What it's like to not pray

“for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.” 2 Nephi 32:8

For the first time in my life, I can’t remember exactly when the last time I prayed was.

Certainly, my final prayer was one of the last lengthy prayers I “said”. But I did pray after that, perhaps a few more times, with a similar message for God:

“Give me the answers to the sincere questions of my soul, and I will do anything you want me to do in this life to serve you.”

Nothing… Ever… Came.

The year 2015 probably saw my most intensive, fervent prayers of my entire life. I remember two specific episodes of lengthy prayer.

Lengthy prayer 1

The first was myself, walking around at 3 in the morning on a cold winter’s night. I prayed to God, quoting the Book of Mormon scripture:

“O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day.” Alma 22:18

I prayed near a grove of trees close to my home in the deep of the night. I prayed and prayed and prayed. But nothing came. I told God that I knew he was capable of all things, and that if he would answer my questions and give me a powerful manifestation of “his truth”, that I would believe it.

Lengthy prayer 2

The second was later on, in the early evening shortly after sunset during winter. A storm was coming and the wind blew heavily. My heart was filled with the dissonance that so plagued me during this period. There was lightning in the distance. Like I had been doing for many months, I was again taking a walk near my home to “work things out”. I shouted at the storm as the boisterous wind blew the trees around me:

“Is this the best you can do God?? Nothing more than random events that could be interpreted as anything?? A storm like this is hardly a decent sign!…

STRIKE ME DOWN GOD” I pleaded “STRIKE ME DOWN WITH YOUR OMNIPOTENT POWER, AND THEN I WILL FINALLY BE SURE OF YOUR EXISTENCE!!”

I shouted boldly into the storm that swirled around me. I was not afraid. If nothing happened, then either God doesn’t exist or He, for some reason, cares not to let himself be known to me, unlike in the many stories I had heard since childhood. If He does exist, I cared not if He actually struck me down, all the more to know for a surety of His existence.

After all, He struck Korihor dumb didn’t he?

What it’s like to not pray

I have not prayed in many months now. Though the Mormon worldview forbids the following statement to be sincere, or must brand me deluded or deceived, it is indeed from the bottom of my heart:

Ever since I stopped praying, I have gained greater and greater peace in life. I’ve come to the conclusion that either God doesn’t exist or He doesn’t care whether I believe He exists or not. Frankly speaking, I told him that the door to Him will always be open from my end, but I will need more than mere shadows and coincidences to believe in the most powerful being in the universe. If He’s there; gratitude to Him for creating us. If not, I really wouldn’t be surprised.

I’ve stopped worrying. I’ve stopped “wrestling” with God in prayer. I’ve stopped worrying about pleasing Him. I’ve stopped worrying about what He wants for me. I’ve stopped concerning myself communicating with an entity who would choose to be so coy; because I simply don’t believe the theist God exists anymore.

This evening I took a walk around my workplace area, where a year ago I would walk around to pray and ponder about my concerns and doubts.

I realised that I had not prayed or concerned myself with prayer in quite a while now;

And I felt so happy.

Shawn 12-04-2016

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