(**It seems like most of my thoughts on religion these days are sparked by my Philosophy and Ethics classes, but luckily Wittgenstein hasn't weasled his way in yet. If I ramble about my subjects, I apologise in advance**)
We've just started a topic on the views of religion from the perspective of language. It's pretty dry, if I'm honest. Language games don't exactly thrill me, but now we're starting a segment on prayer, and well, it's another tough discussion in class.
There are four people in our year who have lost their mothers, I being one of them, and two others being in my class. They were both cancer tragedies, different from mine, but it's a touchy subject nonetheless to talk about loss and prayer. I can understand a lot of people who lose their faith because of loss, it was my mid-life prepubescent crisis that drove me away from Christianity and the idea that "God works in mysterious ways." At that age, I wasn't too happy to believe that my mother was taken from me because, the way I saw it, God wanted to, and that was that. Not a good enough explanation for me, sorry.
I've gained comfort in Paganism because, though I don't think I'll ever have the answer as to why death happens, I've found...dare I say it, positive points about what happened. For one, I wouldn't be a writer. I wouldn't be as close to my family, and I probably wouldn't be Pagan.
So when it comes to subjects like prayer, I'm the only one who thinks it works. Now, that's not to say that I literally believe that I can pray for world peace and the Lady will incite world leaders to hug it out (I gave it a go once, no result.)
But prayer works for me, down to the basic rule of positive thought, also known as "the Secret". It's not so much a technique but an ethos for me. I live my life believing that good things will happen to me, because I want them, because I've worked for them, and because, partially, I'd see it as compensation for the things I've been through. I think the girls who have lost family in my class have lost respect for prayer because it didn't work for them.
But I don't think prayers are concoctions for miracles. It's not a substitution for effort or action. I'd much rather spend years sending out multiple manuscripts than praying every night that a literary agent will wander into the same Waterstones I'm in and sense a "spark" in me.
Even if prayers aren't immediate, I don't think that something can come true if there's doubt in your mind. Praying about belief whilst thinking "this is stupid, why am I here? I'm hungry, I think I'll make a sandwich later" isn't the ideal way to go about it.
Believe, that's what I have to say to my class, though it's probably not good enough for them. And if they question me about whether I can lose faith, if after years of desperate praying, nothing happens, what I would do, I tell them that I won't. Conceited? Maybe so, but I can't afford to think about not having faith. I need that kind of certainty in my life. I need to remain strong in the belief that everything happens for a reason, even if it doesn't make sense. Amor fati (whoops, my Nietzsche is showing...) I say often. Understand why, and love fate because it is fate. Do not hate it or dismiss it because it's too hard.
Just love, and realise.
So that's why I pray.