This is a serial about love and awakening. Click here to start with Part One.

This blog, “Sex Love Enlightenment,” just started being featured on the Huffington Post. In order for the posts on HP to catch up with the installments posted here, we’re going to take a two week intermission from the story of Billy The Bad. It’s far from over – it gets more surprising, funny and juicy. So please be patient. In the meantime, I’ll be posting other stories in the same arena.


Let me tell you about Verlean Holland. I met her while researching the article I wrote for Oprah magazine on people who find love late. Verlean was 66 when we spoke, an African-American living in the Bronx, New York. She had been alone for 15 years after her husband died, but she was always busy with her work for the Board of Education, her church and her grandchildren. Several years ago, because of budget cuts, she lost her job testing children in special ed.

She lay down on her bed one night and said out loud: “Lord, I am sooo lonely. Please send me someone who will love me just for me, and I will love him for himself.” She prayed for a husband who shared her faith and “could go to church with me. That’s what I wanted most.”

Does it make sense to pray for love?

“Prayer is under-rated in Buddhist circles,” I was told by a teacher at Naropa University, which was founded by Buddhists. What he meant was that in prayer, you’re engaging with what you hold as divine, or greater than the personal self. According to Larry Dossey, who wrote the book on prayer, the least powerful prayer is one that asks for something specific for oneself. The most powerful is, “Thy will be done.” But any form of prayer can be a powerful means of clarifying and fixing your intention. Which doesn’t mean you’ll get what you pray for. As the philosopher Mick Jagger sang, “You Get What You Need.”

In Verlean’s case, the answer to her prayer was under her nose. A man in her extended circle, Rodney Holland, called “Pop” by friends and family, had recently lost his son in a car crash. Pop had befriended Verlean’s youngest son, Tyrone, when Verlean’s oldest son was killed in a shooting. Pop, a retired postal worker, had been coming to Verlean’s house every Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but she’d paid him no attention. “He was a friend of my baby,” she explains. Her friends would tease: “That man likes you.” Verlean would say, “No, he don’t.”

On New Year’s Eve of 2004, Pop came to dinner at Verlean’s, as he had for years, and everyone went to church and then a party. Verlean couldn’t stand the loud rap music, so Pop escorted her home. Then he started calling and taking her to movies. After a few weeks, he said, “We’re too old to be datin’. I want a wife, not a girlfriend.”

Did you accept right away? I asked.

“Oh, yes. I wasn’t going to let him get away.” They already knew and loved each other’s children and grandkids. “Looking back,” Verlean says, “it was like a cake that had to be baked up. The man knew me, and I knew who he was. I liked his gentleness, and he treated me with high respect.” At their church wedding, all their offspring and siblings walked down the aisle.

BUT… Then came the dilemma of getting what you pray for.

Pop moved into Verlean’s apartment, “and that was horrible,” she says. “That first year was haaaard. I’m used to doing things my way. I’m used to cleanin’ and pickin’ up. He doesn’t clean and pick up. He likes to watch TV. I don’t like TV,” she says.

It took her many months to come to terms with the situation. “I realized: I love him a lot, and he loves me a lot. Let me accept him the way he is — that’s what I asked for. Stop screamin’ about little things and just adapt.”

They set up a day room for Pop with his TV, “and I have my own room where I can pray and listen to gospel music,” Verlean says. She’s grateful to have someone “to grow old with. I escort him to the doctor and he escorts me. One of the best parts for Verlean is that “we go to church together. I like to dress up, but at first he was casual. I told him, ‘A man needs to be in a suit on Sunday.'”

And so he is.


Please leave a comment. Is prayer the same as the law of attraction? Do you practice and/or believe in either?
This blog is based on a true story, but I’ve changed names and identifying details to protect privacy. I’ve also, in a few cases, compressed time or altered elements to serve the narrative.



Subscribe to Sara’s Blog:

CLICK HERE to order The December Project.


I look forward to hearing your thoughts and conversing. So please leave a comment below.

