How to Pray (When You Really Really Don’t Want To)


Prayer is a central part of many religious traditions. But what is prayer? And how do we do it? How do we separate our religious bias from a spiritual way of prayer?

Defining Your Relationship With Prayer

When it comes to Prayer, there is no One-size-fits-all definition. Peoples’ relationship to prayer differs based on their religious tradition, personal beliefs, and spiritual practices. However, there are some common threads that can help us understand what prayer is and why people do it. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the different ways people approach prayer and what it means to them.

Overcoming Your Reluctance to Pray

So, by force or favors, you’ve arrived at Step 3. Do these “meeting-makers” really expect, all of the sudden, that you’re going to believe in some omnipresent, invisible, floating Santa Clause, just beyond the clouds and sky? And on top of that, you’re going to start talking to him twice a day?

In a word: yes. That’s exactly what they expect.

Thankfully, we’ve got some fool-proof advice that you can take to the bank, which will never ever fail you, and works exactly 100% of the time:

Fake it. Fudge it. BS it.

Make believe. Pretend.

Imagine you are speaking into the microphone of a transistor radio, catapulting your voice into the outer reaches of the universe. Perhaps you’ll say something like:

I don’t believe in this. I don’t like doing this. God, this is stupid. I resent this, I’m doing this because I have to. **** this *********.”

Well done! Now, do you expect a friendly Martian to respond with his best wishes in the next 6-10 business days? You don’t.* So why are you doing it?

Mostly, you are doing it so you can answer honestly and in the affirmative when you are asked by newcomers to the program if you pray.

But, to some small extent, and ever so gradually more so, you are doing it because you respect yourself for doing something that you do not like doing, which shows humility, and which does so when no one else is watching.

Making time to pray

The act of prayer is an important part of many people’s lives. Prayer can help us to find peace in troubled times, to give thanks for the good things in our lives, and to ask for guidance and strength. But sometimes it can be difficult to find the time to pray. Life is busy and often demands our full attention. So how can we make time to pray?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Schedule time for prayer: Set aside a specific time each day for prayer. This can be first thing in the morning, during lunch, in the evening, or whenever you have a moment.
  • Keep it short: If you don’t have a lot of time, don’t worry. You can still pray effectively even if you only have a few minutes.

What if You Still Don’t Want to Pray?

Perhaps you refuse to participate in this practice on the basis of your atheism. You are free to do so. And good luck.

However, it must be said that you are staking your resistance upon a conviction which you cannot prove. And this is rather like the pot calling the kettle black. So you cannot much fault us, the kettle, for planting our thumbs upon our noses, waggling our fingers and stating simply but ad nauseam that it takes one to know one.

There are those who will tell you that you do not know what is best for you; that your ideas are no good. We do not say this to you now. We simply ask that you tolerate the feelings of certain discomfort that will arise as you begin this practice. Allow them into the experience. Your prayers are yours and yours alone. Now, tomorrow and always.

Just speak into the microphone.

*You may, however, experience a mind-bending, life-affirming, soul-exponentiating paradigm shift in itty bitty increments, day by day, by day, by day….


If you need help with creating a path for your prayers here is a list of prayers we often say in our recovery.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Oak Forest Recovery can help be the foundation of a new way of life allowing you to grow the connections in a community committed to spiritual growth.

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