Monday, December 06, 2010

Prayer for the unbeliever

I don’t believe in a God who sits up in heaven, or anywhere else. I don’t believe in a God who answers prayers. I don’t believe in a God who needs to be praised, placated, or appealed to. At this point in my life, I also don’t see God as a him, a her or even an it. If divinity does exist, then there’s no solidity to it, no there there, no entity dwelling within, as least as far as I can tell. And yet I pray.

Imagine my surprise.

I pray because I feel better when I do. My mind is clearer. My intentions more certain. I even launched a pray-a-thon in August and decided to pray daily in the hope that such a practice would help me find goodness. I’ve kept my word. I’m still praying. But I’ve continued to struggle because I don’t really understand prayer. What is prayer if not the act of talking to a God? How can I talk to God if I don’t believe in God?

Enter Maine Chaplain Kate Braestrup and her marvelous new book Beginner’s Grace: Bringing Prayer to Life. I’ve just started reading it, and already I’m beginning to understand why the heck I’ve been doing what I’m doing.

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