I prayed for you
It's one of those days, you're feeling rough and still have last night's make up clamped to your face and look a state. You desperately need some milk so brave the shop. You pray you don't see anyone you know, however browsing the yogurts you see him, God no can it not be him, he turns around, it's him. You say a little prayer 'please God don't let me him notice me, I promise I will be a better person'.
Most people recognise this frantic plea in a moment of desperation and often this is contradictory to what their stance on God and religion. I am confident at some point in their lifetime everyone has said a prayer, from a jokey bargain for our own selfish motives or in a moment of pain and desperation at the side of an ill loved one. The words pray and God have common place in everyday vocab, yet they are two very big words which anyone, even the religious, will struggle to truly fathom.
I grew up in a Christian family where prayer was commonplace. From a young age I was exposed to the concept of communicating with God. This took me years to grasp, which is evident by the fact when I was very little I was under the illusion I could pray to Santa Claus, which FYI you can't for anyone who was wondering. Either way, despite growing up in a Christian family and attending church, even today the concept of prayer is one that I cannot truly begin to understand. With this in mind the idea of prayer to non-Christians must look next-level freaky, especially when the Holy Spirit gets involved and all kinds of bizarre things start to happen, from falling over to healing. Despite this, prayer is not hocus pocus and it's not something to be afraid of, and even if you don't agree with prayer or believe in God I want to try and get you to appreciate its power, regardless if Gods existence is true or not.
Often in this complex world of which we are tiny particles made up of yet more tiny particles, we are left to feel powerless and alone. Prayer is a tool that can give us the feeling of control and affection. The chances are that someone has prayed for and you aren't even aware. As Christians we often pray for the people in our lives, from acquaintances on the fringes of our circles to our nearest and dearest.
I have prayed for many a stranger. To the man on Bristol suspension bridge 8 months ago whose worried glances and frantic look of desperation penetrated straight through me. You were a man who wanted to jump. I was just the girl who was watching you, we never spoke and barely made eye contact but I still pray about you. To the man who I found passed out with blood on his head. We did speak, in fact we laughed, you were too drunk to remember our conversation but I still pray about you too. To my friends some of whom I barely know, the chances are I have prayed about you as well and if I haven't one of my fellow Christians has.
Every single person is worth being prayed for. I might not be able to help you or to take away your hurt or help you get that job promotion but what I can do is pray. I can give you that 5 minutes of my life, 5 minutes, 60 breaths and 340 heartbeats. The knowledge that in a moment of helplessness someone else cares enough to think about you and dedicate time to you. That I am consciously choosing to think about you and with doing that I am sending messages in my brain and chemicals are being released for me in that moment to be experiencing my thoughts and emotions about you. That is valuable and that makes the world a better place. There is no harm in prayer and prayer isn't a substitute for other kinds of help; it's merely a helping hand.
Say that in the situation the God does not exist, and religion is just in place to control the masses does that make prayer pointless? It would seem silly praying to something that doesn't exist. But what's not so silly is having the motive to prompt you to address issues within your own life but also of the world, to reflect on things that need change and those things that you are thankful for cannot be a negative thing.
We live in a fast pace world of technology that supposedly makes our life easier but ends up being just another gadget or app to check before we go to bed. Screens have become our companions and have us lying awake at night even when they are turned off. The constant economic battle that has us hoping that once we get that pay rise we will be happy. There will always be more to be had. Everything is so fast-paced, the pressure we are under is immense. In this ridiculous rat race where we are running after an empty chest is it so irrational for something as insane as prayer to be what can keep us sane.
I understand the frustration when something devastating occurs and globally we see #prayfor plastered over Facebook Yet many of the people posting this hashtag are barely aware of problem let alone prepared to do so much as put a donation towards it. I sympathise with this frustration, but the symbol of prayer in crisis is not about likes on Facebook. It's about unity and solidarity. That in a situation where we feel useless we can do what we believe will help and for Christians that's prayer. We believe prayer can rebuild homes, and can feed mouths and even if you don't agree with us then there is the bringing together of a global community at a bare minimum to stand in solidarity and give just a fraction of our time and thoughts to those people through prayer.
If prayer is something that communicates with God or not does not affect whether prayer is something positive. I urge anyone to give the concept of prayer a try no matter what your beliefs.
If you aren't a Christian then use it as a mindfulness tool to step back and reflect on those around you who need help along with a bigger global picture. If you are a Christian then I urge you to pray about someone new, someone on the fringe of your circles and to tell them you are praying for them specifically.
For all the people who have taken the time to read this, thank you and I pray that this article will bring you a little bit of peace among the chaos.