However, that wonderment is selfish. My desire to impart my form of God or Deity onto someone else almost seems to me to be wanting. What if it comes out of a desire to be agreed with? (Sorry to the Goddess of Grammar for these last few sentences.) I'd like to answer that it doesn't.
When I call to the Heavens, I feel a presence. There is a Divine spark in me that recognizes the Divinity that answers my prayers. I know this. I know this because I can smell it, touch it, taste it, weigh it, measure it, feel it - in all the definitions of the word feel. However, I also believe with every fiber of this form I've been blessed with that when I call to the Powers that Be an answer will come. It doesn't matter if the answer is No, or Not right now, or if the divine Magic 8 Ball says Outcome Unclear, I know that there will be a response.
What if, however, I were an agnostic? I've heard time and time again something to the effect of, "I call and I call, but it doesn't seem like my prayers are answered." Does this mean that the answer is consistently No for a person that doesn't see the desired results? For those of waning faith, or no faith in anything concrete at all, I'd like to pose this: perhaps, the prayer of the agnostic is not answered. Or, at least, not in the way that we think.
I think it's like in The Monkey's Paw - that horror story we all read in middle school - where the people ask for money, and then their son dies and they inherit exactly the amount of money they need. If you ask for something general, and you don't think about where it comes from, maybe the manner in which your answer comes also gets burdened in confusion. Take the statement, "God, make my life better." How, exactly, are you wanting your life to be better? And, in what way do you want that improvement to occur? Perhaps, more specifically and importantly, do you believe that who you're calling to is up to the task of making your life better?
I know that when I'm praying I can feel the Divine presence there, having a conversation with my Spirit. I can feel Divinity in every moment of the day, and recognize the hand of my higher power move and shape the events of my life. But, what if I were calling to someone I was unsure even existed? Or, what if I had a vague idea that Someone existed, but didn't know who They were, or to what extent They could fix anything? Who am I calling to, then?
Maybe the Cry of the Agnostic is muddled in their own agnosticism. Maybe in their "prove it to me" attitude, they're not allowing anything to be proven. I'm learning in Philosophy - particularly the book Siddhartha - that people who are constantly seeking in life will never find anything. However, people that find what they're looking for don't seek it, but rather let life's lessons and Divine truths just integrate themselves into their being. The holiest of men may never go to seminary or study theology, but they might just be the beatnik that has a good idea of how to live. Or, there's something else that I've heard: If you're trying to travel down the river, and you're not getting anywhere going against the current, why don't you just stop paddling and let the river carry you. You'll go the same distance much faster, and you'll not work nearly as much. And, when you get there you won't be worn out by the journey. Though, sometimes just going with the flow of the river doesn't get you to your desired destination.
This can be good. Maybe where you were going isn't where you needed to be. However, if where you're going really is important to you, then perhaps you will have to put in the work to get there.
All that to say this: Before you pray, decide who it is you're praying to. Or, at least figure out what you're wanting that Deity to do. How do you want your life to be better? And, furthermore, what things do you want your Deity of choice to do to make that change?
Prayer is one of the few mystical experiences that, I believe, you must have faith and believe in, in order for it to be effective. It's always said that a curse can't hurt you if you don't believe in it, and the argument to that is that a bus will still run over you, whether you believe in it or not. However, you still have a concept of a bus. You have the concept of a curse. But, do you have a concept of God? Maybe a God can't save you if you don't have a concept of Who you're talking to.
I'm sure I'm wrong, but it is something to think about.
Love and Lyte,