Prayer and Me

January 21, 2007

I don’t pray anymore. I can’t remember the exact year that I stopped praying. I’m going to guess it was sometime around the end of sophomore year and the beginning of junior year. That was quite a time in my life for drastic change. Change I don’t even realize happened.

But I don’t pray anymore. I used to pray every night before I went to bed. Not in the “kneel and clasp hands at bedside” sort of way. No, just before I nodded off to sleep, my head firmly resting on my pillow, I would utter a supplication to God. I didn’t pray right. I’ll tell you that. I don’t know where I ever learned how to pray. Or if I even ever did. I guess I probably did at CCD (training camp for young Catholics). But I don’t imagine they would have taught me a useful form of prayer.

I wish I could remember what my prayer was. After a few years of disuse, I can’t remember the exact form it took. All I remember is that it had a very lyrical quality to it. Very poetic. Starting of with, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallow be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (the Our Father. Actually a recent addition to my prayer list. But I’d read in the Bible, when I went on my Bible reading spree, that all prayers should start with that. So, being a good Catholic, I listened.)

Then the prayer went on something to the effect of:

God, please bless mom, dad, Katie, Jon, grandma and grandpa Pyle, grandma Darmon, and all my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Please bless all of my friends and all of my acquaintances. Please bless [and then this would go on and on for quite a while, as I added someone to the list every time I thought of them. They could be anyone from my 5th grade teacher, who had severe health problems, to a random person they asked us to pray for in Church. The list just kept growing].

I would end with a little prayer for whatever it was that I might have wanted at the moment: snow, off from school, a Super Nintendo, whatever.

And so I prayed every night before I went to bed. Until I realized that I didn’t put any heart into my prayer. It might as well have been the Pledge of Allegiance before school. Constant rote repetition made it pointless. So I dropped it.

That same year, I also realized that maybe Catholicism wasn’t the one and only true religion in the world. I stumbled upon Eastern religions after a long trek through the lands of Humanism and New Agism.

And here I am today. I still pray. I know, I just said I don’t pray. No, I don’t pray in the same way I used to. Now I meditate. Meditation is a sort of prayer to the Absolute in all of us. To our higher selves. A opening of ourselves to something greater.

I still miss those days that I prayed. When I really thought that maybe it would snow if I just pleaded hard enough. That maybe all those sick people would become healthy if I just held them in my thoughts.

Funny how I used to think.

I wonder what else I’ll give up in this trip from birth to death.

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One Response to “Prayer and Me”

  1. Dave in the West said

    That was a real sentimental journey back to the past, man. I remember that conversation we had about how I had “proved” that god doesn’t exist, then I just kinda gave up because I realized that I had no point. And that I was pissed at PJ… man… those were the days. Now the only thing that concerns me anymore is work. I need more women in my life, damnit.

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