I pray a lot. I am not bragging about it, I am just making a statement of fact. I pray every morning before I write this thought, and I pray every night before I go to bed. I pray when I hear sirens, and I pray when I read or hear about bad news. I take the prayer list we print in our Sunday bulletin and pray each name. I pray through the membership list. I pray at meals and meetings and any other kind of event that warrants it. I pray for you. And I pray for me. Why do I pray? I’m not always sure.

I think prayer helps people; it certainly helps me. It allows me to stop worrying about the moment I am in and focus on people or issues that matter to me or others. I don’t believe my prayers bring about miraculous healings, and I don’t think my prayers can stop the laws of nature. I can’t pray a hurricane away, like some TV preachers say they can. I can’t pray cancer out of a body and I can’t(and won’t) pray for someone into elected office. And in case you want to ask for me to pray for good weather, I can’t do that either. As one wise rabbi once told me, we are in sales, not management.

I pray for strength and courage in the midst of difficult times, but I don’t pray for stuff. I pray for hearts and minds to be changed, but I don’t pray for those I disagree with to be struck by lightning. I pray to be a better person – to be more patient – to not be judgmental – to listen more closely and speak less. I pray about things that I can control better if I had a little help from the Spirit; and even if I don’t. Sometimes, my prayers are just there to convince me that I can do something I am unsure of, or to help someone else find peace. 

Sometimes, I get on my knees, and other times, I pray in the car. Prayers aren’t complicated soliloquies, nor are they demands. They don’t have to use specific words or be any defined length; prayers are our own personal ways to tell God how grateful, or sorry, or lonely, or sad, or happy, or confused, or worried, or (….) we are. They might change the world, but are more likely to just change the one who is praying. That is enough for me. I’ll be praying for you. I hope you will pray for me.

Prayer – Gracious and patient God, hear our prayers this morning, and please, have mercy on us. Amen.

Today’s art is called “Prayer” by Angu Walters.