"That and a quarter will get you nothing."
Spoken by someone I love.
Referring to prayer.
I have mentioned before that my spiritual life is not what it should be.
I rarely attend church, even though I grew up going to Mass with my Catholic mom (and agnostic dad). A big reason I don't attend is because Daniel "cannot." We would receive too many stares, from too many ignorant people. And, in all fairness, he would be a disruption. (Although I think God would say, "So what? He is as much my child as any other." You know, suffer the little children to come onto Me, and all that.)
I also must confess that I am no Biblical scholar. I do, and believe, any number of things that the leadership of the Church would condemn.
I believe in a higher power. More specifically, I believe in God.
I would never, ever say that prayer is worthless.
I know many people feel that way. It doesn't make them bad people. Some of the smartest people I know are atheists or agnostics, and they are good, moral people.
But prayer is never meaningless. To even suggest a thing, I think, is insulting-- and, well, ridiculous. Even if the atheists are right, and there is no God, prayer has meaning.
When we pray, we recognize that we are not infallible. We acknowlegde our own limitations.
When we pray for others, we acknowledge our love for them. And, call me crazy, but I believe there is value to positive thoughts, expressed in a focused, sincere way. They sure as heck don't hurt anything.
When we pray, we reject evil. And without a doubt I believe there is plenty of that lurking in this world. All too often it is cleverly disguised--the "helpful" person is really just a shyster with a selfish agenda, hoping to manipulate, and willing to destroy those who stand in the way. I can't help but wonder if people who have turned from prayer with disdain have done so because they have been overtaken by a force of evil.
When we pray we are true to ourselves--our fears, our hopes and our insecurities.
And, perhaps most of all, when we pray, our hearts cannot help but soften.
I have prayed many times for my son, and what I have asked for has changed over the years, as I have reached greater amounts of acceptance with regard to his disability.
I will never understand how God operates. I do not expect to wake up one day and find that my child's limitations miraculously have been removed. I do believe, though, that prayer can only help me be a better mom--and surely the good Lord knows He has not heard a lot from me lately.
So, tonight, as I stop to consider the words I noted above--when I think about how uncomfortable I was with the sentiment--I vow to seek solace in some praying of my own.
I will acknowledge my limitations and ask for greater patience.
I will ask that He one day bring words, in whatever form, to my son. And to Clark, and Rhema, and all the children whose lives are touched by autism and developmental disabilities.
I will ask Him to help my daughter be the kind of sister her brother will need.
I will ask Him to heal my son's broken foot, and my broken heart.
I will ask that He help deliver my loved ones from evil.
And I will go to bed knowing that my prayers have meaning--meaning beyond measure.