I Learned How To Pray Today

I thought I knew how to pray.
When I got the call this week that she had not overslept, that she was not getting ready for high school as we had thought, that she was not home--had not slept in her bed, was missing once again, I fell to my knees, the tears streaming, the millions of desperate scenarios running through my head--all of them horrific...
I begged someone, somewhere to let her be safe, to bring her home to me, to not let this be the time that she had gotten into the wrong car...
I guess you could call that praying, but it was more like the incoherent wailing of a distraught mother of an emotionally troubled teen.
When the fact truly hit home that someone I love very much had walked away from me, again, leaving me desperate and inconsolable, begging to some unknown god for answers that will never be forthcoming, the tissue pile growing with the level of my anxiety and pain, I started handling my collection of things that he had touched, bestowed, things that we had cherished in an attempt to feel something other than searing agony.
It felt like prayer, but it was really the same plea I would imagine a prisoner uses when he looks beseechingly at his torturer saying...please...make... it...stop.
When I found myself clutching the many religious medals and rosaries and prayer cards that my new-found and very devout friends had passed along to me, even though I do not share their faith, I thought that could definitely be considered prayer--old-time, rote, beggings and novenas, and always the plea for peace in my heart and in the hearts of my loved ones. Surely that must be prayer, by definition, right?
Prayer is not supposed to leave you feeling like all of your internal organs have begun to coil in on themselves, churning and grinding, nerve endings snapping, synapses shorting out, a feeling of hopelessness and fatalism all-consuming. No. That cannot be right. I must be doing something very wrong.
This is what I have learned: Real prayer is giving up, throwing in the towel, walking away, laughing at the futility of it all, recognizing that impermanence--that the breath you are struggling to take could very well be your last, and none of it matters, that is--that there is not a damn thing you can do about any of it.
I learned how to pray today.
I realized that "offering it up" as my grandmother used to tell me, is the only way to survive life. If I continue to insist that I can control what others do, either by directly intervening or by pleading for assistance, I am lost.
I learned how to pray today. It has not been an easy lesson, but I learned how to give up and not be so afraid. Who knew doing nothing was the way to go? Not me. I think I can do anything. Guess what? I can't.
I believe in love. My new prayer? "Love, help me let go, and let love."
It is a good prayer. I think I may finally be getting the hang of this. 
Quintesse Quintesse
51-55, F
13 Responses Sep 16, 2011

So many parents, including myself,, have been there. You described it eloquently! That is what I do with my most difficult days. Offer it up, because God knows, I don't know what to do with it! You are never alone, completely. I hope there is a good outcome to this day, I will pray for you.

Thank you. This was Sept. We are all doing better these days, in fact upon rereading this I am experiencing a little PTS. She was picked up by the police that day. Today she is on medication and going to therapy and school and things are, dare I say it--good.
But those moments of despair, especially when it concerns a child--there is nothing like that searing pain. Thank you for commiserating and for your prayers for us.

But I had it all wrong. It was after this that I had my revelation. I wrote the story about Snakes and Ropes and also the one about "It just is"<br />
I didn't suffer in this state for too long. I got my answers and they have made all the difference. My attitude is MUCH better today than it was when I wrote this story. But sometimes when you are down--I mean REALLY down, it is hard to see the proverbial light. I was forced to do a lot of self-calming and self-consoling. I am stronger now. I needed help, desperately, but it wasn't there for me at the time.<br />
I am better now though. I made it through as they say.<br />
Just say to No to the perception of deafening silence. It is a self-fulfilling depression trap. Let love in.

I'm glad to hear your in a better place. I thank you for comprehensive feedback towards positive thought.

Life is hard. Love is all there is. You're not alone.

I cannot describe my feelings from reading your story. To live, love and let go...Praying to a vast emptiness<br />
which swallows our words and returns nothing but a blank stare.<br />
I've been there myself and the silence is deafening.

Thanks for the prayers. We need them, desperately. <br />
A lot of heartache. <br />
A lot.

