I WAS RAISED IN A VERY RELIGIOUS AND LOVING HINDU FAMILY in India. Prayer has always been a part of my life, but I thought prayer mostly involved doing things such as fasting, chanting, worshipping idols, and making pilgrimages to certain religious sites. As for God, I used to think that He was not fair to everyone and that He blessed some people while punishing others.
Last year, I approached a college professor of mine to offer her sweets that my parents had received during a pilgrimage to a temple. It is customary to offer these sweets, or prasad, to anyone you interact with as a type of blessing. I told this professor that my parents had visited this specific religious place in order to pray for me.
At the time, I was completing a master's degree. I had low self-esteem and felt quite lonely. I saw myself as being inferior in some ways, and because of the faults I saw in myself, I thought that God loved me less than others.