The first thing I do every morning and the last thing I do every night is pray. It is a rote prayer, and sometimes I find myself laying in bed repeating it over and over and over – I’m not really sure I’m always aware that I’m doing it, to be totally honest. Many times I’ve even wondered if I can actually call it “praying.”
But I think I can. For me, this kind of prayer is like a soft-worn spot on a child’s blanket, that place they mindlessly rub against their cheek each night as they go to sleep. I imagine they do it because it provides some sort of comfort, a self-soothing technique that becomes ingrained in their bedtime routine. And if I think about it, that’s what my prayer times are like for me: they quiet my mind at night and prepare my mind in the morning.
There’s more to it that that though, isn’t there? I’m just not sure what it is. Like most things in my belief system, I take prayer on faith. And let me be clear: I don’t have a problem with this. I don’t require answers for everything (though I have certainly spent many sleepless nights crying for them), nor do I think we would be capable of understanding all the answers if we had them. So I will continue to pray because I am taught that it is right and good to do; I just know that it is more powerful than I understand.
I don’t want to be a desperation prayer – you know, the girl that begs and promises and pleads for some outcome that, at least to her way of thinking, seems right. I’ve done that. It doesn’t work. If it did I would be skinny and have three kids by now, and my parents would be here to see them grow. None of those things seem like particularly selfish things to ask for, but I’m beginning to suspect that I’m asking for the wrong things. Or maybe I shouldn’t be asking for “things” at all.
There’s a saying: Did you think to pray? And for me, 99 times out of 100, the answer is a regretful “No.” I wonder why that is? I wonder why the ritual of morning and evening prayers hasn’t translated into something more mindful and powerful? Why don’t I think to pray, before the prayer becomes yet another plea?
This business of belief… it’s a tricky thing. I’m just glad there is grace enough to usher us through the confusion of it all.