Does Prayer Work?

Praying is either a powerful procedure to perform in the eyes of a devout individual in their faith, or a useless concept in the eyes of one who doesn’t believe in a higher power.

Praying can be a trivial chore to pursue for those brought up in a particular faith or those who still practice that particular faith; striving for salvation by pleasing someone upstairs can become quite tiresome. For those irreligious or of a non theistic religion, prayer can be the key to exude positive energy into the world; just because one isn’t necessarily listening, it doesn’t mean they can’t be triumphant.

At the age of four or five, I was introduced to God by my parents. They helped me and my siblings get into contact with God by making us bow our heads, place our palms together, and announce a rhyme as a call for protection throughout the night. Who was “God”? And with the stories of heroes in the Bible, why was this “Jesus” thanked the most? …Oh, right. Then were we supposed to pray to two “Gods,” not just one? The rhyming was always fun, but I was so confused.

At the age of ten, God was still in the picture, and Jesus was no longer blurry in the same image. Not as many Christian poems during our conversations anymore, which were most of the time one-sided. The story of Jesus having nails jammed into hands and feet onto a tree was a horror movie in my mind. But it was sweet at the same time. Someone loved us that much? That made no sense to me, but I enjoyed the thought of someone listening twenty-four/seven.

At the age of sixteen, the third component of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, stopped being foggy. The child-like thoughts of two to three Gods instead of the claim of one God being in prayer and the Bible came back on some occasions. I appreciated the whole story of the Holy Trinity, and I was comfortable calling myself a Christian because it gave me purpose. God gave me purpose, and He still does. However, when it came to praying, I was either a bit lazy, or I thought it was useless at times. An omnipotent being such as Jehovah Jireh obviously had plenty of other things to do that had nothing to do with my adolescent problems. He was in charge of the important binaries of life: night, day, life, death, we know them all. He had to work on the cure of cancer, mitigate the effects of poverty. My depression, stress, anger, and sadness can’t always be on His list. Besides, our conversations were still pretty one-sided, so it surprised me when He allowed good things to happen to me when I couldn’t even hear from Him.

At the age of eighteen going on nineteen, I still have questions, but it becomes clearer as I grow in my spiritual relationship with God and prayer, I believe. In an earthly sense, my problems are trivial compared to others such as cancer, poverty, war, etc. Nevertheless, those problems are still mine, and God sees that. God views all of our problems as the same, therefore, He makes time for all of those problems equally. Regardless of the orders of sins and issues in our infernos, God wants to heal all. Yes, I said ALL. How is He supposed to fix anything if I don’t ask Him to? How is He supposed to bring anyone out of strife, not just myself, if I don’t continuously seek Him? Without all of that, the conversation will always either be one-sided or silent.

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Poem: Passion

Passion: Noun.

Intense driving, or overmastering conviction.

Yes! I Am Triumphant.

I have discovered the depths of the blurry image

Of what the crystal ball kept trying to show me.

I was not the product of a sale for a deceiving, brightly dressed psychic.

I’ve become better than that.

I speak of the object of interest in my thinking process

Of a future I’ve been afraid of for as long as I can remember!

Passion: Noun.

Obsolete. Suffering.

The constant debate of where you find yourself is settled here:

In high school, you are nothing but lost.

Or at least I was.

It wasn’t until I became erect to the words of

Ellison, Sondheim, and Christ

That I became awake upon a piece of furniture that I’ve always laid down on in exhaustion.

They took over the torches and pitchforks that pressured the need to only settle for something

as comfortable and lousy as that couch.

However, it didn’t make the flames or stabs disappear.

For example, I once thought it was silly to tell a bunch of straight A AP students

That I wanted to make a living making people’s day.

Maybe artists and dreamers wouldn’t be welcomed in their circle of intelligence.

Passion: Noun.

The state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces.

Inspiration is the backbone of all achievements.

Whether or not “great” can be the true name for each one, varies.

Sweaty palms and a racing heart can’t mirror

My pace of walking into a new building;

Inside, excitement ensues.

Meeting new people and hearing their fascinating words lead me to smiles high enough to

reach the Everests that are my cheekbones that were once too hard to climb.

Passion: Noun.

A strong liking or desire for, or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.

Some of the craziest mixtures of theories and dreams can be the most admired.

Therefore devoting to accomplish them becomes well supported.

How foolish I was to believe adopting those flavors wouldn’t exist for me.

Passion: Noun.

Ardent affection. Love.

That is where I stand for the people around me.

And for the future ready to embrace me.

Womanhood

Many have read The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, if not read it, then at least heard of it. Although Hester was stigmatized as a whore for the majority of her life, that is not the only struggle that people, particularly women, may face. There are those who get stigmatized as a prude.

Although men feel pressured just as much as women, in our society, women are the minority and not men. Often, men are easily forgiven for whichever path of sexuality they want to take in their lives, even praised for it, while women either have to be the object of sainthood or lust.

