The older I get, the more I look like the letter “C.” I use a computer a lot, so I tend to slouch. Also, I’m nearsighted and hate wearing glasses, yet everything that requires my attention (stuff on countertops, the stove, pets) seems to have been placed inconveniently low for someone of my height (six feet), so I bend some more. My core, if I ever had one, has degenerated into mush and my bones are turning to rubble (osteoporosis, fie!) so I sort of sink in the middle as I become more and more tired…. The end result? A “C” curve. I fear I will fall further and further, until I’m a loop. Perhaps my husband can roll me through the house.

And it’s not just me. All of us humans tend toward circles. I just read a fascinating article about how, if you blindfold a person (or place him in fog, complete darkness, or other sight-diminishing circumstances) and ask him to walk, drive or otherwise move himself in a straight line across some distance, he will end up making circles, loop after loop, until he either winds up where he started, or runs into a tree or other unfortunately placed item. Without sight cues like a mountain or a building to guide us, we can’t walk a straight line.

This reminds me of why I pray. God is my mountain — He shows me where I want to go — but prayer keeps me on track. It’s like echolocation is to bats or whales. It helps me finds my way, stay on the path, keep my eyes ahead on what is important. Prayer grounds me. It keeps me from running in circles, willy-nilly, never making progress. Because, let’s face it, we’re all blindfolded to some degree. If we saw with complete clarity, we would never hurt one another or ourselves. But things get in the way: jobs, people, everyday life, our own psychological tics. We need something to pull our eyes out of our own navels and show us the world not just realistically, but with hope. Because without hope, there’s no use standing up at all. You might as well curl up in a ball and die.

All of this is to say that I pray because I need to see the way. But we all have different reasons to pray. That’s sort of how this blog came about…the need for us to talk about prayer and create prayer so we can find our way to the light. Or express our emotions. Or shower God with rightful praise. Or whatever it is that motivates each one of us to a prayerful life.

So what about you? Why do you pray?