What is the point of praying?

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I used to go to church – well religiously – I felt that is what I needed to do.  To stop God -who I viewed as a guy with a stick from hitting me over the head – every time I did anything wrong.  It was my way of appeasing him. I used to pray as well – although kind of superficially.

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For me prayer is the first step on the path to forgiveness.

There was a guy at worker a few years ago who bullied me really badly (well at least from my perspective), he literally refused to talk to me (which is kind of difficult when we needed to work together) and then made malicious false complaints about me on a monthly basis.  I had a huge resentment against him  and was worried that I would loose my job – either because I would walk out being no longer able to take his bullying or because he would get me fired.

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I got told by a someone to pray for him – everyday for a fortnight – which I did.  When that didn’t help – I got told to carry on praying for him.  The days all kind of merged into each other – but I think I must have been praying for him for a couple of years altogether.  It took a long time to get to get any results – I’m not really sure what happened and I am still slightly nervous around him – perhaps understandably – however its been a while (touch wood) since he has made any complaints about me, when I moved jobs this summer, he told me he would miss me.  In the last year, he has even asked for my help and advice on none work related matters.

Our relationship changed – other things happened in the interim – he got a warning for bullying me (I didn’t have anything to do with that – I guess people get fed up of having to investigate false complaints on a monthly basis).  I’m not really sure what else changed for him but for me its difficult to pray that someone gets the things I want for myself everyday – without starting to see the other person as a human and have some empathy for them.  I think its also worth noting that I also saw a lot of myself in him.

I also prayed for my colleagues who stood by and did nothing – while watching this unfold – that was another source of resentment no one would support me – I guess because they didn’t want the same thing to happen to them.  I hope that if I ever see another person being bullied – I will have the courage to support them.

He has never asked for my forgiveness for the months of hell he put me through – I still have no idea why he bullied me – but at least for today – we have a positive relationship and without all that time spent praying for him – I think however much he changed I would always have held a grudge against him – which would have stopped us trying to form some kind of professional relationship.

 

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