It is disappointing that women are faced by the double edged sword of sexuality constantly. Ally Sheed in The Breakfast Club has stated that if a woman says that she has had sex, she is a slut, and if she hasn’t she is a weirdo.

One’s personal life should not matter to others, yet it contains such importance for those others.

The media screams to the heavens that sex is the basis of everything. Whether it is pornography, what is meant to be “tasteful” in marketing, or even virtually every film and television show ever made that has to include a romantic relationship in the mix of the story.

Religion and tradition has the tendency to place sex into the question of what is moral in our every day lives and in our every day society. Religion and tradition want to promote purity despite how, most of the time, even if one is a virgin, one is still not pure.

At a party, for example, there are usually two types of people who must be judged so easily by unintentionally evil eyes.

You have the “Good Girl,” who is a young woman who can have fun sober and socializing with others. Men might find her as a challenge, for giving their blessings of flirtations and offers of “drinks,” become empty when their words are useless and water is a good enough drink for this girl. Due to peer pressure, she may cross her arms in defiance towards the setting she is in, or she may take a sip or more of Malibu to please the men and women around her. She may have the urge to leave, in order to remove the negative connotation of “good” she wears as a gaudy necklace tonight.

Then, you have the “Fast Girl,” a young woman confident in her body and enjoys the taste of alcohol while socializing with others and having fun. Men might find her as a challenge because of how other men may have catered to her and how women may be jealous or view her as narcissistic with the attention she receives. Due to peer pressure, she may stop drinking, or become more drunk than usual as she drowns her sorrows into other people through dance and isolation, or she may simply leave. “Slut” is not a great accessory to be strangled by tonight.

The fact that women must choose only one of these two archetypes that have such baneful and uncomfortable purposes, is wrong.

The word “good,” is obviously a positive term. However, when using it to insult women for choosing not to have sex or not to indulge so much in sex does not make it positive. And to describe a woman with high self esteem as “fast,” especially when she doesn’t cross the line between satiation and overindulgence, is hurtful and repulsive.

Everyone is entitled to use their bodies as they please. As long as they aren’t hurting themselves or doing it out of hatred or insecurity, that truth still stands.

“YOLO” in the Bible

I have been reading Ecclesiastes lately, and I used to think that it was a form of depressing scripture. It was filled with existential depression, if you will. The main theme exemplified how everything was “meaningless, like chasing the wind.” It talked a lot about the impending fate of death we’ll all face, whether one has morals, or one is immoral. Religious, or irreligious. One, or the other, in any form and fashion.

However, whether you read scripture or not, regardless of what faith you are, if you read Ecclesiastes closely, it’s not depressing at all.

Because of the meaningless process of life transitioning to death, we are encouraged to enjoy the provisions of life with purpose!

The Teacher in Chapter 2 decided, “there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work” (Verse 24, NLT).

What is the use of getting rich (2:18-23 and 6:2), or gaining power (4:13-16) if there is no true passion or drive to make you enjoy living to the fullest?

LIVING. Not existing.

Many forms of literature write about living. Thoreau stated that men live quiet lives of desperation. Frost took the road less traveled by. It never blatantly came to my attention that religious literature would scream those same themes. I had an idea, especially for Eastern faith-based texts, but I never truly understood where to look in my own faith.

First Impressions

…Mixed. With Scotch Irish, German, African, and Native American descent. …Christian. No particular denomination, my father is Baptist and my mother is nondenominational as well. …Double majoring in Social Work and English at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.

Although our heritage is important to know in order to track where we come from, it should not be the first thing to ask someone new. Especially if it is asked as such: “What are you?” I have been asked that for the majority of my life and it’s often uncomfortable.

I am proud of my beliefs, I do believe Jesus Christ is my savior, and I believe He rose from the dead for our sins. However, I also believe in science, gay rights, freedom of expression, and how that freedom includes the expression of all religions, sexualities, talents, speeches, clothes, etc. It is okay to to express a belief, they give us our worldview, and a worldview that is accurate enough for us to live by and be better. Even so, imminently wanting to know how one stands in faith upon first glance gives one the mental allowance to judge. No one wants to be judged for what they believe in. Including me.

The infinite amount of studies to pursue are noble, wonderful, and invaluable to pursue. Although it’s amazing to hear about what one is studying, studies are not part of a person’s identity. Who wants to be labeled by pure scarlet letters of the courses they’re taking and not what they want to accomplish in their life? Some may argue “Well their studies will help them accomplish in life.” No. Their attitude does. Their spirit does. I want to make a living making people’s day through expression, because it’s the best form of therapy. Still, I would have a life outside of that, and that’s forgotten. Like when children see their teachers outside of school.

It’s revolting to have a bar coded tattoo on our foreheads that makes people see only one thing about us. What ever happened to variety making things unique? It exists. I’m just saying that it should become even more relevant.