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Ants are creatures of little strength,
yet they store up their food in the summer; (Proverbs 30:25)


One of the main differences with the ant and the praying mantis is that the mantis is solitary. A solitary hunter. It has no massive army it can rely on to hunt down larger prey. It cannot scavenge on left over crumbs or carcasses. It is only designed to hunt fresh insects alive. When attacked by other predators it fights alone. It relies on its camouflage and quick reflexes. And prayer.
 
The prayer of this insect is a wonder to behold.  Ever wonder what the mantid is “praying” for? It stands motionless on a leaf or branch for minutes, sometimes even hours. Its patience in waiting for prey is unparalleled, almost never having to chase it. It just waits and prays. Then it preys, in the opportune time.
 
There are many things we learn from nature. From the hunting technique of a pride of lions or a pack of wolves we learn the value of teamwork. How about a flight of birds in a large triangular flying pattern to make the journey easier and more efficient? How did they know of these things?
 
Sometimes our lives can imitate or maybe should imitate nature’s hard lessons. The mantid is God’s creature. It knows it is God’s creature. It knows nothing else. Because of that it is confident that its very need will be taken care of. All it needs to do is trust and rely on the gifts of camouflage and speed. And the prey will come.
 
In the 6th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus talks about the needlessness of human worrying when God takes care of even the small creatures of nature. Worrying is always done in vain. It brings absolutely nothing and is an utter waste of time and energy.
 
So what is the mantid praying for? Is it for the next prey? Or maybe it is just a prayer of thankfulness for being taken care of:
 
There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.

There the ships go to and fro,
and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

These all look to you
to give them their food at the proper time. (Psalm 104: 25-27)


Insects will rule the world. They already rule the world. In fact insects are the most adaptable and resourceful creatures in this planet. That is probably why they are so numerous. Even the Book of Proverbs alludes to the ant as having no leader yet works in harmony with its companions:
 
Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler, (Proverbs 6: 6-7)

What do we as humans pray for? We pray for world peace. We pray for protection from natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti. Recently we all have prayed for healing from man-made disasters like the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Even good things will eventually come from such things as hard as it may seem. I have developed this website because I believe we can all tune in to the beautiful things of nature and learn a thing or two.
 
Maybe we can learn to pray for trust that even in the midst of turmoil and destruction our spirits will not be crushed or broken.
 
The praying mantis has become a symbol of patience and stillness. It has been the subject of folklore and a culprit for a style of martial arts. It is a symbol revered in many countries such as China. It has learned to grow and strive in a world of uncertainty simply by praying constantly to its Creator. Maybe we can to?

By Noy Ilao