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A Prayer for Healing

 

I have been very anxious lately, about the start of my social work internship and my research class, both of which I’ve been dreading since before I applied to graduate school. I haven’t found much that helps with the anxiety. Anti-anxiety meds like Xanax and Valium just wipe me out, meditation makes me more anxious, exercise is good, but leaves me exhausted. I’ve gotten better at asking for help from the people around me, but there’s just so much they can do. When you have no control, what can you do but pray?

Part of me really does believe that prayers sent out to God do reach some energy in the universe. It’s an imperfect system, like tweeting out to the world at large and hoping that the right person, who may not even be on twitter, hears you. But there’s a chance, and it’s better than not sending the message at all. I don’t believe that God puts my request on a list and then decides whether or not I deserve the help I want. I believe that somehow my message ping pongs around the universe, and if I’m lucky, it snowballs and connects with other energies and comes back to me in some form, hopefully something helpful.

I pray for my dogs all the time. I used to pray for Cricket to find comfort and calm. I would put my prayers into her scratching sessions, hoping that the practical behaviors I could do for her would be transformed into something more. And I am always praying for Butterfly – that she will have a good life, that her heart will last a bit longer – and I believe that my prayers work for her. Butterfly is a very good vessel for prayer, because she absorbs energy into her body and spirit without much of a defense system, whereas Cricket is more circumspect and “rational.” It is harder for Cricket to hear the prayers said for her, and to absorb the love sent her way, because there is so much interference – so much static in her system. But she still needs the good energy to be sent her way, even if only one prayer out of a thousand gets through her tough hide.

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“Do prayers come with chicken treats?”

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“I refuse to be healed. Deal with it.”

The cantor at my synagogue was ill this summer (don’t worry, he’s better now) and had to take months off from work. He spent a great deal of time alone, but, he said, because of all of the people in the congregation who reached out to him, and all of the people he knew were thinking of him and praying for him, he never felt like he was alone. This is what prayer can do. Just knowing that someone is praying for you on a regular basis can be healing, and make you feel cared for and safe.

And reaching out to God ourselves can make us feel less alone, even when we are physically alone. It reminds us of the human beings who wrote the prayers, of the people who taught us those prayers, of the times we have prayed together, and of all of the people who may be saying those same prayers at the same time all around the world. There’s a humility to prayer, a recognition that we can’t solve everything on our own, and are not expected to. Reminding ourselves of that on a regular basis can be healing in itself.

I think dogs pray too. First they ask directly for what they want: a walk, a treat, attention. But when the request is denied, or when they are left alone – when they feel powerless – I think they must pray the way we do. Like Butterfly picking up one of my socks when I was a way at the hospital, and carrying it in her mouth. The sock could be seen as a transitional object, as a way for her to hold onto me and feel close to me – or it could be seen as a prayer, that she would soon see me again.

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“Where’s Mommy?”

Cricket talks to God all the time with her barking. She isn’t so much telling me, or Mom, that danger is at the door, she is calling on God to protect her family. And most of the time, God seems to come through for her, so, it works!

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“Of course God listens to me. I am Cricket, and I am always right.”

Music is the best delivery system for prayer, because it reaches our hearts so much more quickly than words alone. It works especially well when we pray in groups, because it brings all of those heartbeats into the same rhythm, the same space, so that not only can you hear the words being spoken to you, you can feel everyone in the room coming together.

Ever since the cantor’s illness this summer, and the string of national and international disasters that have been overwhelming everyone, my synagogue has returned to the practice of singing a healing prayer at the end of Friday night services. People have found great comfort in singing it together, and saying the names of loved ones in need of healing, out loud or silently. I want it to work for me, but it doesn’t. Maybe the problem is that I don’t believe that my anxiety is worthy of a healing prayer, or maybe my hide is just as tough as Cricket’s and it will take a lot more prayer to get through. We are related, after all.

 

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“Is that supposed to be a compliment?”

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

162 responses »

  1. Patience. I have had to learn it in my adult years. Patience and prayer go hand and hand. I will say a few prayers for you, I hear your call.

    Peace, Rachel.

