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Instead of Praying, Live a Life of Communion

Updated: Mar 4

There is no fear in communion

Tin rooster on top of fence post. House and autumn-toned grapevines and rising sun in background.
Tin rooster communing with the sunrise at Evergreen. Photo by Lara.

Praying is a common human activity and fear is embedded in its structure.

In the past, I spent a lot of time on my knees praying. A rough estimate of 20 minutes a day for 25 years computes to over 3,042 hours. So, what was I doing all that time? And another good question is, did it do me any good?

What was I doing? I was really talking to myself. My words hit the ceiling and tumbled down around me again.

Did it do me any good? No.

My prayers exactly followed the definition given by the Merriam-Webster dictionary because they invariably involved these four things: adoration, confession, supplication, and thanksgiving.

Adoration: I was praising a man-made God. Although I tried not to have a mental picture, I was bowing my head to a brightly shining giant man, who was throned, bearded, and frowning (at me). My adoration was just obsequious fear.

Confession: Every twenty-four hours I asked for my sins to be forgiven because even if I couldn’t recall sinning, I was sure the omnipotent eye in the sky had detected me doing something wrong. I didn’t want to die unforgiven. These daily sessions of confession were to ensure my eternal conservation, not about changing my behaviour in a lasting way.

Supplication: I could always think of something I needed, so this section of prayer was quickly filled. More money, more wisdom, more patience, more rain, less rain, more humility, better car, more lucrative job, Christ’s return, nicer clothes . . . I always added the rider that if God didn’t give me these things, it was okay because He knew what I needed before I asked. (So why supplicate? Why beg?)

Thanksgiving: With my eyes tightly shut and holding my head in my hands, it was easy to think of things to be grateful for. Food, shelter, family, employment, sunshine, a cushion under my knees as I knelt . . . But even this section had a negative undercurrent because, recalling the story of Job, I knew that if God chose to, He could remove all my blessings with a flick of His index finger. So there was fear embedded in my thanksgiving. If I didn’t thank him enough, He’d teach me a lesson I’d never forget.

After following this pattern of praying for 25 years, I suddenly stopped. The morning finally dawned when I refused to kneel by the bed and bow my head. I was sick of God, sick of prayer, sick of fear.

Instead of chucking praise, pleas, and thanks to an unresponsive guy in the sky, I turned my back on my religious upbringing and chose to live the best life I could – all on my own.

  • Instead of praising someone I couldn’t see, I started appreciating those around me.

  • Instead of confessing sins, I started changing myself.

  • Instead of supplicating an invisible, man-made entity to provide what was needed, I started doing what the moment required.

  • Instead of thanking a god who demanded I fear and tremble before him, I started thanking everything for existing: lettuce seedlings, willow trees, cumulus clouds, hot water, sunlight streaming through the lounge room, new cooking pots, and my two pinky toes.

Living life this way set me free from fear.

Lounge room scene - red walls, timber floor, cream couches, wooden beams in ceiling. Sunlight streaming through adding highlights.
Communing with sunlight streaming through the lounge room at Evergreen.

Living a Life of Communion

Now, instead of praying, I live a life of communion.

Communion is a with-my-whole-being expression of unity, intimacy, empathy, and relationship with all things, both visible and invisible.

Communion is possible at any time, any place, in any position. It doesn’t need to be on a holy day, in a place of worship, or on my knees. I can commune in the garden, at the rubbish tip, in the library, on a Ferris wheel, in a lift, standing on one leg, or with my head in a toilet bowl. Or I can enter a state of communion in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep.

Communion is total acceptance of what this moment holds.

Communion is an acknowledgement that I am part of the whole.

Communion is peaceful, undemanding, and packed to the brim with gratitude.

Communion asks for nothing.

Communion is the perfect prayer.

With love, Marlane,

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