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Why lighting a candle matters to me!

What is prayer?

I have often felt hopeless in reaction to the hard times that have hit my family or myself on occasion. Why does it happen, and what can I do about it? As a Christian, my "go-to" has always been to light a candle. I say a prayer for the ones I love and who I hold dear in my heart. For non-believers, prayer is a strange way of dealing with a crisis, and they will question, "Does it work." I have moments where I ask that myself. Is there really a God out there? Is God inside of me or all around me having any influence on my life? If I pray for a person to get better, is it my prayer that makes that happen? In short, does God, if such exist, listen to prayers? The answer I have come up with is that it does not really matter. What prayers do to us is what matters. It is the conditioning of our hearts through meditation? Is it the miracle of all the teachings in the sacred scriptures? The inspiration they have for me is what matters. Maybe I cannot call down magical intervention, but I can condition my own heart through prayers to become more present to my fellow human’s “needs. Thus, I can find peace and quiet amid the turbulence of life. I believe that is really the gift of praying. The story goes that Mother Teresa had an epiphany early in her life which called her to be the founder of her religious order. She stated late in life that she, after her initial experience, never felt the closeness of God. Despite her lifelong devotion and prayers, she was left spiritually alone. However, the work she started for the poor people in Calcutta had a considerable impact, and her life was an inspiration for thousands of people. Why was God silent, she kept asking? Was there a God? And does it really matter?

Eventually, it is up to us either to turn to where we see the light or refuse it. My own choice has been to accept my human vulnerability and embrace the hope that my faith has offered me throughout my life. I keep lighting candles for the people I love, and it gives me peace of heart. That's enough.

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