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  2. Rachel, you will be in my prayers. It is true that believing in prayer helps release its power into our lives. One habit that I’ve found helpful is “praying” the psalms. Try it.:)

    Shalom,
    Jeanne

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  3. This has touched my heart. I have a lot of people praying for me as I fight cancer since April. It heartens me to know people care and so I will add you to my prayers, Rachel

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  4. Three Pups and a Couple of Kitties

    Rachel,
    First of all I’m giving you a hug. I will be praying for you as you tackle your internship and research class. I work at a university and although I don’t know exactly what you are dealing with I do understand the stress of challenging classes, deadlines and tough semesters.
    I’m sure Cricket and Butterfly will be happy to provide some pup therapy like my pups do for me.
    I look forward to hearing how things go.
    Take care ~ Margret

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  5. Sending soothing thoughts. Something what really helps me is deep breathing and putting my attention onto my breath and trying to take it off my thinking, especially if my thoughts are anxiety provoking. There is a lot of information on the net on simple things to do that may help relieve anxiety. Not always easy to do but for what it’s worth you might want to look at askdrweil.com and see if there are easy suggestions that might resonate with you. If you’re not familiar with him he’s a Harvard trained M.D. who is considered the father of integrative medicine and runs that school at the University of Arizona medical school. Again, sending you good thoughts that all works out well for you. Hug to you and the fur babies. ❤

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  6. All the best by HIS grace.

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  7. “I refuse to be healed. Deal with it” just cracked me up. I pray for my Teemu. He has had too many seizures lately. My vet had me write up a list of ‘quality of life’ items for him. My list is short, but I still ask God to give Teemu more…more time, more quality of life. I hope it works, Rachel. For all of us.

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  8. Rachel I love this post. I brought tears to my eyes. Dog’s do pray. They are so special in our lives.

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  9. Sending hugs and healing thoughts for you and the fluffy two.

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  10. Rachel, I have terrible anxiety and always have. I take medication for it, but occasionally I will go through a stressful period of life and realize the meds have stopped working because I’m quite literally hiding in my bedroom, paralyzed by anxiety. Some things do help, though. First of all, I make sure I am doing all the logical things to beat the anxiety–am I sleeping enough? Drinking too much caffeine? Eating regularly and nutritiously? Exercising? If one of those things has an unfavorable answer, I adjust it and that usually makes an immediate partial impact. Then I focus on the things I can do psychologically to reduce my anxiety level. I find when I start to get anxious, I’m engaging the emotional part of my brain, so I start doing something to engage the rational part. Something work-related that takes concentration, like an expense report. Often when I’m done doing the rational things, my anxiety is reduced because I haven’t fed that part of my brain for a while. I also find rationalizing, out loud (like a crazy person) to myself, helps. I look in the mirror and I say all the logical reasons why being anxious doesn’t make any sense, isn’t helping anything, and since anxiety is fear of the future, nothing has actually happened yet or may ever happen at all for me to be suffering this badly. I also remind myself that thinking positively creates positive outcomes. And then I say positive and soothing things to myself about all the good things I am and all the good things I’ve done and will continue to do. Another thing that helps me is being in nature. It’s hard to be extremely nervous when you’re sitting on your deck focusing on listening to the wind blow in the trees and smelling the air and feeling the sun shine on you. So, I do all those things, plus I vent to friends who do their best to support me, pray and vent to God, and kiss my dogs (always helps).
    I have battled this my whole life, along with mind-blowing depths of depression, some of which were amazing I’ve survived. So, I’ve thought a lot about it. If you need help, please reach out to me.

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  11. Anxiety can provide the engine for success, so long as it doesn’t prevent you from concentrating on your studies. Recall all great performers become anxious prior to their performances. Am channeling a sense of calmness your way.

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  12. Thank you for writing this and sharing your views on the power of prayer and what prayer is for you in your life. I love that! Prayers to God can feel like a Tweet or a Facebook post lol. I’ve come to think of God as the energy and life force behind this program of life and this God cannot feel, see, hear…have empathy or care….that’s what we were created for. We are the “body.” When you talk about what your cantor felt about so many people caring and praying for him….well that seems to be what it’s all about doesn’t it? God, Source, Universe…all the names IS everywhere at once but is incapable of being every where the way a human being or another life form can…tangibly! So we place the call to the “operator” and the operator makes the connection and a whole series of events gets set into motion. We just have to place the call right?! You placed your call and you’ll have to tell us the connection that has been made! You are on My prayer list! My prayer for you is whatever is for your greatest good! Love to you!

