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Aug
23

Is prayer your source of solace?

A shining moment © Ellen wade Beals, 2017Lately I have been thinking about prayers and the Higher Power. It’s a recurring subject for me.

Have you ever been fortunate enough to have someone sincerely tell you, “I’ll keep you in my prayers” or “I’ll be praying for you.”?

Has anyone ever suggested you should pray about a problem?

Or, have you noticed associates on FB asking for prayers for an ailing relative? Sometimes the request is prefaced with an affirmation like “I believe in the power of prayer.”

Do I?

And to whom am I praying?

Do I still believe as I did as a child at Our Lady of Mercy that there is a man even better than Santa Claus who listens to each child’s petitions and acts wisely? Benevolent. Omnipotent.

Do I think someone listens to my prayers?

Not all prayers are petitions. Some are expressions of gratitude and thanks. When beauty in some form or a feeling of well-being leaves me gobsmacked, to whom am I saying thank-you?

In Solace in So Many Words the poem “Calculus” by D. I. Gray, which I share below, appealed to me because it sees “a symmetry implicit” or divine order to the world (at least in my interpretation). The intricate mathematics of the universe is evident to me in so many ways (for instance, the repetition of patterns in nature) and such order convinces me that randomness and coincidence could not create anything so detailed and amazingly interrelated.

And yet.

The skeptic/cynic in me considers the world as we know and although I see order, I do not know if this came into being by the act of a divine hand.

I wonder whether prayer doesn’t just fill a void for those who pray; that it fills the space usually occupied by the Unknown with hope. Prayer is a type of hope, I think.

The pragmatist in me comes to realize that if prayer has a chance of working, it can’t hurt to try. After all it is free and convenient; lines are open 24/7.

Those who know me know I like to go to the casinos, which says something about me, I know. It says something about an innate characteristic, and that is: I believe in luck.

Gamblers believe in breaks and coincidences. Gamblers think you can tap into the energy of the roulette ball so it finds its way to the money. Even blackjack players who play according to the odds and always make the logical choice whether to hit or stay will tell you that the odds don’t help when you don’t get the cards.

If I innately believe in luck, I must thereby innately believe in another Force at work. (Sorry, if I sound like Star Wars).

So in this moment, since it doesn’t cost to pray and I don’t have to know who the dealer is, I’ll put in my ante and take the bet.

How about you? Do you pray? How do you envision God or the Higher Power? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Peace, love, and solace

 

 

Calculus
by D. I. Gray

Well, maybe it’s the smallness of your hands,
how carefully they carve onto the page
the pieces of expressions—operands
and lean manipulations on the stage

of mathematics, with its varying players
whose entrances and exits leave a mark
indelibly: the alternating pairs
of conjugate relations, squares with stark

configurations, differences or sides
insisting on a balance in the mix.
But it could also be something that hides
within those hands, within the pencil’s flicks,

that I have not yet seen, a symmetry
implicit, quietly adjusting me.

© D. I. Gray Solace in So Many Words, 2011

Flower and fruit © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Flower and fruit © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Canna fruit © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Canna fruit © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Leaves © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

Leaves © Ellen Wade Beals, 2017

4 comments

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  1. Dennis Higgins says:

    As you know, you and I were classmates at Our Lady of Mercy. I still believe as I did back then. But I didn’t always. It wasn’t a straight line from there to where I am today. I took a curve for many years. But my life experiences (some in the spiritual realm) brought me back to the faith of my childhood. Yes, I pray, and often. I have also taught would-be converts the same faith for the last 17 years.

  2. Kathy elster says:

    Well your post sure got me thinking. What/who am I praying to ? I think to me higher power is the spirit within me that can’t be seen . When I am praying ,I am asking for a change within me , not a change in the world or others. I think ” I’ll pray for you means I’ll be the thinking of you. My God is no big daddy in the sky dispensing favors and gifts depending on well or much you pray. Nor is my higher power testing me or punishing me.
    Rereading this makes me realize that I have no idea who or what God is. I do know what it is not. My prayer is usually asking for the knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry it out. Help me do the right thing and be kind to my fellow man. Simple but not easy.
    And a very wise woman told me once that nobody really knows so whatever works for you.
    Thanks for asking.

  3. Ellen Beals says:

    Wow! So much to think about in your post too. And helpful. Clarifying. Thanks for reading and responding. Great to ponder big thoughts with you. XO, Ellen

  4. Ellen Beals says:

    Thanks Dennis! The catechism we were taught at OLM comes back to me at times (often unbidden). There were some lessons there. One phrase from childhood that I hear in my head is: “Offer it up.” OLM was formative, no doubt about it. I am glad you have found or returned to your path of faith. Peace, EWB

    BTW, Dennis Higgins is the author of ten books; his latest is Pennies From Heaven, Lost on Route 66; here is a link to his Amazon page.

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