simple loving comment is a much wiser option. I learnt this in prayer. I learnt from God.
It is those gentle answers in prayer that are like a soft touch on the cheek that have healed me more than any grand announcement. If you think of a friend who loves you it is the gentle loving comment that can cut through all the bullshit and move you in the right direction. I think now of people in my life with that gift, the gift of the loving comment that heal’s and moves.
I think it is a good time to talk about the quiet inner voice.