As many of you know - or may have inferred - I am not a particularly religious person. By saying that, I mean that I have never found a religion whose beliefs and tenets I fully agreed with - and, therefore, felt it would be hypocritical for me to attend. That's just me. Lots of people attend churches and don't believe everything and they feel fine about it. I just don't. Nothing wrong with either approach - just different. Churches certainly help and serve a lot of people and provide a very good social outlet for many, and for those reasons I will not say anything bad about them.
I am, however, rather spiritual. I find a lot of solace in reading spiritual books and exploring my spiritual side. And part of that has been an exploration and consideration of prayer.
Growing up, I would have said that prayer was a bunch of hooey. All religion was, actually. There was no validity to it, and people who attended church regularly were being duped. I no longer feel that way. I have become a much more open-minded person. Thank God :)
Over the past few years I've come to believe in the power of prayer. Although because of it's religious connotations, I hesitate to use that word. One could also call it the power of positive thinking - or meditation - or speaking to the ancestors - or "The Secret" - or Creative Visualization. All of these things, in my mind, are similar and part of the same process. Prayer is the simple act of asking for something from the universe. And, if it fits with the larger picture, we often have our prayers answered (often, however, you need to act to receive the answer - we're not talking miracles here). Of course, I don't believe that you can save someone else from something (unless they want to be saved) but I certainly have had luck asking for things that I truly felt would improve my life. One time it was a man (which didn't work out, but he arrived quickly after I asked), another time it was a move to a better location. And then there was the pretty much direct edict from above about what we would name our son. I also feel that prayer can help other people with their problems - if they want those issues to be resolved.
In any case, I don't see the harm in any of it.
What we see, preceive and do here on Earth, is only a small part of what really exists. I'm sad when I meet people who don't believe in something more. It adds so much to my life. But I also understand that that is their path, not mine, and I have no right to judge or try to force them to believe something they do not. This is also a fairly new point of view for me. I used to think I had all the answers for everyone. Now I'm happy if I have some of the answers for me. And that's how it should be. We're all here on our own journeys - I can't live someone's life for them, and no one else can live mine for me.