A Humanist’s Prayer

I finally broke down and prayed yesterday.

Maybe that’s not weird to you. Maybe you’re the type of person that prays every day. Well, I’m not. My views on life and the world around me are increasingly humanist in nature. So praying? It’s weird. It’s really weird actually.

I used to be fairly strongly Christian, at least outwardly anyway, so you would think that praying would come naturally to me. But when you know like I do that praying doesn’t actually change your situation, taking time out of your day to close your eyes and look to up to the skies (or out to nature or in to, I don’t know, something) is … odd. Intellectually, it doesn’t fit.

But mentally and emotionally? It does. It totally makes sense. Now, I’m sure there are many freethinking skeptics out there that would disagree. Out of respect to them, I will modify that statement to, “it totally made sense for me.” Praying gave me a sense of calm that I otherwise could not find. For a brief moment I was at peace because I was able to say, “I’m scared,” and “This sucks.”

On the other side of the argument I can already hear the Religious Ones yelling at me. “You felt calm and peaceful because you prayed and Christ gave you grace.”  Umm, no.  I felt peaceful because prayer and meditation are inherently peaceful practices. More specifically, it has been scientifically proven that mindfulness and meditation can help you decompress and slow down the chaos of life. My problems are not solved. My worries have not been erased. But for the moment, I am not completely stressed out to the point of distraction because I chose to be real with myself. Sometimes you just have to find your center. Sometimes you have to stop and regroup. That’s what praying is for me. It’s a moment to stop, hit the reset button, and then will myself forward.

To the humanists, atheists and agnostics out there reading this, I encourage you to try prayer or meditation if only for curiosity’s sake. This guy does it. This guy too. And they are both intellectually content. To the Religious Ones reading this, I don’t believe in your faith, but I honestly respect your need to take the time out to talk to someone, even if it is just talking to yourself.