Reading time: 3–4 minutes
Reading accompaniment(s): Something wholesome. Like a Hobnob dunked in Yorkshire Tea and unabashedly devoured.
Last night I prayed. To God. In the bath. Which means, statistically, that 50% of my life’s prayers have been conducted from a candlelit tub. The other time was on the sofa, three months ago, in the midst of a coronavirus crisis of confidence. So I am somewhat of a newcomer to this whole devotional dialogue discipline. Though I must say, my prayers have—thus far—been answered wholly. Holy.
My first conversation with her holiness was born from utter desperation. Perhaps this is a common scenario from which one enters into their initial interaction with the guy in the sky. The universe. One’s deepest self. Maybe everyone who is not brought up in a religious environment comes to prayer this way. Maybe we need to feel totally helpless before we reach out in the hope that there is something there. Well, in my case I certainly felt in need of a little divine intervention. So I repeated my request about fifty times, and a few more for good measure once in bed. I woke up the following morning and my pleas had been addressed, my belief in this omnipotent force beginning to solidify.
Whereas my first foray into faithfulness in the universe centred around the wellbeing of someone close to me, the second—last night amidst Radox’s finest and Spotify’s “Relaxing Massage” playlist—was unapologetically for me and me alone. (I won’t say it was my second ever religious enquiry; in primary school I did go kosher in honour of my Jewish heritage. But the experiment barely lasted a week.)
The prayer last night was simple: Please, God, get rid of my chronic bloody headaches, tiredness and sore throats. Oh, and the cold I’ve caught from all this lack of social interaction, which has worsened my symptoms no end, would be a welcome loss too. Seeing as I’ve had blood tests, brain scans and appointments with ENT doctors concluding no abnormalities whatsoever, I figured banishing these symptoms would be child’s play for the answerer above.
But then I got nervous. Perhaps this is too much to ask for, I mused. The suffering of symptoms for years cannot be dealt with through simply one conversation with a mere acquaintance, surely? So I duly amended it: Please, God, give me the energy to combat these bloody annoying symptoms, and the energy to ditch this bloody annoying cold. Thanks. And sorry about all the swearing. This felt like a much fairer deal. I would do my bit if God did hers. And with the reduction in miracles pleaded for (pled for?) there was a lower chance of me being let down with an unanswered prayer. So I repeated the request a few times more, in my head in the bubbles in the bath, and wondered what tomorrow would bring.
Today I woke with enough energy to start my morning with yoga, sit at my desk, and actually do some work. (More than what can be said for the past few days.) Damn it! I thought. God’s only gone and done it again. Answered my bloody prayer. To the letter. If only I’d ask for a full freakin’ recovery. Then I’d be laughing.
And this has got me thinking about prayer and God and self and the like. When I formulate my prayer, adjust it for realistic expectations and declare it to myself in my head, who am I really talking to? Is God within me? (I don’t wish to be blasphemous but this is definitely an avenue to explore.) Do I have such low expectations of the divine that I need to temper my goals? Or am I aware of my own restraints and thus match these with my pleas? Or did the bubble bath get me nicely off to sleep, and I woke feeling slightly better after a good night’s rest? Who knows? Possibly God. Something to think about, anywho. But what I can say is that I sure as hell (sorry, again, G) am going to experiment with more prayers in the future. See if this model sticks. And the bath, I recommend from experience, is as good a place as any for such research.
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