Old UP school chum Yolanda "Yoyo" Punsalan unfailingly sends me every Thursday morning her notes from the previous evening's Bible class held at the Potter's House Christian Ministry in Mandaluyong City.
Other friends from my Paulinian years also send me chain prayers. I love reading through them, a welcome interruption from the computer work I do because those powerful prayers remind me to pause and acknowledge the Greatest Being whose powers are beyond measure, who hears the heart's cries and desires, and chooses when, in this Greatest Being's time, not in human time, to give the answer.
Yoyo's pastor reminded his congregation that it is best, and may I add beautiful, to pray early in the morning. Why? Because we cannot predict, we cannot fully know--no matter how much planning has been done the day or the weeks before--what will happen to us the rest of the day.
Prayer has assumed an assortment of forms in my small life. There were the rote, almost formulaic prayers we had to learn in an all-girls' Catholic school from the rosary to the Act of Contrition (my personal favorite is the Credo or Apostles' Creed recited at Mass). For a time I tried total and trance-like silence, perhaps a Buddhist-like meditation. I went through dream work or the study of dreams to find metaphorical, even archetypal, links to the divine source.
These days I go for walks and have quiet conversations with cloudless blue skies, with white un-spotted or unmarked butterflies, with water-starved grass beneath my feet, with bromeliads and succulents that manage very well during this dry season, and so on. Now that's a clear betrayal of where once I belonged--among the Flower Power generation.
In my gloaming and graying years I like to also begin that hour before sunlight finally breaks through with a bit of, correction, with a lot of music that can be anything from Martha Argerich performing Rach 3 with a full orchestra or the Czech National Symphony Orchestra playing the theme from a favorite TV show from my childhood, "Mission Impossible."
It's amazing how the spirit soars with music. Before I know it I'm working as fast as I can or as fast as I can manage, given my limitations at 59, and somehow the day before me, no matter its unpredictability, is something to look forward to. Yesterday, even if something or someone ruined it, is past.
And so we all pray.