How To Pray If You’re An Atheist

Even though I am questioning everything I ever thought I knew about God, I am having trouble letting go of the idea that there is some kind of power in prayer. Maybe there is a God, maybe there isn’t. I don’t know. I have had many, many prayers that it seemed were never answered (or were answered “No” which I do not think makes sense). However, I have seen positive things happen after prayer. Maybe they would have happened anyway. Or, maybe there is a power in thinking and feeling and believing in a certain direction. I googled “prayer for atheists” just to see what was out there. Of course, I found hundreds of well-meaning (I hope) prayers written for Christians to pray for their poor sad atheist loved ones. And I found this post, a port in a storm, an oasis in the desert. While it has its detractors in the comments, I find it to be very helpful, if for no other reason than to confirm what I feel: something is going on when we spill it honestly. Regardless of where I end up, I don’t need to apologize to anyone for holding onto something called prayer.

Thought Catalog

My mother just called to give me some very bad news — a young relative had died early this morning. He was a man whose entire life was one series of life-threatening situations after another. He was born with severe birth defects. So, although his untimely death came as no real surprise, it was still shocking and heartbreaking to our family. He had overcome so many seemingly impossible health challenges that one more “medical miracle” didn’t seem out of the question.

For over twenty-five years I faced similar soul-shattering scenarios, but I had always believed that my relationship with God and my communications with him (through prayer) would carry us through any situation, no matter how painful.

But then I became an atheist.

So what does an ex-believer do when praying to a God you no longer believe in is not an option?

Admittedly, even though “nothing fails like prayer”…

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sex – letting go of the guilt

I didn’t intend for this blog to be about faith. And losing faith.

When I started it, it was to be the place where I could talk freely about things that were too unsavory or too controversial or just too damn scary for my real blog.

I guess “losing faith” falls in all three of those categories.

You’d think when people get older they would question less, answer more, become more stalwart, become more refined. Become elders.

When I picture that, I picture a stone statue. Immobile. Deaf. Tight lipped. Unfeeling. Stern. Impotent.

If anything, the older I get, the more alive I feel. I worry less, question more, listen more, love more. I refuse to become a stone statue.

Especially when it comes to sex. Continue reading

asking questions with an open heart

I asked a lot of questions in church last Sunday.

I didn’t raise my hand. I didn’t state them to the priest in charge in front of the congregation. Our service is modern but we’re not that kind of church.

(I grew up in that kind of church, though – where anyone and everyone was free to interrupt at any time with any random word from the Lord, where at any moment someone might burst into tongues or get slain in the spirit, where the absence of these things was viewed as a falling-away, as a call for revival. But I digress….)

No, I took my queries even higher than that. Continue reading

if God is love, then what is this?

All my life, I was told there was one special man God had chosen for me. Someone who would walk with me, guide me, be my friend and lover and soul mate.

And I believed it. Because I lived with it.

My parents, who were passionate lovers of God, had an amazing marriage. Theirs was a marriage of love, of friendship, of partnership, of incredible passion. They enjoyed being with each other. They gave each other space. They were tolerant of each others shortcomings. They treated each other like gold.

I wanted that. And I wasn’t going to settle for anything less. Continue reading

what is wrong with me?

I couldn’t sing yesterday.

My husband and I attend a church plant. It’s a small group, meets in a school cafeteria, and we are part of the actual plant team from the big church across the river. I’m a musician and singer, but not for the plant. They got someone younger and hipper to do that. Which is fine. Especially now.

So yesterday the leader started playing his guitar and singing (beautifully, I might add – really, no sour grapes) the familiar lyrics of songs I myself have lead in other services. Words of God’s beauty, God’s breath of life, God’s wisdom, God’s blessing. At first I sang along.

And then I couldn’t. Continue reading