Answered Prayers

I've pretty much given up on the praying thing.  The fact is I just haven't had any luck with it.  I'm fairly certain I've been doing it right - I mean, I know not to pray for STUFF - it's not like I pray to win the lottery or anything.  Well, maybe I did once or twice... Okay, three times, tops...  The point is I knew better.  (But, hey, it was worth a shot.)

I've prayed for guidance; I've prayed for strength; I've prayed for the wisdom to know what to do; I've prayed to end suffering; I've prayed for my family and I've prayed for complete strangers.  The result?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.

Then I tried the old standard, "Dear God, I pray Your will be done."  Which, when you think about it, is kind of a strange way of saying 'que sera sera' with a religious twist.  Nature takes its course, an ethereal Uber-being gets the credit or the blame for whatever happens, and then we sit back and say, "It's God's will."   A very unsatisfactory explanation, if you ask me.  If God's going to do what God's going to do, why are we bothering to pray in the first place?  Perhaps, hoping to influence Him to give someone special consideration?  I tried that. It didn't work.

I'm not sure what I expected.  I wasn't waiting to hear God's booming voice coming down from Heaven (although, that would have been nice) and I didn't think I'd see a burning bush or parting seas, but I always held out hope there would be something. Some sign, or some feeling, or some sense of direction, or some change, or some mercy. There wasn't.

On the off chance prayers are only answered for schooled religious folk, I think I hold the proper credentials.  I was baptized, I went to Sunday school, I was confirmed, I attended church every Sunday.  I grew up believing what I was taught. But, now... now I'm not so sure.  There.  I said it.  I'm not so sure I believe it anymore.

Believing or not believing; it hasn't made a bit of difference.  (Which sort of speaks to my point.)  Life will continue to run its course as it always has.  I suppose when I'm older and worried about dying, I'll suddenly feel the need to believe in an afterlife.  That's how it always goes, isn't it?  We can't bear the thought that when it's over; it's over.  Out of fear and conceit we like to imagine we'll keep going in some form or another.  We even go so far as to entertain the fanciful notion there will be a heavenly reunion with our loved ones.  It's a nice thought - a thought that has, no doubt, brought great comfort to those who are grieving.  Maybe that's the value of it; the desire to believe provides consolation to the inconsolable.

I should probably be feeling a lot more distressed about the evaporation of my faith than I am.  But, mostly, I'm just disappointed - kind of like when I found out Santa Claus wasn't real.  Oh well.  On the bright side, I guess I don't ever have to worry about being turned into a pillar of salt.

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