by Kenneth Harper Finton ©2014
Those who believe that a personal God has a special will – a will greater than our own – think that God can hear their prayers and possibly be made to care enough about the situation enough to give them an answer.
Those who see no evidence at all that prayers are answered say, “No, the only people who care are those in your individual circle. God, if there is such a thing, has nothing to do with it.”
Then there are those in the middle who are not positive deep within that there is a divine being with a will for humanity. Just in case there is, they subscribe to a moral code written by some religion of combination of religions.
Prayer is interpreted differently by all the above.
Some see prayer as kneeling down beside the bed or before some vivid image. They fold and clasp their hands and give thanks or asking for blessings. Some make a habit of holding hands around the table as reciting some rote blessing that passes through us like an ineffective TV commercial.
But it this really prayer?
noun: prayer; plural noun: prayers
- a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.”I’ll say a prayer for him”
- a religious service, especially a regular one, at which people gather in order to pray together.”500 people were detained as they attended Friday prayers”
- an earnest hope or wish.”it is our prayer that the current progress on human rights will be sustained”
Of all those definitions, I like the third the best: an earnest hope or wish. There is something about hope that foretells and defines the future. There is something about thanks that defines and appreciates the present.
Appreciating the present is the key ingredient of happiness.
The way be can do this is to take a small break in our routine and consciously be thankful for those good things that brought us to this moment and respectful to the bad things that also brought us to this moment.
Our present contains all the good things that have happened as well as the bad. Nature provides the bad things to keep us moving and progressing. What matters is the nature of the movement forward. Focusing on the good we want to accomplish will keep us on a chipper and more productive path.
These efforts need not public, as they are in essence a private thing. Prayer does not even have to be called prayer to be effective. Call it meditation … call is a cigarette break … call it a pause to reflect … call it reevaluation. It is all the same thing if the objective is to bring good will and happiness into the future.
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