I’ve mentioned before that I’m an atheist. Or an agnostic, depending on the day. I don’t really believe any more that there is some divine, all-powerful being who created us and the world (and basically everything else). I used to believe, but it’s been a while. I haven’t tried to ask god, or God, or however you want to write out the title of your preferred divine being, for anything in a long time. But I have friends who believe, and there’s never been a problem there; my lack of belief is personal, not a total denial of the possibility of a creator. So when a friend tells me that prayer might be helpful, I listen.
It’s been a long time since I’ve prayed, for anyone or anything. I do remember, though, that it is not the correct order of words or gestures that matter, but rather the feeling and intent behind them. So, on behalf of my friends, I’ll give this a try.
Fæder ure, þu þe eart on heofonum,
Si þin nama gehalgod;
to becume þin rice,
gewurþe ðin willa,
on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.
urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg
and forgyf us ure gyltas,
swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum;
and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge,
ac alys us of yfele. Soþlice.
I know it’s been a long time, and I’m still not sure of much. I don’t have much faith in the divine, and I don’t know that I will anytime soon. But my words aren’t meant for me, but for my friends. I have done what I can, and I just can’t do enough. It hurts to admit that I can’t help my friends, but I know they could use more than what I can offer. They deserve better than what they’ve been dealt; there is only so much we can do on our own. I hope that you are listening, because I am praying for my friends; they could use the help, however much you are willing to give. Protect them, guide them, help them, give them the ability to see through the darkness they are in and beyond it to where the light begins. I will beg if you want; I am begging. Please. I just want my friends to feel better, to feel hope.
Non nobis, domine, non nobis sed nomine tuo da gloriam.