Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, China and global economic crisis have got me praying again. And it seems to be working – Jim Duffy

I don’t think there has ever been a time in my lifetime that I have felt less secure as a human being. It worries me somewhat.

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 4:45 pm
Jim Duffy has started praying again and thinks many other people will have too in these troubled times (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Jim Duffy has started praying again and thinks many other people will have too in these troubled times (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

We have a President of the United States who just lies and lies, but many Americans seem blind to this behaviour. The White House has lost its prestige and I kinda needed to still believe that it has some integrity. But, that has gone.

We have another fellow in 10 Downing Street, who also peddles politics in a fashion that my instinct tells me is plain wrong.

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We have a resurgent China that is making its presence known in a way that is causing tensions in that region and globally. And we have a world economy that is like a pile of cards held together by cheap wood glue, as a hurricane moves towards it. Never more have I felt the need to pray.

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Yes, for an individual who has turned his back on organised religion, I have an increasing propensity to find a church, chapel, temple or synagogue and simply get down on my knees and speak to a higher power. But, rather than wait to find one, I just started talking towards the sky in a deliberate fashion.

And it is working. I think someone is listening to me and it makes me wonder if you are praying that bit more too as we exist in what feels like a biblical era.

Over the past two to three months, I have wanted or perhaps needed a few things to work out well for me. Normally I would just let life take its own path and hope for the best outcomes to play out. However, this time and for no real reason, I have been proactive and started chatting to an angel. The Angel Gabriel actually.

Gabriel, for anyone who studies the Bible, is the angel that God the Father sent to announce that he was sending his only son – Jesus – to live among us. It’s all there in the New Testament, should you care to peruse it or even believe it.

So, this “angel” is one of the top guys, you see. Gabriel is the voice of God, chosen to communicate his message. And what is more pertinent, I found out, he is my Guardian Angel as it related to my date of birth. Being born in July means Gabriel is my protector. So, with all that socially constructed context, I made a conscious, human decision to start a conversation with him.

For me and probably many of you, praying was always a bit prescriptive. There are prayers that have been handed down the centuries for us, determined by the religions we follow or were given at birth.

I was baptised a Roman Catholic, so the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” prayers were the staple diets of any prayer sessions. But, I’ve moved beyond that now. And the strangest thing is it feels pretty good, liberating and a two-way conversation. Here is how it goes.

I felt I needed three “favours” granted to me at a time in my life when I could really do with some luck, goodwill or divine intervention. No-one was sick, ill or dying, so these favours were what one might quite rightly call selfish or financially driven. I was not praying for world peace, a great result in the US election or for some poor soul that needed comfort and peace.

No, this was all about me and my family. But, having considered this, I set out my stall to Gabriel, added in St Micheal and St Jude and away we all went.

Effectively, within two months, I had two out of three of my “favours” granted. I am still holding out for three out of three. I have discussed this with Gabriel and he knows it is time-bound and has a condition placed upon it from my side. In short, if he grants it, I must give up something as a quid pro quo. Alas, I am still praying and have faith that if it is for me, then Gabriel will see it through.

How does this make you feel as you read this? Am I nuts? Deluded? Am I holding onto something that does not exist? Is it just coincidence that two out of my three requests have fallen into place so quickly and so well?

Or do you believe in the power of prayer? Is there a God that you worship and trust will do the right thing? And this is the bit that I have been dismissive of in the past. I have questioned others’ “faith”. And that is not anyone’s right to do so, I would suggest.

Praying is a very personal thing. My interpretation of God or the Angel Gabriel is very different from what others may determine is relevant to them. But, it is the fact that I am engaging in a human behaviour classified as ‘praying” that feels like it reinforces my humanity. Weakness, some might say, while others would characterise it as open-minded and expansive.

Regardless of the stance you take, this boy is praying again and, weirdly, in my realm of consciousness, I am being listened to. I am questioning many things and making promises to Gabriel. It feels very real and makes me wonder how many others out there, who perhaps have given up organised religion, still pray and feel and a connection with a higher power.

One thing is for sure, I bet I’m not alone.

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