I'm not a God person or a Jesus person. I don't go to church. I don't pray. I don't find solace in a higher power or through the act of prayer. I've never felt that good things come from "leaving it in God's hands" or by requesting prayer warriors join me in sending good thoughts into the universe. It's not for lack of trying. As a kid, I went to church every week with my mom. I baptized the kids. I've read Bible verses and listened to others share their opinion on faith. I've knelt on the ground and tried to ask God for forgiveness and for hope. Unlike others, whom I have envied, God has not spoken to me. I have found no value in prayer. It has brought me no comfort. I would prefer to meditate, write, or talk things through with a friend. Rather than ask others to pray, I prefer to ask for help, to ask someone to listen, or to bear witness.
Like I said, this is not for lack of trying. I've wanted to find faith and I've wanted to be comforted. I have anxiety in general and, in particular, about death, so knowing I am going to be cradled in God's arms and enter the pearly gates sounds great! Finding strength in a prayer circle- sign me up! Except, we can't be who we are not, and so, I have accepted me for me and I have come to terms with the fact that organized religion and prayer is not for me.
Until today. Today, I started to pray.
Over the summer, I made a comment to a very wise woman (you know who you are; I'll keep your identity secret here since you are an introvert) about my annoyance with prayer warrior comments. She reminded me why people pray. She reminded me that anyone can pray, no matter your race, or religion or socio-economic status. She reminded me that when your cup is drained, and your turned out pockets turn up nothing, and your heart is broken you can still have hope and that hope can come in the form of prayer.
I woke up this morning and I prayed. Well, first I cried- a ton. And I turned to my community for support and to listen and to be heard. But, I also prayed. I pray for peace and I pray for love and I pray that dark days are not ahead. I pray that this wake up call mobilizes us to act and do so with vigor and with passion and intent. I ask all of you prayer warriors to get on your knees and do all you can to find it within your (bleeding liberal or otherwise) heart to forgive those who feel so angry and alone and alienated that they chose a candidate who openly hates others, a candidate who promised a wall to keep out those who look to our country for freedom and hope just as our families once did, a candidate who promotes violence against women; a candidate who intimidates and bullies; a candidate who promises things that I fear he might deliver. Today, my cup feels drained and I look for hope and so I pray. Perhaps this challenging (I really mean terrible) turn of events is the catalyst I needed in order to see that my faith is right in front of me.