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  13. What synchronicity. You were reading my post as I was reading yours. Visualize how you want something to be, speak your belief, and wait for it to happen. 🙂

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  14. Jennifer Barraclough

    Thank you for your insightful blog. I wonder if you’ve considered Bach flower remedies and/or homeopathy to relive your anxiety?

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  15. My prayers are with you. I always think “this shall pass” and God is always with me. Pray and you will feel better.

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  16. I remember the nuns telling us that singing was like praying twice, it was that powerful. I loved choir, not church, just the choir, it was so peaceful singing hymns. Cricket must love her hymns 😀

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  17. Pingback: 20 Aug 2016 A Life Without Labels, Be Yourself (Audioslave song) | As I see it

  18. Sending you healing thoughts and energy. I never thought of dogs praying because I always thought that if each human received a spark of God’s light, dogs and cats got a couple of teaspoons. I think they’re closer to God than we are because they love so easily.

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  19. I love the idea that the dog is asking God to protect the family rather than telling you someone is at the door

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  20. Music that touches your soul must surely contain healing properties. I do understand your anxiety, and hope that your prayers will be answered.

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  21. I find that for some reason it is easier to believe for healing for others than ourselves…. Lately I have really come to appreciate Psalm 23…. it is very soothing…

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  22. Hi Rachel.
    What you’ve written is already your prayer to God and trust shines through in your writing. Psalm 23 helps me when I am troubled and feel lost. The Lord is our shepherd indeed. Hugs for you. — Carol

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  23. You have such a lovely way of writing and thinking. I will pray that your anxiety goes away. What’s the worse that can happen? Once you name it, then think, “Would that be the end of the world?” Of course not! Just do your best, don’t worry about making mistakes or what people might think about you. They’ll be thinking that they admire your desire to work hard and overcome obstacles, anyway.

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  24. Sending gods healing and prayers for you and just keep saying I am to blessed to be stressed amen

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  25. I am glad that my panic attacks are a thing of the past, though I still get the odd anxious moment which Maggie picks up on. Hubby and I had a ceremony over the toilet bowl as we flushed all my meds down the pan when I’d weaned myself off them. We stained the bowl with a rainbow of colour.
    Our four legged babies are our comfort and therapy. Bless your Little Angels.

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  26. Rachel, I pray that God shows you the strength in you, to deal with what you fear most. I agree with the previous poster (just do your best and don’t worry about making mistakes). We all make mistakes and the really good thing for you is that you will be coming home to Cricket and Butterfly who won’t mind if you make mistakes and will forgive you anything.

    Sometimes people can surprise you by forgiving you too.

    I hope you find a way to enjoy the internship and the classes – I’m sure you will because just through your writing you strike me as being sensitive to the needs of others, compassionate to those around you, and extremely insightful about many things. Best of luck!

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  27. tell me your favorite colors…we’ll have to exchange address…my email is dragontearsoflove@gmail.com. I’d love a couple of items you’re interested in as well, then I will send you a gift that I hope will surprise you.

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  28. Prayer helps to ground us all.

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  29. Thank you for reminding me about the power of prayer! I really need to call on it now as Millie has been diagnosed with heart disease.

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    • Oh no! Miss Butterfly is on two heart medications now, and she loves it, because:twice the peanut butter! I hope Millie’s diagnosis isn’t severe. All my best.

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      • The vet said it is life limiting, but with meds she could go on for another 2 years or possibly more. She is 12 now so I suppose I should have expected something like this, but it’s still a shock when it happens. Dogs just don’t get long enough.
        Peanut butter – that’s a great idea! 🙂

      • Butterfly is almost twelve too, and the doctor tells us the same thing. Butterfly is confident that peanut butter will add years to her life.

  30. harrowhoundsblog

    I understand how you feel re anxiety etc . I use this app
    https://www.calm.com . Really simple. Really works for me. May not for others but try the free trial. Take care 🙏🏻

    Reply
  31. The only real calm I ever have is when I really surrender the future to God (the hardest thing in the world for me to do). I can even be controlling in my prayers! I feel for you–the anxiety wheel is so difficult to get off of. Have you tried fish oil? We’ve been trying supplements on our foster child with PTSD and seeing amazing results.

    Anyway, always love your blog and will be praying for you.

