Like a prayer

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I’ve spent time with folks who believe in a diverse range of approaches to connecting with the divine. As a child, it felt comforting to me to close my eyes and recite the Lord’s Prayer with other children, when I first went to school. Those moments were filled with concentration, reverence and other things that I was happy to participate in.

When I lived amongst people of my heritage, I came to see that prayers could become a part of everyday parlance. It felt however, like folks intoned prayers with ulterior motives a lot of the time. Prayers were used to charm people into trusting one another. In some cases, prayers were used to express anger, animosity, jealousy, disapproval and a wide range of emotions that could be regarded as not particularly peaceful, or constructive.

In most areas of human activity, there are bound to be those who develop the skills of experts. It makes sense therefore, that there are spaces in this world for seminaries, Bible colleges and other similar institutions.

Why do I feel uncomfortable in the company of “prayer warriors”? I guess it must be a cultural issue, because I prefer to regard prayer as an intimate personal conversation with the Great Spirit. Even if I’m saying the Lord’s Prayer in a large group, it feels to me like each person is communicating on his or her own terms, not trying to make an impression on anyone else apart from God.

In recent times whenever I’ve been in a tense situation that makes me want to call on my maker, I’ve chanted “Nam myoho renge kyo”.