One of the nice things about Facebook is being able to support friends who are not near. One of the ways of doing this is offering up prayers when someone is sick or having a rough time. I do this quite often. Those that know me might be saying "But Doug... you aren't religious and I don't even think you believe in God... so why are you offering up prayers?". Number one... yes I am religious, just not in the traditional sense, and number two... that's a great question, that I was just thinking about this morning, and thus why I'm writing this. Why do I offer up prayers? Because I think the person on the receiving end needs to know they are loved and thought of. That's the healing power. Do I believe my prayer is being transmitted to some omnipotent being, being received, and then transmitted via some "magical power" back down to the person in need? Absolutely not. That's why I think verbalizing it is important and why I think Facebook is fantastic. I can pray all I want for someone, but unless they know I'm doing it, I personally feel it has the same power as a person at home watching television that thinks they have ANY influence on the outcome of a sports event... which is ZERO.
Ok, I'm probably gonna piss off a few of my friends and family, but this is MY blog, and just a thought I had this morning. I totally believe in the power of prayer, just not in the traditional way most religious people do. Self talk is one of the greatest healing powers there is. I know someone is going to say to me "But... so and so had cancer and we prayed for them and they got well". That's AWESOME! Unfortunately, I think there are the same number of counteracting stories. "We prayed and God didn't hear our prayers... it must have been their time to go". A completely human way to rationalize and deal with a painful experience.
I've had many experiences where prayer helped me. Knowing that my family who was miles away was being supportive of me in times of need was a tremendous help. I didn't feel alone. Have I had those overwhelming tingly feelings when I've been overcome by some sort of "spirit"? Absolutely! The body is kind of awesome that way. It's usually in times of peace and clarity. It's helped me make several important decisions in my life. Do I believe it's some power being transmitted through space to my body? I still have a tough time dealing with the science of that. It's definitely my body reacting to some chemical change that is produced when I'm in these moments of clarity. So I take advantage of the signal.
I continue to pray for friends and family (and let them know so). I don't pray for "The President" or world situations. I have absolutely no control over those events, other than how I respond to them. I also selfishly pray for myself a lot. Not for worldly goods or for situations to turn out how I want, but mostly for acceptance and strength to deal with whatever comes my way. If I'm praying for a situation to turn out a particular way then I might just be setting myself up for failure and disappointment.
I still find myself (from years of doing it growing up) reciting this prayer when asked to give the dinner prayer around my family:
"Bless this food that it my strengthen and nourish our bodies"...
All while sitting in front of a plate of something with a large amount of cheese on it. Nothing is gonna nourish my body no matter how long I pray about it. What is important is saying something like
"And thank you for bringing us all together to feel each other's love and enjoy each other's company"
Now that's a cool message that you otherwise probably wouldn't say directly to everyone, but seems somehow easier via a prayer.
Ok... done... prayers your way (in other words... I'm thinking about you and care about you).