I don’t believe praying for people changes anything. I agree with Harry Emerson Fosdic, God is not a cosmic bellboy who gets you whatever you want. If praying could change outcomes, then why are some prayers answered and others not? I am sure all mothers pray for the safe return of their sons from war but some men die while others survive. Are not all their prayers worthy of attention from God?
Even though I don’t believe God will give me the things I pray for, I still pray. It keeps me centered and helps me figure out what God expects of me. A few years ago while sitting in my living room chanting a mantra and listening to hymns, God spoke to me and I knew that He wanted me to trust my therapist and accept his help. God wanted me to face my fears, reach out to others and recover from Post Traumatic Stress.
This wasn’t the first time I encountered God. Once when I was in my late teens I stood on a ledge overlooking a canyon in Colorado. I watched an eagle soar. Then I felt it. God was standing there with me even though I didn’t believe in Him. Awe. Eight months later as I sunk into despair and contemplated suicide the knowledge that God was there motivated me to hang on and not give up.
A decade later I encountered God while driving home. I had just dropped my daughter off at dance class. It was a week after a drunk totaled my car and fled the scene of the accident abandoning my children and me. As I drove I was thinking how my children and I could have died and my husband would have been left alone. Who would have cared for him? What if I died and my children survived? Who would mother them? My heart rate and breathing increased. Then in front of me, beyond the line of cars, I saw the sun setting and the sky streaked with pink clouds. In an instant I felt God’s arms embracing the earth and knew after death I would be part of that embrace. I would shelter my family forever. There was nothing to fear.