    Love.
    A

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  32. We parrots don’t pray, we demand.

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  33. michaelsfriend

    I love your writing! I’m very nervous and always will be. God is the pilot and I’m his copilot and that keeps me going.

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  34. I really enjoy reading your posts.

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  35. We all hope that your anxiety lessens when you start your new routines; this often happens. As I’ve been laid low this week (but loads better, like your cantor), everyone has raised their minds and hearts to the Lord to keep me safe and we will all do the same for you. Pip and the boys

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  36. I feel our blogging community opens up more avenues to help us too…….many are out there praying, sending thoughts, thinking of us–it’s quite amazing considering we will never meet most of them! xo

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  37. Yes we are indeed all related – I like how you said that….God created everything – and – everyone!

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  38. Now what we need here is a few cats to enter the picture. Cats are so perfectly self-contained that it just has to rub off on the owner. But perhaps dealing with cats muscling in on your dogs would elevate your anxiety to new heights.
    Just heard an interview with the author of a book on the ego. His theory is that we tend either to rest on our laurels if we think we’re higher achievers than others, or avoid taking on challenges to protect our ego. His advice is to concentrate on the job, the work, and how to get better at it, and not on how our ego is reacting. Makes sense to me.

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  39. I know how crippling anxiety can be. I love that you pray for your dogs. I pray for my cats, too.

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  40. Xanax with two cups of coffee can do your anxiety good it worked for me, no exhaustion no frumpy sleeping either! Good luck, Brest in Brest out relax life is a cup of chocolate ice cream! xx

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  41. Hi Rachel, thanks so much for your openness! Sometimes it does feel like our prayers don’t go higher than the ceiling. I’m not just trying to be “religious” here, rather practical. Prayer really does go to God (Who is closer than we think! (See Acts 17:27.) and research bears this out. Even the Psalmist doubted God (Psalm 22).

    I certainly have my periods of doubts, because obviously, we can’t experience God with any of our 5 senses. I’ve also prayed for God to carry me through times of depression/anxiety when I felt like a zombie, and He always has given me strength to get to the other side of the tunnel–and that tunnel ain’t easy.

    Again, please don’t take this as me just spouting a bunch of religious propaganda because I always try to keep it real. I’ll lift a prayer for you this morning that you’ll find something that works for you (meds, talking it out, writing, or whatever.)

    Hugs!
    Stephanie

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  42. First of all, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful insight into what prayer actually is. I’ve been struggling to come back to the concept after many years of discounting it. Your concept is actually quite close to mine. I have been meditating for many years and find it serves the same person. A quiet mind is able to hear that “little voice” whether it’s coming from God, the Universe, or your inner self.
    I do hope you find peace before the fall semester begins. I know your anxiety rules you but try to remind yourself it serves no purpose because you cannot do anything about your classes until each day you attend. I find great solace in Eckhart Tolle and what sticks in my mind right now is his having said “There is no such thing as tomorrow since the moment we g get there it’s already today.” Those aren’t his exact words, but close enough.

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  43. Never forget you are wonderful and he will bear you up lest you dash your foot against a stone. Just ask Cricket.

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  44. I have been feeling incredibly anxious over the last few weeks myself. I feel it physically (which can not be good) and I am mentally drained. I think part of it is hormones and part of it is feeling overwhelmed by the fact that I am getting older and things are changing, my life isn’t where I want it to be, etc.
    I do know for certain, your prayers are not put on a list and not ping-ponged around, but they go directly to a loving God who cares about each one of us individually and on a personal level.
    But we are human, so we allow ourselves to let the anxiety get the better of us! We have to keep praying and allow God to take over!
    Animals are God’s creation, just as we are, so he cares about each one of them as well. I believe he speaks with them, why wouldn’t he? He created them.
    I love the pictures of your dogs! I have an animal blog:
    https://animalsarefeelingbeingstoo.com

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  45. I enjoyed your post and I am happy to send distant Reiki healing if you so wish ❤

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  46. I make my own anxiety. Sometimes I do a really good job of it and go through the (e)motions of reaction and response that are appropriate for what I have made. I watch what I eat, drink, think and feel to corral my anxiety, saddle it, and ride it like a wild bronco. But by and large I am quite calm and pray multiple times a day. Prayer, its whats for breakfast, its out to lunch, and can eat your dinner.

    Reply

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