So I should ask…what does prayer mean to you?
For some people prayer means asking God for something, thanking God for something or maybe acknowledging something in someone else. We all have different versions of prayers, prayer means different things to different people. For me there are four ways I pray, and I do it every single day!
Prayer One; Meditation
In 2012 I learned a form of Vedic meditation that has literally saved my life. Everyday, twice a day for 20 minutes a day I sit in meditation. I repeat a mantra, selected specifically for me and allow the deep peace of meditation to cleanse me of my stresses. I have noticed a significant difference between myself before and after meditation. Before meditation I was struggling with my PTSD symptoms, anxious, depressed, overwhelmed by crowds and strange places. After mediation I have found a lessening of those symptoms. They’re not gone completely, but they’re much more managable now. With meditation I can balance the daily stresses of life. Without meditation, those days when I forget or skip a session, I feel it. I feel angry, weepy or tired. Meditation works for me and I’m blessed to have it in my life.
Prayer Two; Thank You
It may seem simplistic to say thank you and call it a prayer, but there is more to it than just being grateful or accepting a compliment. Thank you to me is being grateful for every moment and seeing it as an opportunity for growth. I’m not just thankful for the good things, but the bad things as well. Deepak Chopra talks about using the acronym STOP- Stop, Take a breath, Observe, and Proceed with love and kindness. Thank you is my STOP moment, it’s me thanking the Universe or God or Spirit for giving me a moment to do better. Rather than getting caught up in the moment and merely reacting, the Thank You prayer gives me a chance to really choose a better way. Thank You for bringing this anger to my attention- how can I do better? Thank you for bringing this sadness to my attention- how can I change this? Thank you for bringing this happiness to my life- how can I share it with others? Thank you is an important prayer that reminds me to be in the moment- thank you!
Prayer Three; Please?
Some people treat the Please prayer as their personal bargainning chip with God, the Universe or Spirit. Dear God, please give me this or that and I’ll do this or that for you. I’ve always believed that God is within us- so bargainning with God is kind of like promising yourself you’ll do something when you give yourself something you need. For me the Please prayer is more about asking for a truth to be revealed to you, and that truth may be that you don’t need what you’re asking for in the first place.
Here is my example of how the Please prayer works. I’m often late. I don’t mean to be, but I get absorbed in activities and forget to give myself more time to get places. So I’m often asking for no traffic delays, freedom from speeding tickets, or a good parking place when I get there. When I ask for these favors, they’re often granted- but on occasion they aren’t. When the answer to the Please prayer is no or not right now, there is always a good reason. I’ve come to learn that when the answer is no or not now, it’s because something better is in my path if I just look for it. So I didn’t get that really close parking place-maybe it’s because I’m meant to walk a few blocks so I can run into an old friend or smile at someone who really needs to see a friendly face, something I would have missed if I had been on time or parked close. The Please prayer for me is about learning it for myself, learning about what is inside me and recognizing that although I think I need this one thing to happen, it might be different from what I’m expecting. One of my favorite lines from the “Wizard of Oz” is from Glinda the Good Witch;
“Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?
Glinda: Because she wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.”
Prayer Four; Namaste
This is a prayer I’m working on manifesting daily. The definition of Namaste is-the divine in me recognizes and honors the divine in you. This really resonates with me as writer. I firmly believe that we all have a story-and if someone is willing to listen we can recognize that our stories are all the same. There are different players and different circumstances to each of our individual stories, but the underlying struggle and emotions are similar. We’re all connected, it’s that simple. Feeling, seeing and believing in that connection is what love is meant to be, and it’s something I struggle to believe in. Namaste is about accepting your worth, your divine presence and your mission in life, along with realizing that we all struggle in this journey.
I can blame others for hurting me, or I can recognize that the hurt I feel wasn’t their fault. Not to say that I’ll become a doormat, lying down to be trampled over by anyone with an axe to grind, unaware of their own divinity. But the prayer Namaste for me means forgiveness…forgiving myself, forgiving others and forgiving the past mistakes by acknowledging how they’ve served me. I am who I am because of my past. I won’t forget the wrongs, but dwelling on them is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Likewise if someone hurts me I don’t have to allow them to repeat the hurt. You don’t have to participate in every argument you’re invited to, NO is an acceptable answer. So for me Namaste is recognizing the divine, and being aware that some people can’t recognize the divine and I don’t have to invite them to my divine party until they can recognize the divine.
Those are my prayers… how do you pray? Do you pray? What power does prayer have in your life?