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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Prayer

"Do you pray?" She asked knowing that I do not believe in supernatural entities like gods and disembodied spirits and heavenly beings.

"To whom?" I asked. "Or what?"

But, crazy as it sounds for someone whose belief system is without divine beings, I do pray. I do love and feel the love that unites me to all whom I love and those who love me, and to all who ever have or will love.  I can give invocations at meetings asking that the spirit of love and collaboration be with us. That the relationships among us all thrive and grow to connect us to all beings in the universe.

With family and fiends I sometimes say prayers of gratitude before meals or at special occasions. I invoke the spirit of love and gratitude that is within us all. I can say prayers and take full part in religious services at wedding and funerals. And when a person experiences loss, even the loss of death, I say "my thoughts and prayers" are with you.

I pray for the poor, for those treated badly, for those held back from achieving their potential, and for those who are brutalized. I am expressing my solidarity with the suffering. And I am condemning the tendency in all of us to dehumanize.

I pray for peace, the end of violence, justice, for the survival and happiness of myself, my friends, and all people. To pray simply means that I long for peace, justice, happiness and that I will do what I can to achieve them despite the obstacles.

To pray does not mean that I expect or even want a "deus ex machina," some sort of miracle by an outside force. I am not asking some divine power to intervene or make things all right. I am invoking no power but that in myself in union with my loved ones and all others. When we pray together, I believe we are committing ourselves to engage with each other to make what we are praying for to happen. That will be a miracle alright, a break in the pattern, a disruption in the natural routines, a reversal in human entropy. It is the miracle of human action. That is the higher power I invoke.

I sometimes strongly feel that higher power in human communion. Sometimes in solitary meditation and sometimes in social action. And when I do feel that power, I often say out of an old habit that I learned as a child in a Catholic Christian setting. Thank you, God, I love you.


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