To be honest, day 5 was a bit meh. In terms of the praying, that is. The day was alright. The prayer time was difficult because my cat, who - like all cats - thinks she is God, was loudly demanding that I pay attention to her. So I was unable to settle into it.
Today, I felt a lot of things. For the first time, I got on my knees, in the hope that it would help me concentrate. It kind of did.
I began with the usual prayer for revelation. "God, you know me, you know I used to believe in you. If you're there, please show yourself to me."
I felt fear. What if God was there? What if it was the God that I abandoned in my 20s - the God of the Bible? A homophobic God who would demand that I dissolve my civil partnership (or at least never do anything more than hug my wife) and who thought, on balance, that it was better for me to go through three transplants than to heal me? Not to mention a God who is happy to sit back and watch millions of people die of starvation, drown in floods, be crushed in earthquakes etc only to punish most of them for eternity for failing to believe something for which the evidence is pretty shoddy? I really don't want that sod to be real.
Also, as a matter of personal pride, how bloody embarrassing would it be to discover I'd been wrong all these years? How my atheist friends might mock me for so easily succumbing to auto-suggestion. (I'm a suggestible person and I was aware, coming into this experiment, that I'd need to be wary of this.)
I also felt sad. I have depression, which is treated but I've been ill this week and that often aggravates it.
A voice in my head seemed to speak.
"Would you like me to help your sadness?"
Was this God? I'm pretty sure the Christians reading this will be thinking "Yes!" Sorry, guys, I don't think it was. I suppose it could have been, but I think it's far more probable that it was a part of me - a wise part to which I listen far too infrequently. I used to spend more time in contemplation and often heard a wise voice. Moreover, the idea that gratitude can help combat sadness is something I learned a long time ago, from friends. I think the human brain is very good at digging up answers, given time to forage.
My conclusion from the experiment so far is that while I am still an atheist, a few minutes' meditation at the start of each day is a worthwhile habit.