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Why Bother to Pray?

person with hands open in prayer
Why do we even bother to pray?
At a time such as this
when we cannot ignore that we are, in fact,
surrounded by darkness:
A deadly virus, a world on fire, wars raging, gunshots in the streets,
so many divisions among our human siblings.
We walk in fear, in doubt, in uncertainty,
so why do we even bother to pray?
 
Perhaps it is not "belief" we are after
but a deep knowing
an ability to release
an ancient agreement written into our bones and breath
that we were somehow in this
with God.
No, we are not required to believe
but we are meant to wrestle
with our vulnerability, implying a certain degree of trust.
If not, why do we even bother to pray?
 
If our eyes were always open
If our lips could only speak words of praise
Would that ever truly be enough?
(If it were enough, than perhaps we could say:
This is why we bother to pray)
 
We could actively choose to make it harder for God
because no one ever said this was a one-way street.
Our yearnings are not merely requests:
They are deep seated pleas
They are devotional hymns
They are born of both desperation and love.
We are not made up of laundry lists nor flights of fancy
nor vanilla-flavored “let it be's.”
 
Oh, God of darkness,
God of fear and isolation,
Please remember to walk with us in our eternal uncertainty,
in our abject terror that we simply do not, cannot know
what comes next.
Please remember that you are also the God of compassion, our protector, our shield,
The creator of this Earth and all its bounty, including us,
and maybe we can agree to live in this liminality
of both/and
and perhaps, together,
we can decide that this is why we bother to pray.

 

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