I am not a person who prays, though I have sometimes prayed to be able to pray. Not really. I suppose, on the good side, prayer is a kind of meditation, an act of surrender to a higher power, a display of humility and faith, to recite your deepest wishes and needs out loud to a deity that may or may not be listening. Perhaps prayer is also an act of arrogance, to suppose your humble personal request to God, one of a billion the deity gets every minute, will be heard and acted upon by the Creator of the Universe. I guess prayer is primarily an act of participation in a community, everyone in the hall reciting prayers in unison, rising, being seated, kneeling, bowing as one. Whatever prayer is, I am not drawn to it. If I did pray, my bedtime prayer last night might have gone like this:
O, Eternally busy one, please hear my humble prayer. Grant me the serenity not to wake up with acid in my stomach thinking about harms done to me in the past by people I love and trusted. Give me the strength to bear these inadvertent injuries in the spirit they were given, that is, without a second thought. Grant me the ability never to think of these as burdens I must carry, let alone need to talk to anyone about. Others hurt by the same things that lodge painfully in my own spirit, spare them these acidic ruminations too. Let them dwell not on unfairness, thoughtlessness, unreasonable demands to get over hurtful things that can never be openly discussed. Let them see there is nothing to be gained by imagining peaceful resolutions are possible in all interpersonal conflicts.
Also, Unfailingly Merciful One, let not today’s angry mobs continue to be directed by the inhuman forces of deadly fascist/religious nationalism. These forces relentlessly inflame the passions of the aggrieved people they exploit and gain their violent allegiance — for their own mad ends. You know what happens every time You turn Your All-merciful Face away during such epochs. Just sayin’, God.