What is Prayer?

I got a call earlier in the week about a dear friend who is in the hospital.

She is very sick and her family has gathered.

In the middle of the night my eyes popped open and her name was on my brain.

"You have to be okay. You just have to be okay."

I lay there for a while and thought about my pitiful attempts at prayer. I'm not good at saying prayers. Traditional approaches and well meaning teachers have not had great success with me.

I thought it might be time to practice meditation, but my mind wouldn't quiet. I am cursed with a writer's too busy brain.

Feeling frustrated I remembered a focus strategy I learned while lying on an acupuncturist's table waiting for my daughters, just embryos at the time, to get sticky and implant.

"Think of a tiny ball of light and give it a color," the acupuncturist said.

"Let it bounce around you, but focus it at your pelvis."

"As it bounces it grows, so follow it, but always pull it back to where it belongs."

As it grew, so too did my calm and ability to let go and find peace in the situation. It was the happiest I'd felt in all the years of IVF trauma.

At 1:11 a.m. last night I held my hands like a cup and thought of all the reasons my friend needs to get better. I held love. I held her laugh and her voice and the way she answers the front door in her bathrobe on the early mornings I've shown up to collect one of her kids. I held the image of her table at Christmas. I held Maine and her dogs and her grandchildren and most tightly I held her daughters.

I gathered all of my thoughts, all of my best energies, and imagined them collected into a flaming ball of blue light. I grasped my hands together, fingers entwined tighter than they've ever been held. The grasp should have hurt, but it didn't.

The goal was to throw my light up the coast of our country directly to her bed where she fights.

In preparation to release my hands (expecting my little blue ball to fly off like fireworks in a million directions) I made one last wish for her to be well and then I let go.

But the energy didn't dissipate to the corners of my room. Instead, it flew straight to the sky, as if God needed to hold them first.

I trust that God will send them where I meant for them to go.

My little ball of energy light that helped my daughters stick and become life, has got to do its magic for my friend and her family.

This morning I realized that this was my prayer.

I pray now that it is granted.


How do you pray? Do you always look to God first or do you find strength elsewhere? If you do pray would you send a prayer in the direction of my friend? I would be ever grateful.

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