12 thoughts on “Part 12 – CAN YOU PRAY FOR LOVE?

  1. Beauregard

    I meet a wonderful Catholic woman and she said she had prayed to meet someone like me. I think I made her miserable before it was over. I am a believer; I believe there is no god and among the worst of religions is the Catholic church as it operates. I at least liked this woman, we had a lot of fun, perhaps I loved her. At the time, I didn't know what love was.
    She really thought GOD had brought me to her. Since then I have intensified my atheism. We still talk from time to time. I wonder what she thinks about prayer now.

  2. Bluekelpie

    Hi Sara,
    To me, a prayer such as the one to meet your great love is the same thing as stating to the Universe that your heart is open to receive this romantic love. It is stated with sacred intention. So, you know the rest, the “Universe conspires to assist you.” One of my favorite professors (of Eastern studies … Tibetan Buddhism) was talking to me about a trip to Tibet and he said he would pray for a particular thing to happen. I asked him who he prayed to and he laughed and said, “To everybody I know!” I think I “pray” to the collective consciousness. Anyway, I believe that, YES, you can pray for love.(just be very specific!)
    Respect and Blessings, Joey

  3. Barb

    My heart skips a beat when I see your email….because I LOVE reading what you have to say. I believe prayer is whatever you want it to be. I believe there is no wrong way to do it. When you are in the “gap” or “flow”, the puzzle pieces fall into place so easily. I needed to hear myself say this today. Thank you for this blog to jog my memory.

  4. Brea

    I believe that to soome extent the laws of attraction do bring to you what you think you're going to get. So, pray, but be proactive. If you sit in your room praying, probably nothing will happen. If you're out and about, participating in stuff, your prayers are much more likely to take shape. There were times when I was so disgusted with the quality of what the cat drug in on the dating website that I almost went off it. But I knew there was no one in my town to date,and if I signed off, I wouldn't even be able to hope. I hung in and found someone. I think what's good about praying is the optimism and hope it gives you; and everyone prefers and optimist.

  5. Barbara

    It doesn't matter what it is called, but creating intention could be called prayer. If the intention is great enought the universe will provide

  6. Fair_Elaine

    I'm thinking that we should only pray for others.
    I feel kind of selfish when I pray for myself, yet…I pray for the health and well being of those I love and those they love. Is that selfish? I suppose it could be.

  7. rick the celestial cowboy

    the holy russian rasputin prayed for the health of animals, family and friends when he was a child. horses and cows were healed, family members were healed and rasputin rose to become the most powerful holy man in russia. i have a 6 year old nephew named gino who prayed for a horse owned by a friend three months ago. the horse got well. gino prayed for a member of his family who was sick. the family member recovered. and when a young trainer named justin asked gino, whose reputation was spreading, to pray for a harness horse named chocolate au lait that he had just claimed and that was running in a race, gino did — and the horse won.

  8. Frederick

    My personal belief is that God is the Universe and vice versa. Also that the Universe (God) has a consciousness and a purpose. Therefore all religions have meaning and sanctity.

  9. Sunnymay

    In general a prayer is more like a thought with an aim for change or improvement. It is sent in hope that a positive outcome results. I like and find “What you get is what you need, not always what you want.”

  10. Dyana

    Prayer helps bring our heart's wishes to us because it sets us up to receive them. It puts us in a receptive frame of mind, open to possibilities. It's not about beseeching a “Being” to do something for you. It's more that you reach out into the Universe (which is part of you, but is yet too separate,) and seek cohesion with the world. You are asking for your surroundings to come into focus with your heart.

  11. Bluekelpie

    Well put, Brea! You do have to get out there and be proactive. The Universe helps those who help themselves. “Prayer” sets the intention; like a magic spell … ahh!

  12. Dr. Barbra

    Have you read The Year of Wishing by Noelle Oxenhandler?

    She is a Buddhist and a good writer, too.
    I followed her instructions and some of my prayers were answered and otehrs have not been yet.
    I figure the Universe knows what is best for me.

Comments are closed.