The economy is pretty bad these days and even the devil can use a break, so I heard he was holding a garage sale recently to make some extra money. He was selling, among other things, all of his special weapons to tempt man....all but one. There was a special box he did not include in the sale because that was his most important weapon and he couldn't do his job without it. Guess what was in the box? It was "despair." Once he hits a poor soul with despair, he is fried. No hope means no praying. What for? If there is no hope of a prayer being answered, despair leads you in all sorts of different ways, but never in the way to the light. Clever Lucifer!
So this was a joke I heard in church last Sunday. I don't particularly write much about sermons and I don't preach. I just tell a bit of my life, my thoughts and a lot of the crazy things that go on inside my head. This stuff I heard did not just came and went from my head - it stayed inside and it has been going around in circles. The devil of the story was right on the money. Despair IS indeed, the best deterrent from a life of prayer. Regardless of religion, any person who believes in a superior being prays in one way or another, mainly because we want to have hope, - well, I already wrote once about hope so I am not writing about that again - we want to believe that things will eventually get better. And they do. Eventually, they do; if you wait long enough. Now, if you are not willing to wait, somehow things do get a bit, let's say, bleak. Despair sets in. The Devil is in business.
When I moved to Seattle, I heard so many stories about how EVERYONE got depressed here at one point or the other. I heard that, statistically speaking, Seattle is the city where more suicides happen in the United States. This is eerie, I don't argue with that but I always wondered what exactly can get a person so desperate and so sad that they decide dying is better than any form of life. Even when I think I might consider this alternative if I am terminally ill, in a lot of pain, or hopelessly dying, even then, I wouldn't choose to kill myself. I guess it's just genetics and I will never be able to relate to that choice, made by others in such high percentages. I like to think that rather than it being a genetic thing it's a "hope-prayer" thing. It has been very few and far in between the times when I have hit rock bottom but even at the bottom of the hole, I always managed to get some sort of rope sent down to me from up above and I never despaired, and when I did, it was usually momentary insanity - nothing that a little praying couldn't take care of to get me back on track.
Prayer. This word is not politically correct lately. Nobody wants to be told what to do, what to say and what to believe in. Granted, it's a free country and unless there is "something in it" for us, we really don't want to be bothered. Well, there IS something in it for you when you pray. You might not get the answer you want, but you do get an answer. The most important thing that happens when you pray, meditate, count your beads or chant, is not the answer from God, it's that you stopped and went inside your own self to get the balance you need to wait, to make a plan, to get patience, to endure. The strength that comes from finding your center is the harmony that comes from praying. The best thing of praying is prayer itself and no devil can ever make you despair if you can find the answer to your questions within your own spirit.