So as an atheist, prayer leaves me a bit flat. I don’t think there’s a god out there, and I certainly don’t think s/he/it would have time to go picking in my head when there’s over 6 billion humans, never mind everything there must be in the whole universe.
Meditation is in many ways similar to prayer, except you don’t have to trick yourself into thinking someone else out there is going to solve the problem for you. It’s the same quieting and calming your mind, thinking of a problem – maybe even come up with a solution. Though the difference is meditating doesn’t depend on an external entity, and it has been scientifically proven to help with stress. So while prayer may not be for me, I have no problem with meditation. So I think that could be a valid substitution for prayer.
Though the words of some prayers do feel good to think about. You can use them more like mantras, and maybe slightly reword them so that it’s less asking a deity for help and more reminding yourself of principles you care about.
I used to go to face to face meetings where In the end we’d all hold hands and say together, with gusto and happiness “Keep coming back, it works if you work it!”. That moment was always so joyous, felt so much support. So I love that phrase.
I also like what has come to be called Rozanne’s (the founder) Prayer:
“I put my hand in yours and together we can do what we could never do alone.
No longer is there a sense of hopelessness;
no longer must we each depend on our own unsteady willpower.
We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours,
and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.”
Isn’t that beautiful? And I think it summarizes one of the greatest strengths of the program. The fellowship and supporting each other. While no one can really make a choice for you, we share ideas and experiences and that gives us more to go on.
I also really love the lesson of the serenity prayer. But there’s that god thing again. The big old G word gets in the way, but it’s still a very good lesson! For those who can’t get around that word but still want the benefit of the lesson, I found this blog in which the author made the very slightest of rewordings for it:
“Through my efforts, I gain the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
So what’s the moral of this entry? They say it’s not a religious program, but if you have to worship something, that IS religion. And the words Lord and God come up all the time. But if you can look past that I think there are still worthy things to be had from it. And that’s what I’m looking for.