As a Unitarian Universalist who leans toward Humanism, Atheism and Agnosticism, I find myself at odds sometimes with the concept and meaning of Prayer. I am also a recovered Alcoholic, active in a 12-step program that includes prayer and meditation as the 11th step. I frequently find myself engaged in conversation with others about prayer, its benefits and its challenges for non-believers in recovery.
I found a reading about prayer (Author, Unknown) on the website, AA Agnostica.org, and I’m going to share it with you. I can add nothing more.
USSB Addictions Ministry, February, 2016
TO THE ALCOHOLIC WHO HAS TROUBLE PRAYING
You ask me how to pray to someone who doesn’t exist, how to pray to something which is not, something you don’t believe, some fantasy of other’s imaginations. How can you be honest and indulge in sycophantic kneeling, for you, you are a thoughtful man or woman interested in the pursuit of truth. I commend you for asking this question. I praise you for your integrity and I shall answer your question this way…
Come join us in prayer,
In a profound act of humbling ourselves in the presence of the Entire Universe
Not just the stars and the planets and the galaxies but one that includes every fleeting thought, and feeling
Of every human and animal that has ever lived, a Universe that includes every smell, every concept, every myth
That has ever entered the mind of man, every hope…Come join us as we kneel,
As people have knelt for thousands of years, connect with all of them.
Let us pray, not as a petition, but as an acknowledgment of our humble place in the Universe, of forces existing outside our control.
Pray for the strength to accept what is so you can clearly plot your future path
Pray for perspective so your creativity can flower
Pray to let in beauty of flowers, of mountains, of a woman’s cheek or a man’s caress
Pray to acknowledge your fearfulness
Pray to be here right now, humbly in this moment where we are together and all is still and there is no fear.
Pray for gentleness from the Universe as it deposits you softly on the shore before tumbling down on its mad, thunderous torrent.
Pray that we can all learn to care about each other even if we give just one hoot.
Prayer is that delicate strand the spider takes to get to the other side where peace and hope and myriad truths exist
Where smells are sweet and touches are soft where your pain can rest on petals.
And later, as you lie on your deathbed you can remember with wonder, the healing and strength
That prayer gave you in your tumultuous days and nights.
And you can wonder again, if it exists, that mysterious entity beyond understanding that we have called whatever we wished.
You can wonder if existence itself existed and rejoice at the loving presence around you.
Prayer is an attitude, it is not the words:
Do not seek proof of God for who are you to decide if God exists?
Neither accept nor reject the hypothesis do not go about loudly proclaiming your conclusions.
Focus instead on the stillness within you and as you are seared during the pursuit of truth rejoice in the courage of humans to strive.
Let your kneeling be a testament to your striving draw strength from the thousands, nay millions
Who have knelt before in seeking a respite from incessant drinking.
Pray for calm, pray with gratefulness,
Pray for perspective and sanity.