I can’t keep quiet
I outed myself this week, on Facebook, as a non-pray-er. This came as a surprise, as I knew it would to many people I had known for a long time. I grew up in a traditional (and conservative) church, and have been a very authentic and passionate Christian. But that has changed, but I had not really told many people yet. This blog is, however, about the non-prayer bit, not the Christian-no-more bit – that might come later.
In terms of prayer, even as a Christian I never subscribed to the ‘moving the hand of God’ version of prayer nor the ‘asking God to bring-out-the-sun-for-the-Church-picnic type prayers. I could see no sense in asking God to bring out the sun in New Zealand, when he didn’t seem to bring the rain for the droughts in Africa. This wasn’t necessarily cos I didn’t think he couldn't, just that he didn't. It just wasn’t the way he worked, for whatever reason. And asking God to intervene in the behaviour of others seems closer to witchcraft than God-craft.
Instead I believed prayer to be the transformational gift to the believer – more about tapping into some spiritual force to change the one who was pray-ing. (OK...yes, I believed in the Force!) I did not want God to change – I wanted God to be unchangeable, I wanted God to change me. What did I know about moving the hand of the ever present, omnipotent, ageless God? What I needed, and what I often asked for was wisdom and courage, wisdom to know how to act, and courage to do it. I thought that the time spent thinking about, talking to, meditating on this higher being – would transform me, help me walk more humanely, more… I guess more godly.
I realised again this week that I missed the subject experience of communion, hope and solace of prayer; the constant conversation with someone ‘out there’ who might be listening. A being with higher thoughts than mine, with better perspective and understanding than me; superior love and wisdom. It’s been two years since I found myself in a conscience sans a creator, and prayer to no-one does seem rather futile. I know I’m listening, and I have been known to talk to myself, but y’know, I’m not going to give myself superior wisdom. However, it is a fine way to process your thoughts – nothing like a good walk in the rain, or the sun, and chat to God.
After a great conversation with two of my besties about Trump, and religion, abortion, women’s right and myriad other things, I also realised I could still pray. To be fair, I haven’t changed in many ways – I am still passionate and authentic in my way of being. My approach would still be the same. I still wouldn’t be asking some divine being to change the world, or my environment or others. I will still be asking for those same things; for wisdom to know how to act and courage to do it. I can, and should still meditate on these higher things, on what it means to walk more humanely - in love, respect and honour of my fellow man; a truly godly endeavour.