Thoughts, Prayers, and Thoughts About Prayers

It’s been years since
I killed my god.
It wasn’t a sudden or violent
death —
more like a long negotiated
euthanasia,
gently putting to rest
the band of barking dogmas
inducted into the soft, supple skull
of my younger self.
And in exchange,
a slow awakening to a wider,
brighter, beckoning 
unknown.
And so now —
I cannot honestly recall
the last time
I closed my eyes
and said a prayer,
my automatic eye-roll
tagging this act as
some sort of sad song
for the scared.

But today —
I paid this idea a revisit
and like a bolt
from heaven
it struck me that
praying need not be
a religious practice at all,
it does not even depend on
the existence of a subject 
(you need not pray to anyone)
for at its soft, hopeful center,
a prayer is not an encounter with
an external being
as much as a reckoning
with oneself.
The act of praying asks
something of us
alone
as we present ourselves 
naked and vulnerable,
devoid of pretense or irony,
rendering each of us
raw, essential
before the sweet mercy of 
whatever may rise alongside
tomorrow’s sun.

So hell —
let us pray indeed,
for when we do 
we are offering up our
purest selves
to the unknown,
and most times 
that is all the answer
we need.