Only My Opinions

PRAY – IN TRUTH and IN SPIRIT

Why do we pray?

We pray when we find ourselves in life situations where we believe we cannot – by ourselves – achieve the happiness we are hoping for. We believe that we only have the power to control certain things in life, while the rest can only be controlled by the entities or deities we refer to as God – in the different forms we perceive them to be. These conceptions of God, by religion and by each person’s definition, are often of an almighty being whose power is beyond us and who, according to our beliefs, needs to be appeased as a way to earn us favours, to be received in our moments of need. In that way, the primary reason why we ever pray as we currently do, is simply because we believe in our own limitations – our inability to find answers and restore our own peace of mind.

How do we pray?

We often pray at certain places; at certain times of day, week, month or year; according to the different bodily postures, sounds, movements, rituals, conditions and procedures we set for ourselves, which we believe would increase the likelihood that our prayers would be answered. Regardless of our fervency, our prayers often go ‘unheard’ and ‘unanswered’, and we continue to suffer from the unhappiness we sought our deities to save us from. We may then continue to pray for the same thing, over and over again, or even give up in some cases, simply because we are never guaranteed to receive what we petition for. Sometimes, everything goes our way; we make our prayers and the solutions come – we receive what we prayed for and even more. However, the fact that we are inconsistent in our ability to always get the results we expect, makes it reasonable to wonder just why some of our prayers get answered, while others are not – an admission that we don’t quite know how to pray.

Who do we pray to?

Maybe in our attempt to understand our power to realise what we pray for, we need to ask ourselves who this deity (God) is, that we are praying to, and where it is during the times when we are busy making life decisions that would ultimately get us in trouble. Yes, we make decisions that ultimately result into the situations we need to be saved from, and if the deity we are praying to is the one that we believe has also created and given us the power to make those decisions; could it be that it has also given us the power to change those decisions and the means to restore our happiness? The answer to this question is what should help us determine for ourselves just where God is, in relation to us; whether separate from us or within us. When we believe God is separate from us, we then appeal to it wherever it is, but if it is within us, that means we are one with it, and we then begin to look for answers within. In that case, our self-understanding would be the key to understanding the dynamics of the power we already possess, in which is the ability to answer our prayers.

We rarely improve the rate at which our prayers get answered because we hardly look back to the cause and effect relationships involved in praying and receiving. For that reason, we are not able to see the connection between how in the past we prayed for something and what happened during the time while we were ‘waiting’ for it, until it finally came true. This awareness is what would enable us to see what we did right the last time we prayed, in order to repeat it every time we pray. How we spend the time between praying and receiving, determines whether we get closer to what we have asked for or move even further away from it.

How soon our prayers get answered

How likely and how soon we receive what we are praying for, depends very much on our relationship with the deity we are praying to or the thing we are praying for. The speed at which our prayers get answered, depends on how far we perceive ourselves to be from the one who is supposed to give us the answers – or God. If we perceive God to be away from us, that is, not one with us, we will then need to make a ‘trip’ to where God is. That trip is made up of all the conditions we set ourselves to satisfy, before we could expect to receive what we are praying for. In other words, the concept of God and the power we associate to it, would be as immediate to us or as far away as we decide to place it.

On the contrary, if we perceive ourselves as one with the source of the answers to our prayers, that is, as the source of the answers we seek, in that case we perceive ourselves as one with who we are praying to and what we are praying for – we become one with God as well as with the goal we are aspiring for. If we believe God is within us, in that case we need to bring our minds back to ourselves and properly perceive who we are. Depending on where or how far we perceive God to be in relation to ourselves; that far would the answers to our prayers also be, which would determine how slowly or instantly we would realise them in our lives.

The power within us

When we believe that we are one with creation, we then realise that to pray is not to abdicate the responsibility of achieving what we need by appealing to someone else, but instead, is a matter of accepting that we already have all the ability to restore happiness to any part of our lives. This instils in us the willingness to start exploring the extent to which we already embody this power. A belief in our oneness, is a belief that each one of us is one with all creation and for that reason, has the same essence and potential that any other person or thing in creation has. There is no being external to us, who is supposed to give us what we already have, or to do for us what we are already empowered to do for ourselves. We embody the power of our oneness by simply accepting ourselves as one with all things, to the extent of our imagination.

Elements of a true prayer

“A prayer that is acceptable to God is one that is made in truth and in spirit – because God is spirit”, Jesus once said. This means we have to truly want what we are praying for, as well as know that it can primarily be achieved in non-physical ways. The ‘truth’ part of that statement is that we firstly have to want what we are praying for. We should not pray for something we are afraid of, or that we would rather avoid. If we do, we find ourselves wanting it in one moment, and in another moment, doing something else that shows that we do not want to have it. Our pursuit of it becomes inconsistent. We have to be true in wanting what we are praying for, so that every effort would be spent towards achieving it. The motivation we derive from the beauty of any goal we set, determines the amount of mental and physical effort that we put in the pursuit of it. The ‘spirit’ part of the statement above, has to do with the inspiration or motivation that comes with the beauty of a goal or what we are praying for.

Life is comprised of physical and non-physical things. These are the things through which our prayers would be answered. Sometimes an answer would come through receiving something tangible, whereas in some cases, it comes through words, advice, an idea or some new understanding of a concept in the mind, among others. Because the things we do physically come firstly as ideas in the mind, we need to acknowledge that physical things happen because of non-physical things; the way a physical cup of tea is made possible by the non-physical purpose we set and the plan that we develop in our minds. To stop whatever we happen to be busy with at any moment of the day and make a cup of tea, as determined in the mind, would depend on how much we really want to have that cup of tea. In that case, we can only make an effort at achieving something only if we are sufficiently motivated by its purpose – the happiness that we would derive from having it.

