A Prayer doesn't have to be Religious
Growing up prayer meant that thing we did at bedtime or when Grandma came over for dinner. Hands clasped, eyes closed, words repetitive to the point of blah blah.
Then I got cancer. People wanted to help. Former classmates, co-workers, family, friends, school moms, strangers all felt sad to hear a 43 y.o. woman in her prime had incurable cancer and might never see her 8 y.o. son grow up.
Empathetic do-good'ers generously sent flower, started meal trains, offered babysitting, and even set up a Gofundme account to help with the mounting medical bills. There was one thing that a whole bunch of people did that was essential to my recovery: they prayed.
When people started saying, "I'll pray for you." I thought, "that's nice." It seemed simple, almost provincial. I would demure a "thank you." I was honored they would include me in their prayers - the same way I'm flattered when people have me on their holiday card list. It felt good to know they cared. But did my skeptical, logical, corporate self think it's make any difference? Nah, not really, but couldn't hurt, right?
Then it happened. I realized oh my god (literally) - this is real.
Unbeknownst to me a glorious group of energy healers in Germany - tipped off by a mutual friend to my plight - started sending me energy. A reverent prayer group in my hometown added me to their weekly prayer list. A devout friend's mother put in a formal prayer request at one of the Ireland's holiest chapels. People around the world were sending my energy, light and love.
I had no idea any of this was happening. So when I had a good day — say a positive appointment with the oncologist or I could walk to the grocery store without needing a nap afterward — I didn't think anything of it. But as I started to learn about these groups, I was floored to note the times they sent me love, light and prayer corresponded directly with all my good days.
A prayer doesn't have to be the Lord's Prayer or involve a rosary or be at a house of worship or even with closed eyes. A prayer is simply sending energy and love to a person we're thinking about. Sure, it can be a formal prayer talking to God as we're taught in organized religion. But a prayer can also be a spiritual crystal-holding intention to send light or it can be a metaphysical practice of sending energy. We're all connected. Think loving thoughts for someone is same energy going for the receiver no matter what method you send it. It’s all “praying.”
There are so many times in life we just don't know what to do to help someone.
Those close to us are in pain: a cousin is 300 miles away in extreme pain, a friend's brother just died, a co-worker has cancer. Sometimes we're filled with empathy and waves of emotion for strangers: 9/11, Sandy Hook, Syria, Charlottesville, Las Vegas. Our empathetic heart bleeds for a way to do SOMETHING.
There is so much bad in the world, we often feel small. Like we can't make a difference. But this one little thing is much bigger than we think. Our heart is filled with abundant love and sending a prayer anywhere in the world can be the thing that gets the receiver through the day. I give as much credit in my improved health to the generous people that prayed for me [in all its forms] as I do to my medical team.
So with all the criticism of "thoughts and prayers" on social media, when we feel hopeless to help someone that needs love the simple solution is to send them a prayer. We just get quiet for a few minutes and send that person/people love. It will reach them and make a difference whether they even know it or not.