You and your daughter are in my prayers. I know that my life is guided by God and that he hears my prayers. I live a good life and made it through many hard times with his help.

I agree that we all posses the power within ourselves, but you are missing one very important part of this whole lament.<br />
Sometimes we are so weakened by the pain that we reach out to something, someone beyond ourselves--because we are tired, and drained and exhausted beyond belief.<br />
I don't want to do it anymore, so I am not praying for strength--I am praying for help.<br />
I want someone else to take over for awhile.<br />
But I don't really want to talk about this anymore.<br />
Thanks though

I feel for you Q, I know it has been rough for you. Prayer to me used to mean the reaching out to a being outside ourselves to perform a miracle cure. But as I have gotten older I too am discovering the true purpose of prayer. When I pray it is more for me. That I may find the peace inside to let the words come from that source of peace rather than my intellect. That is true prayer when you tap into that hidden source of Love. This is where God exists, not out there. When we reach and find that true power within, the words and thoughts pass the intellectual process and words and actions come from a source which many describe as greater than ourselves. We just have to trust that that source is better able to handle the issues we face than our own intellectual efforts. Prayer is tapping into that power that we all posses. It is unexplainable power but it is the right power. It is Godlike power and it is ba<x>sed in love. When you let go of yourself through prayer in seeking this, real peace directs our actions. Meditation is a form of it. Methods of achieving the goal of reaching that place vary by culture. All strive to get there by any means because the right words and/or actions occur before you think about them. It is the most beautiful gift that we all have if we can let go of ourselves and use it.<br />
<br />
"you can't think your way to right action, you can only act your way to right thinking."<br />
<br />
Acting or speaking using this new found power is better than we could do on our own.

I am praying like a maniac over here. Prodigal is the right word, I guess. I am having problems with people with whom I am close and it hurts.<br />
Prayer helps.<br />
So do nice supportive comments from people like you.<br />
Thank you.

Hugs to you sweet lady. Giant ones.<br />
<br />
Remember that you are born in grace and are always under His grace. Simply open yourself to receive.<br />
<br />
Your daughter is the prodigal, right now. When she accepts the grace then she will return. Your role is that of the prodigal's father/mother. You must lift yourself to your own destiny but still take that moment every day to stand at the window, look out over the lands to see if she returns.<br />
<br />
I love the interjections of "hail Mary..... etc."<br />
<br />
You have my love and remain in my thoughts and prayers.<br />
<br />

"Our Father who art in heaven..."<br />
I did 12 years of Catholic school, all the while questioning everything...<br />
I know the Bible better than most, but I took it a step further and I learned about many other religions as well. That knowledge that I have gained has served me well. Always asking, wondering, pondering, has given me insight that the average person never bothers to contemplate. <br />
But with that insight often comes confusion, because in times of unbearable stress, you sometimes revert to habit..."Hail Mary, Mother of God..."<br />
I don't know how to pray anymore or who or what to pray to or for.<br />
I am lost and struggling to regain my footing, halfway up the slippery side of the mountain. I am clutching at jagged cliffs, pulling myself up, an inch or so at a time.<br />
I'll tell you what I want---<br />
I want an angel to come and lift me--and carry me to the top--so I can sit and look at the view, and contemplate jumping.<br />
Morose. Maybe. Suicidal. Maybe. <br />
But mostly, I am sad, and confused, and in need of a ******* hug.<br />
Thank you for reading and for commenting. It gives me an excuse to keep writing about this.<br />
I haven't gotten it all out of my system yet.<br />
Haven't quite got the hang of it after all.

Q, My heart is with you. The most desperate and heartbreaking situations can sometimes shed light on the deepest wisdom and insights. I thank you for sharing this. It has opened my eyes on the subject of prayer.<br />
<br />
Blessings, Peace and Love

Yep. That's what I do.<br />
It's an all-encompassing term I guess.<br />
Thank you.

You are both in my prayers, Miss Q.<br />
<br />
Did you know that poets of old used Love as their name for God.<br />
<br />
Love and peace and grace<br />