Writing the Prayer of Your Life E-zine: July 21, 2008
Letting Go of Worry and Preparing to Pray

As I write these words, it’s raining outside. The last few drops of a massive thunderstorm that blew through our valley a few hours ago. It began at sunset, and as the sky grew darker, lightening split the sky with light.

Now, it’s later in the evening, the storm is dying down, and I am preparing to pray.

My brother is scheduled for brain surgery at 7:30 tomorrow morning. He has a tumor that was discovered two years ago. He had surgery then and it went quite well. He’s having his second surgery tomorrow. It does not appear that it’s an aggressive form of cancer, but we won’t know for sure until after the surgery.

When he first called to tell me the news, I asked how I could support him, and he said, “prayers.”

I immediately sent out an email to friends across the country, and began a network of prayer. Now that the surgery is upon us, I’ve decided I will spend the day in prayer.

But after my last phone call with him, I’m finding that this is not the solemn, worry filled sort of prayer I might have anticipated.

Instead, my prayers feel more like a celebration of life. It’s not that my concern has disappeared, but my mood is light. I can’t stop smiling, and I am filled with love that I want to share with everyone I encounter.

What brought this shift?

I come from a long line of worriers. I’ve been known, in my life, to be somewhat obsessed with worry.

But my relationship with prayer is teaching me something else. It’s teaching me, in fact, another way to live.

I used to think that prayer itself was little more than a glorified form of worry.

In times of crisis, I would talk to G-d, begging really, for G-d to do something.

“Help!” was the first self scripted prayer I uttered. And believe me, I used it often, for years.

Now, though, my prayers are different. I sit down and talk to G-d, or I go out and take a walk to be with Spirit, or I write, or sing, or dance—I do something to bring myself into a deeper awareness of that which is always here. Once I do that, I start to find that connection with Source everywhere, and in everything.

My conversation with my brother tonight, on the eve of his surgery, was my prayer. He thanked me for all the love and support I’d given, and said how the prayers my friends and I had been sending had lifted his spirits. He’s going into the surgery with a clear mind and a beautiful attitude. My presence, he said, had helped him to get there.

I was so grateful to know that I had given him something that really mattered, but tonight, he was my help. My help in realizing that I did not need to spend the day of his surgery in fearful worrying. Instead, I could honor the seriousness of the day by celebrating life.

That shift was something of a revelation to me. I immediately thought of the Hopi prayer that has been circulating the internet for the past few years.

I also thought about sharing my experience with you. Prayer, like writing, is a gift that has been given to help us. It’s good to remember that, when life offers you one challenge after another.

Sometimes, some days, uttering “help” in a desperate voice, while you fall to your knees, is all the prayer you can make. And it is good, and it is enough.

Some days, saying “I love you,” especially to people you don’t usually say it to, is the most important prayer of your life.

Sometimes, the prayer in the prayer book speaks to you and feeds you. And sometimes it is the poem that comes out of your own heart, when you sat down to write, that you didn’t even suspect was inside you.

It doesn’t matter which it is for you. Or if it’s something else entirely. All that matters is that you take the time to pray. That you make the shift in your heart so that instead of being oriented toward fear, you’re oriented toward love.

Do whatever it takes to get there. But do it.

That’s all that prayer really is. A way to turn let go of the fear, and remember that your life is sourced in Love.

When you reconnect your heart to its birthright of love, your heart will tell you what to do next, whatever you’re facing.

That’s what prayer can do for you. Re-orient you, and then guide you, to take the steps you need to take, to face whatever it is that life is bringing to your door.

And remember what the Elders of the Hopi Nation of Oraibi, Arizona, tell us about living in these times.

“All that we do now must
be done in a sacred manner.
And in celebration.
“We are the ones we have been waiting for…”

It’s very deliberate: this pairing of sacred and celebration.

The sacred, you will recall, has to do with celebrating life.

I remind you of that, this week, and invite you to consider what you can do—one thing you can do—to remind yourself, that life itself is sacred, and worthy of celebration.

And one more thing. In addition to prayer, I also wrote my brother a letter. I said what I needed to say to him, in case he would not make it through the surgery. I wanted him to know, without a doubt, certain things about how much he has mattered in my life. It meant so much to him, my letter.

You can do that, too. If you can write at all, you’ll probably say things on paper, that are different from what you say out loud. Writing allows us to express parts of ourselves that we otherwise wouldn’t.

Don’t forget to write, the things that are really in your heart, as a gift to the people you love. Give them everything that you most want to give them. Life is so precious. And love is all we really have, in the end.

Blessings on all the stories of your soul.

Author's Bio: 

Debora Seidman is an award winning playwright with an MFA in Creative Writing. She leads writing workshops in Massachusetts, New Mexico, and online.