“The bottom line is pray.”
Why does that one absolute phrase resonate with me so much? Yes, I’m a devout Catholic; yes, I don’t feel quite right when I miss one of my Sunday masses; yes, I say ‘Amen’ every night before I fall asleep; but I believe the most genuine prayers have also been said and whispered and screamed by those less religious.
See, we don’t all have to believe in the same God to pray. We don’t all have to follow this religion or that belief to pray. That’s the beauty of prayers; a diverse group of people can unite in a prayer, despite the existence of different faiths within that group, and still take away with them a unique and powerful experience from said act of prayer.
Even for atheists, those who don’t believe in God or any concept of a deity, in the face of great danger or great sorrow and vulnerability, wouldn’t you close your eyes and ask for divine intervention? Even if it’s just a small “Help me” in that moment when you believe that all is lost, wouldn’t there be a little part of your soul (no matter how tiny) that’s hoping, wishing, praying for a miracle? For something… more?
Well the best thing about praying is that there can never be a wrong time or place for it. It can be done anywhere, anytime and in any way you desire. Every single one of us has, at some point in our lives, said a prayer whether or not we realised it at the time. When you’re rushing out of the house, already running late for a major meeting or interview and that small voice in your head begs “Please let the bus come on time”, that’s a prayer. When you’re ill the week of your cousin’s wedding, whom you’ve promised a performance and speech to, and you mumble “I hope I get better before Saturday” as you sink deeper into your bed, that’s a prayer. When you tenderly look at your loved ones and tell them “I’m so glad I found you, thank you for coming into my life”, that’s most definitely a prayer.
Whether you believe in God or not (or a higher power for want of a more general term) we all pray, every day of our lives; and that’s exactly the way it should be. I’m going to leave you with the following quote which, incidentally, was sent to me by my dearest Muslim friend. I’m not sure who originally said it but it’s simply beautiful, particularly that fifth line.
The bottom line is pray.
If you’re tired, sick, emotionally overwhelmed – pray.
If you’re on cloud nine and life seems perfect – pray.
If you lack direction – pray.
If you doubt that prayer makes any difference – pray.
If the circumstances of your life are out of your control – pray.
If the circumstances of your life seem well within your control – pray even harder.
Whatever you do – pray.