Saturday, February 23, 2013

Prayer: May the odds be ever in your favor!

Recently something really great worked out. It involved money I needed but didn't have.

Once upon a time when I was a Christian Scientist, I would have prayed about it the way serious Christian Scientists do: studied the bible, and Science & Health by Mary Baker Eddy and attempted to lift my consciousness into the awareness of a perfect spiritual universe where I could never lack what I truly needed, etc. ad nauseum. 

But not these days. I understand that we live in an extremely complicated physical world where there are too many variables to ever discount luck whether it's good, bad or unseen. It's been almost twenty years since I stopped praying, since I started thumbing my nose at the idea of prayer. (Yes, I enjoy seeing religious folks shudder when I do this. It's a character flaw.)  

No, I just continued with life, thought of some ways to handle the money situation, and waited to see what would happen. Guess what? It worked out in a way that I had not expected or requested. But if I had prayed? I would have said, LOOK!  MY  PRAYER HAS  BEEN  ANSWERED!  (in all caps, probably.) Except I didn't pray.

Consider this an anti-testimony.  Because prayer doesn't work. There are often solutions to problems. Sometimes  people or circumstances help us; sometimes we find inner strength to go on. Sometimes life just plain sucks. But when it does, now I don't feel shamed, inadequate, confused, fearful and personally responsible--as I did when I prayed all the time. 

I think it's fair to call myself an expert on prayer. My family relied on prayer over any medicine while I was growing up. I took no aspirin, no cough drops, no vitamins, and had no doctor visits when I was sick. And because of the Christian Science support system surrounding us, including state laws that protect religious behavior, I had no medical treatment when, at thirteen, a bone disease destroyed my left knee.

I'm an expert on prayer because I put it to the test. I prayed every day that year I was sick. I prayed during the ten months I couldn't get out of bed, during blood poisoning and agony and wishing I was dead. I prayed through months in a wheelchair and years on crutches. I prayed as my leg gradually fused. If any god worth worshipping actually existed, I would have jumped up and walked--not crawled out of the years-long ordeal scarred mentally and physically for life. Get it?

I went on praying, ashamed that I'd failed to heal myself/be healed, for almost twenty years more while strangers stared at my limp and church members reminded me I could still be healed...just keep working at it...keep studying...keep "knowing the truth."

The truth was that I outlasted a disease my orthopedist says could easily kill an adult. This is because a child tends to have new, healthy organs. A child with a tough constitution can withstand  osteomyelitis and sepsis as I did. Six years ago the department head surgeon of a teaching hospital said my knee was inoperable other than to surgically straighten and fuse it again (which I declined in favor of amputation.) He told me there were no cases similar to mine on this continent. He said, "You're unique to North America."

That doesn't make me a miracle. It makes me fortunate: "favored by luck" in this situation.

I don't play the lottery. I've got better uses for my dollars & dreams. But if I ever find myself President of the United States, when they swear me in I'll end by saying, "So help me, odds!"

It's extremely unlikely I'll become President. But not impossible, especially for someone so unique. 


  1. I agree on the ineptitude of any of the (reportedly) 2,534 gods to date. I also agree that there are physical properties to this world we find ourselves in that no Bullwinkle in the sky will ever solve.

    I do believe that prayer (not in the Gimme God fashion) can be very useful. Call it meditation if you prefer but the mind sciences weigh out that 'payer' or meditation does help one's constitution and overall well being.

    No, I am not advocating picking out any god and start praying (you know me to well to misunderstand) but explore meditation such as can be found in any sanga like an Open Way group. I found great results in quieting the mind, focus and answers sometimes popped up. Most of the time, I just felt more peaceful and that, by it's self, is priceless.

  2. Yes, I agree that it's an excellent tool to be able to settle, relax & focus. After I left my religion (all religion) I realized that even while I'd been praying (in that meditative way) what really calmed & helped me was trail riding on horseback. When I tried any kind of "relaxation exercise" it was too much like CS prayer & always sent me straight into a panic attack. A lot of other people have commented the same thing, even if they weren't CS.

    I haven't done any trail riding since the amputation but I play the drums & it has the same effect of concentration while letting go. Also swimming laps (preferably in a pond or lake but pools are OK this time of year!). One particularly bad summer I baled a lot of hay, too. The noise & clanking rhythm & need to pay attention to many things at once was very soothing. Baler therapy!