Our true purpose for praying

Very often, the problems in our lives remain unresolved, not because we do not have the solutions to them already, but simply because we are not sure what we want or expect from the situation; whether we want a solution or not. Before we ever pray for anything, we firstly have to be sure it is truly what we want. We need to go into our minds and establish -in the form of a vision – the peace we want to see in the situation we are praying for. From this clarity of purpose, we begin to perceive the world around us, and to realise the different ways in which each thing in our surroundings aligns itself to this goal.

Everything in creation is created for only one purpose – to serve peace and to be served it by others. When we set any other purpose for a person, thing or situation, we are essentially misusing them. To use anything the proper way is to use it for the purpose it was created for, which is peace. Therefore, we need to set peace as the purpose of every goal we set. To pray is to set a goal of peace. We set this goal by asking ourselves what it means for us to achieve it. We visualize how achieving it would affect us; the people we love, our environment and other areas of our lives that would interact with it. From the beauty of what we perceive of our vision, we then set it as the purpose of our prayer – it becomes the essence of the prayer – the prayer itself.

Having established what we aspire for – all of which happens in the mind – we begin to look for different ways through which we would achieve this vision, or the many other ways in which the other things we already have, could help us already realize this vision. We find these means within our self, in our thoughts; in our bodies, through our different abilities; in the environment around us; through other people; places and things. Depending on the purpose we set for ourselves, anything we perceive around us, would immediately render itself either relevant or irrelevant to the purpose we have set.

How we should pray

A true prayer, instead of it being a request we make to someone else, should always be an act of going within ourselves to clearly define what we need to achieve. What we need to achieve in every situation of life is peace of mind. For that reason, praying is the act of restating to ourselves what we need to achieve in any situation of life in which we are, before we could perceive within ourselves or outside, what would help us achieve it. It is simply to set a purpose of peace for a situation of life.

The things we need in life are already in and around us but remain unrealized only because we have not yet decided on how we intend to use them in the service of our peace. When we clarify our purpose for any situation, we begin to perceive how much of what we already have around us could already serve to resolve it. This realisation, is how we get to believe that our prayer has been answered, often by attributing this to a deity, whereas what we had done was to go into ourselves and clarify what it is we really want, and only then, beginning to see the relevance of the things around us to what we want.

If the purpose we set is peace, then anything we perceive; a friend, a foe, a likely or unlikely person, thing or situation we encounter, becomes a potential instrument through which to achieve this peace. With the unlimited means of achieving our goal, we do not need to insist on any single means as the right one. Whenever any means is not able to help us realize our peace at a particular moment, we would have all the other possibilities of realizing it, so that we do not have to insist on any means but on the whole availability of creation at our disposal.  We simply let everything in our perception present how efficiently it could serve that goal of peace, and in the awareness of all that is available, use only the means that is most efficient in helping us realize it immediately. For instance, when we are hungry, it may be more efficient to warm up yesterday’s meal from the fridge, than cooking a new meal or even going to the mall to buy food.

Our ever praying minds

Beyond just making our purpose clear to ourselves, prayer is a non-physical means of communicating with creation around us. In our oneness with everything in creation, each of us is connected to any part of it through the one purpose of peace, for which everything exists. The mind is the place where we set this peace as a purpose, and from which it could also be experienced and realised. For that reason, the mind is our primary reality and a means through which anything in creation could be experienced.

When we set peace as our purpose in a situation of life, we attune ourselves to the universal language that is understood by everything in creation, because everything has been created only to serve it. We enable ourselves to communicate our thoughts to other people, things and situations, in physical and non-physical ways that are beyond words, sign or body language. Intuition, telepathy and empathy among others, become our way of understanding and knowing the reality of any aspect of creation, regardless of the differences of form that each thing could assume, or even the great geographical distances that may be involved.

We are able to pray for the wellness of someone who is not where we are, and to realise what we are praying for, simply because by praying, we are asserting that they serve and be served the purpose of peace; that they be only as they were created to be. In their own acceptance of this peace for themselves, they then realize it in whatever form it may come. This is only possible when we speak the same language and working towards a common goal. It is what Christ meant when he said, “Anything that any two agree upon on earth, shall be granted in heaven”, and is the reason why he would ask anyone he sought to heal, whether they wanted to be healed.

The words in the Bible, “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven”, serve as affirmation of the reconciliation we need to make between the reality of a situation we are in with the reality of creation as it is. This happens by reconciling the purpose we set for a situation, with the purpose of creation itself – in which everything exists. What we refer to as “The will of God” is simply a reference to the purpose of existence, which itself is the will of its creator – peace. In that way, when we pray, we are deciding to surrender our own insistence on how things should be, and yield to how life is created to be. In the trust we place in creation, we get served peace even in ways that are beyond our understanding of it – through people, things and situations where we would normally not expect it to be.

Ultimately, if to pray is to set a purpose of peace in a situation of life, and we accept that our very lives are lived each moment in different situations, it then becomes clear that the very thoughts we conceive in our minds, at every moment of each day, must reflect what we would aspire to achieve. For that reason, we would either suffer or find peace of mind, depending on the purpose we set, and what we decide to perceive and to entertain in our lives because of it.

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