Category Archives: Spirituality

Why I Do Not Pray…

About a decade ago, when I first started blogging, my blogfather Joe Katzman did a thing called Sufi Wisdom at Winds of Change.  I thought it a good idea and did a spiritual post each weekend here at my blog.  Or, at least I tried to, and tried to take at least one day of the weekend off from blogging.

Today, I am going to try to resurrect that a bit, and share some thoughts on prayer with you.  Now, I don’t care if you call it prayer, meditation, or whatever:  so long as the goal is to appeal to a higher power, be it God or the energy of the Universe, then it is prayer.  What you are doing is asking an intercession on behalf of someone or something here in our reality.

In all respects, it does not matter if you are Christian, Muslim, Pagan, or other.  Prayer is powerful, and is intended to be powerful by bringing higher power to play in our lives.

So, have you stopped to think what you are doing?

Let us posit for the sake of argument that you are indeed asking a higher power to apply that power in our lives.  Let us further posit that you are granting that such a higher power knows more (or all), can see the effectively infinite outcomes of the possibilities that result from our choices and what can happen in life, and is willing to grant a gift of power towards a given outcome.  To provide a miracle if you will.

You want a miracle, a specific outcome.  Why?  That’s the first question to consider.  Why do you want that specific outcome?  Is it because it is the best for you, as you see it?  Is it because it is the best for anyone else involved, as you see it?

All too often, what we want is purely selfish.  It is not what is best for anyone else, it is what we see as best for us.  We want someone to live, because we want them in our lives.  We want an object, because having it means status or other pleasure.  We want the specific outcome prayed for because it gains us something for ourselves, not for another.

Second, if you do posit that higher powers can and do have that power and the wisdom to use it, then you also are accepting that our power and wisdom is limited.  Therefore, who the heck are you to be telling that higher power what is right?  Does the phrase ‘Place not limits on the Lord thine God’ ring a bell?

Our knowledge of what is right and best for all, especially in the long term, is limited if not non-existent. What we think is the best thing for us can, in the long term, be that which destroys us.  What we think is the best for another has the potential to be a curse rather than a blessing.

By praying for a specific thing, a specific goal, we place limits on God.  We ask that our limited perceptions rule the day, and that we deny that higher wisdom and power the chance to work to the greater good.  Consider also that if we allow God the freedom to do what is right and best, we might get a lot more than we asked for in return.  It’s like a child demanding a small toy, when the parents were prepared to give them a chest full of toys.  You get what you ask for…

Yes, there is a lot more to this than I am going to go into here and now.  This comes from many years of thought, and some wonderful theological discussions with some amazing people.  For today, these are but some seeds, some food for thought for you.  And, a bit of a shock for people who don’t read all the way down to the end.

For I do indeed pray, but I choose not to pray for a specific outcome.  What I pray is very simple:  Let that which is right be.  I choose to not place limits, and to give that wisdom the respect and the freedom to do what is right and best.  What do you do?

Some Thoughts On Gay Marriage and Rights

Recently, a friend posted something on Facebook, which she prefaced by saying that she expected to lose friends on both ends of the political spectrum over what was to come.  Sadly, I suspect that she might, though those of us responding early clearly were supportive of her position.  That said, I expect I may lose readers and others by what I have to say on the subject.  I also expect I may gain some too.
Continue reading

A Prayer From An Earworm

This weekend, as a part of efforts to drive traffic to my pro page on Facebook, I was planting earworms and such on my personal page.  One of these was DOA, a song that most consider quite the earworm, and for good reason.

I can remember when the song came out, and that it generated some discussion if not controversy.  I vaguely remember some stuff about the sirens, and confusing people.  I remember discussion of if it was about kids driving fast (as some tried to claim), or if it was about an aircraft accident (which i thought it was, and the band said it was; or about a spacecraft accident, which was a bit of a daydream of mine).

To give some background, I was not expected to live because of allergies and such, and was constantly reminded of that and not to do anything that could undo all the good work being done to keep me alive (my mom was a touch over-protective, to be polite).  So, my take on the song was a bit different than most.  I both loved and hated the death imagery, as I thought constantly about dying and what it would mean, courtesy of all the reminders I got.  Yeah, I was goth long before there was goth and it became cool.

The thought of dying bothered me on many levels, from separation anxiety to the thought of all I would not get to do if I died.  Even then, I had a bucket list, though I didn’t think of it that way.  I just knew that I wanted to do a lot of things, from exploring girls to scaling mountains.  It was not a little list, let me assure you.

That’s why one line in that song really bothered me.  In it, the singer cries out “God in heaven, teach me how to die!”

Dying was easy, it was the easy way out, it was the thing to be avoided at all costs in my life (according to mom, at any rate).  It was what I wanted to avoid, because of all the things I wanted to do.  It was the thing that scared me.

To my mind then, and even more so now, that prayer, that call should not be teach me how to die, it should be “God in Heaven, teach me how to live!”

Teach me how to have the strength to hold on, to fight for life, to find a way to beat the odds and live.  Teach me how to make the most of what time I have, to do the most with it, and accomplish good things in my life.

I have never believed that I needed to call up on God to teach me how to die.  There are millions of way to die.  It will come, one way or another.

No, if I offered up a prayer for such, it was and would be “God in Heaven, give me the courage to die.”  Give me the courage to face death, to say “Come now Lady Death” and face it unflinching.  To stand before my enemies and to take as many with me as I can should that be the way I die.  To deal with the pain, of which there was so much in life, and not scream and cry at that, or the unfairness of it all (and trust me, I did think it most unfair to me or any like me).

Despite my thoughts on what awaits, I do not like the thought of dying to this day.  Death does not scare me as it once did, though my list still has a lot left to accomplish.  Death is but a door, and that which awaits I accept.  The process of dying is something I would just as soon skip if possible.  My hope, my prayer, is that I will have the courage to face it calmly, that it is not too painful and to cope if it is, to appreciate all that I have done in life, and face whatever comes unflinchingly.

Listening to the song this weekend reminded me of that, and of my early angst and thought.  I think it one worth sharing — for we do need to learn to live, and have courage in the face of death.