February 25, 2023

If Prayers were Enough.

I am, of necessity, an avid news viewer and listener.

In part, this is because I am a journalist with a focus on social justice and in part because I am a psychotherapist whose clients are sometimes experiencing distress due to the state of the world. Lastly, it is because I am a caring and responsible human who wants to make a difference.

When you see the alphabet soup letters of the stations from where I receive my information, you will either smile and nod or scowl and shake your head. NPR, MSNBC, CNN, and the BBC. I am proud to be considered “woke” and rather than viewing it as a pejorative term, I see it as a compliment since it implies an awareness of what is happening around me and a willingness to take positive action to alleviate the problems.

I have attempted to watch Fox News but felt slimed and like I needed to take a shower afterward. Understandable when hosts admitted knowing that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and continued spreading The Big Lie. A paradox since although they feared losing viewers if they told the truth, their loyal following clings to what they want to hear and sees the network as a valid source of information. How many people have died of COVID-19 because they believed the propaganda spread during their programs? How many people took up arms because they bought the intentional disinformation about the validity of the election? The way I see it, the blood is on their hands.

If prayers were enough, there would be no war, no poverty, no abuse, no gun violence, no disease, no hatred, no bigotry, and no totalitarian takeover of a sovereign nation. As a human, I feel helpless at times to know what to do, so I pray. I know I am not alone in this.

I consider myself a person of faith—many of them, actually. I practice the rituals of Judaism (my religion of birth) with a sprinkling of Catholicism, as I pass the beautiful Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa which is watched over by a towering gold statue of Mother Mary and greet her. I ask her to watch over my family and surround them with love and blessings. I have stopped by there over the years at the grotto behind the chapel to commune with her. I figured she would be okay with it since she was a nice Jewish girl too. I speak often with her Son who I see as a kindred Spirit, teacher, and healer. I incorporate Buddhist and Hindu rituals as well. I am an ordained interfaith minister who graduated from The New Seminary in NYC. The motto of the school is “Never instead of, always in addition to,” as a way of encouraging the students to have an inclusive practice. I have prayed in a mosque and a forest, churches, synagogues, and temples, and I have attended Native American rituals.

Saturday 2/25/2023 is being called the Anti-Semitic Day of Hate, so referred to by Neo-Nazi groups who plan on stirring fear and causing chaos. Synagogues and Jewish communities are on alert. I ponder how many of these people consider themselves Christian and know or accept that Jesus was called Rabbi and was part of my tribe. If it was possible and if I was daring enough, I would venture into the minds of people who hate, just because…but I would be afraid to see how dark and scary it really is there.

When I pray for protection for people, I am uncertain whether my words are heard by an entity or if my prayers merge with those of others who fervently offer their intentions and cause energetic intervention. Some who are prayed for die anyway. The commonly expressed “thoughts and prayers” in the aftermath of tragedy, such as the murder of children in what should be the safety of their classroom, land on deaf Divine “ears.” If there is an interventive God S/he has let humans down. Why would a loving God allow war, violence, abuse, assault, starvation, climate crises, and unexpected death? I question whether it is because humans need to take responsibility for their choices and how they impact others and the planet as a living, breathing being itself. I remember a line from one of my favorite cosmic love stories called “Starman,” starring Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen, “Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? (the human species) You are at your very best when things are worst.” Think about how people come to the rescue in times of tragedy.

What can we do to walk our talk, live our prayer intentions, be a protective field around each other and the planet, call off the “dogs of war,” making lives more important that a misperception of the second amendment?

If prayers were enough, we would be experiencing Heaven on Earth.


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