I've been thinking about prayer lately and the part is has and has not played in my life. In a few hours I am participating in the World Day of Prayer for the simple reason that to me, this World needs prayer.
Things are falling apart, as far as I'm concerned. I can't stop it and wonder how to live with it. "How do I have the peace that passes understanding?" when fear engulfs me regarding what is to come.
My relationship to prayer has been tumultuous. In my first 16 years, I prayed for the violence in my home to cease. It only got worse. I wondered, "Who was I praying to that would do such?" Then I examine the gods and discover the one my parents taught me was all about robbing, destruction and death.
As an adult, I left what I knew of that, and changed to another god, the god of a church that eventually kicked me out. So where did that leave me? Angry, bitter and done with the god idea.
Yet there have been times when things were so desperate that all I could do was pray, "God, help me!" and things worked out. Who was that?
My biggest struggle is believing people who put God in a box. I truly admire those who know where to be on Sunday morning, who know the words to songs, who know what to expect from God, who have organized doctrine that makes sense to them.
I cannot do that. I have tried.
The God I think I believe in bears no resemblance to what others around me follow. He and She is the Infinite God Is Everything. I can put no limits on that. For just as I do, He is bigger than I can imagine. Infinite God Is Everything is deeper than Snake River Canyon. Infinite God Is Everything is taller that Sacagawea Mountain. Infinite God Is Everything is longer than the Milky Way I gaze upon at night. Infinite God Is Everything is wider than the horizons from my viewpoint on Zumwalt Prairie.
Infinite God Is Everything is the song of a canyon wren at Freezeout. He is the majesty of a bull elk commanding the herd. He is the flow of the many winding waters that tumble from the mountains, and the purity of the snow that rests upon us now.
Infinite God Is Everything is all that I need for peace and rest and love. And that I cannot put in a box.
My finite human self cannot comprehend it all, but I have experienced that when I pray to the Infinite God Is Everything, good things happen. Maybe not exactly what I want, but good just the same.
And I can live with that. So today, on World Day of Prayer, I ask the Infinite God Is Everything for peace on earth: within and without, above and below, in front and behind.
Peace on earth and goodwill among men.
A 50-something woman comes home to a place she's never been before.