Sunday, December 10th, 2017

“Pray” is a bad word

I mentioned before that my daughter and I had both written books with off-putting words in the title. Her’s is the F word which is not half as bad as mine which is “pray”. This was recently brought home to me when one of my best friends said she couldn’t put a poster up in her office advertising my book–I PRAY ANYWAY: Devotions for the Ambivalent.  I said, “of course, I understand” and then I didn’t. And then I did. Prayer has a bad reputation for any but the most fervent believers and should not be mentioned in the secular environment.

I ran a Playshop with wonderful diversity of beliefs in the room. I missed a chance to dig into prayer as a topic, One participant told me I colored the possible discussion with my own awkwardness about the topic. Damn, This is why I do a pilot workshop, but still, damn.

The Pew Study of the Religious Landscape of 2014 has many interesting conclusions. People pray who say they don’t believe in God. The perceived profile of people who do pray is that they are judgmental, arrogant, won’t tolerate disbelief in others, and are against liberal social policies in the name of religion. So prayer is suspect and prayer is hidden and who we pray to is questioned–big daddy in the sky.

My book has daily reflections from my kind of prayer practice that I started three years ago. There will be a new book. What have I learned? What’s changed?  I’m not as ambivalent about prayer. I think there is a giant shift in all religions and people will be self-categorizing in different ways. I am bolder about my doubt and my belief. I have seen the benefits of public secular discussion about prayer, God, miracles, ego, organized religion and commonalities across religious traditions. I am more interested in the topic of praying “anyway”, regardless of perception, rigid theology and dry spells.

Pray, pray, pray. There i’ve said it again. I cringe wondering about what you assume about me. And then I don’t. I’ll keep telling you about my experience. I want to hear about yours. Do you pray? Who do you pray to? How do you pray? Do you know how to pray? Does prayer have power?  Do you care?  I’m interested.

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