My parents weren’t particularly religious, but as a young child, I was encouraged to say my prayers every night before going to sleep. You know the sort of thing. “God bless mummy, God bless daddy and God bless the cat”. Every night I said them without fail. It became a ritual.
As I grew older, my prayers became a little more sophisticated, but it still remained a nightly ritual. Get in bed. Say my prayers. Turn over. Go to sleep. This ritual continued until I was about twenty three. Then, for some reason that now eludes me, I started to question why I did it. I wasn’t religious. I didn’t go to church. My parents didn’t go to church. Nobody I knew went to church. So why did I say my prayers every night without fail?
Eventually, after failing to come up with a reasonable explanation, or even any explanation, I did the only rational thing. I stopped praying. Or to be more precise, I tried to stop praying, because as I immediately found out, it wasn’t that easy. Whereas I previously just said my prayers, turned over and went to sleep, I now found myself feeling very uncomfortable, even guilty, about not praying, and I used to toss and turn for some considerable time before finally drifting off to sleep.
It gradually got better with time, and after a few months I barely gave praying a second thought. I had gone cold turkey and weathered the storm [bit of an over statement, but you know what I mean]. Looking back, I now realise something that didn’t occur to me at the time. I now realise that prayers are not for the benefit of those prayed for. They are for the benefit of the prayer. They make you feel better about your-self, and feel more comfortable about things, and if regular prayers doubts this, then stop praying and see how you feel.
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