This is a time that is calling all of us to prayer for the healing of all living beings. I am a firm believer that prayer works. Shortly after Hurricane Harvey hit Southeast Texas, I told a friend about how my family had weathered the storm with no damage to their home. As I finished telling her, I said “prayer works.” Her response was one of doubt about what I had said. Somehow, the fact that Harvey had destroyed tens of thousands of homes negated the power of prayer. It seemed that prayer did not work because of the destruction Harvey left in its wake.
I refuse to believe that life is a zero sum game. Prayer is not some formulaic practice where we beg and barter with the Divine to get what we want or desire. Prayer is not about our changing our outer circumstances but rather about our shifting our awareness and perspective about life. When we pray we open ourselves to expand our awareness to the power and presence of that which is unknowable and animates every living being. This can often lead to our experiencing life differently when we are receptive to what is seeking to emerge in our lives.
Prayer comforts and connects us to the Divine. I have noticed over and over again that the many people who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have expressed gratitude for answered prayers in the form of boats and vehicles in flood waters coming to take them to higher ground and safety. People who would not have ordinarily come into contact with each other assisted and supported each other for the common good. Answered prayer may not meet expectations, yet, it provides what we need in the moment.
This is a time where prayers are needed for us all. Whether we are living through unimaginable devastation due to a natural disaster, grieving the loss of a loved one, standing up for those things that are important to us, experiencing a financial crisis or expressing gratitude, prayer connects us to that which is bigger than us yet one with us. It shifts our perspective and sustains us as we weather and endure life changes and challenges.