“How do you know you’re God?”…”Simple, when I pray to Him I find I’m talking to myself.”
—Peter O’Toole, The Ruling Class
If you are an atheist or an agnostic, the whole idea of praying on the face of it, makes no sense. Why bother to pray to a god that doesn’t exist?
There’s also a broad category of people who have some vague notions of theism, like, “there’s some sort of Higher Power, but I don’t really think of it as ‘God’ per se’, who also are deeply uncomfortable with prayer.
It’s for these people that I have on these pages non-theistic prayers.
If you’re someone who feels pretty silly in prayer, because it feels like you’re talking to yourself, that’s okay. If you use non-theistic prayers, that’s exactly what’s happening. Like Peter O’Toole in The Ruling Class, the prayers are addressed to yourself.
What you want to do is to find parts of yourself that are doing the act of prayer, and you want to find the parts of you that are able to hear the prayers. You may have a part of you that is very hurt — can you find a part of yourself that has healing energy? You may feel yourself full of regrets or resentment — is there a space within you that has forgiveness? Sometimes we need to ride many miles before we can find a place within ourselves that can heal, forgive, love. I think all of us can find such a hospitable place, even in an internal wilderness of rage, guilt, or despair. And when lost in the wilderness, it can be a matter of survival to find a place of refuge.
It’s that part of oneself that can be healing, loving, kind, forgiving, that you need to send those prayers to. No god(s) necessary.