I pray two or three times a day, and if I’m having a great day, even more — I say little prayers of gratitude throughout the day.
Sometimes I think this catches people by surprise. Most people think of me, I hope, as kind of a hard nosed numbers and rationality guy. But rationality and prayer aren’t contradictory. They just cover two different parts of the human experience — the knowable and the unknowable. For all that we know, for all that we can know, there will always be a part that is unknowable. We might answer the What, but here on earth we can never truly answer the Why. Why? Why are we here? Why does what we do matter? We can’t know Why. We just have to believe.
People ask me how I’m able to do what I do, how I can keep multiple long term projects moving forward. Prayer is a big part of it.
Almost every morning I say a prayer before I get too deep into the day. And my morning prayer ends with “Lord, please give me the wisdom to know what do to, the focus to do just that, the urgency to do it quickly and the perseverance to see it through to the end. Lord, please give me Wisdom, Focus, Urgency and Perseverance.”
You could certainly categorize these as just time management techniques that exist independent of prayer and religion. True. But also true is that each of these was written in the Bible thousands of years ago. I personally find that comforting. Personally, I LIKE that I am part of a flow of humanity that goes back thousands of years.
So much of life comes down to a leap of faith, a belief that you can accomplish something, imagine a future and make it happen. The future is unknowable. Not to get too Biblical, but it’s still true — We walk by faith, and not by sight.
It’s true of all of us. We all do things today, not knowing the outcome tomorrow, but believing that we can achieve the outcome we want. Believing that what we do matters. Believing that our lives serve some kind of purpose.
The reason I am able to keep so many different projects moving forward is that I have made that leap of faith, that what I am doing matters. That if I do what I believe I was called to do, I can help make a better world. For me, that leap of faith is easier because I do believe in God. Because I have placed myself in the stream of humanity stretching back thousands of years. It’s easier for me to believe that my life has purpose because I believe that I, too, am one of God’s children, fulfilling God’s plan for me.
Too biblical again? You need to look in the mirror. We ALL walk by faith. We all do what we do because we believe it matters, that what WE do matters. The only real difference is that some people are conscious that this is a leap of faith, and some people, seemingly, pretend that they aren’t making a leap of faith.
It’s kind of funny, because psychologists generally say that people are happier if they express gratitude every day for their lives and opportunities. And they say we are happier if we don’t carry a burden for things beyond our control. That’s pretty much what prayer is — giving thanks for what we have and asking the Lord to carry the burden for the things beyond our control. True, you don’t need prayer to express gratitude. But I wonder: How many of the people that accept the need for ritual and gratitude, but reject organized religion actually have a set time to express their daily gratitude? Without the structure of organized religion to help us consciously lead moral lives, how many non-believers actually take the steps necessary for their spiritual nourishment?
I know faith is a touchy subject for a lot of people. Everybody has to decide for themselves what to believe, and where to find purpose. Everybody has to pick, or pretend not to pick, their own religion.
I hope you have found your purpose in life. I hope you feel your life has meaning. For me, I believe it does, and every day I say prayers of thanks to God for giving me that purpose.