If you’d asked me years ago what it meant to pray, I would have answered that it is simply asking God for something for yourself or others. I didn’t pray unless I was scared or desperate. If Mark was late or on a trip, I’d pray for his safe return to me. If we lost power on a really hot evening, I’d pray for the electricity to be restored. If I was forced to drive in bad weather, I’d pray to make it unharmed to my destination. If a loved one was sick or having surgery, I’d pray for their health. I pleaded with God to do this one thing for me. Sometimes I’d make promises that I would pray more often. I probably even promised to go to church a time or two. That’s what I thought it was all about.
These days I have a different definition of prayer. I believe that prayer is being mindful of your thoughts and emotions and listening for inspiration and guidance. I would like to say I “pray without ceasing” as this is a goal of mine. I want to be present and attentive to the thoughts that enter my mind. If I get an idea to call someone I want to act on that guidance, assuming that perhaps it was a message from spirit that would make someone’s day brighter. The act of listening is one of my methods of prayer and the messages I receive are the answers. If I ask to be shown the way I need to pay attention to what doors open before me.
I believe that everyone’s core beliefs create their lives. What you accept and tell yourself everyday goes out to the Universe like a prayer. Although you may lie down at night and go through a list of rote requests, it is the thoughts you have that are fueled by feelings that are answered. You may have a number of people to pray for, but unless you take the time to really feel something for each person, it is no different than singing the alphabet song. It is not the words or the thoughts that create the prayer, but the emotions that carry the energy to make change happen.
Last week in my book group the topic of praying for others came up. This is something that I, at times, feel guilty about. You see I don’t have a daily session where I send prayers up for people in my life. A lot of the people in my life are right where they want and need to be. Like I said on Monday change comes from the inside. Even if things aren’t ideal for them, change will not come until they are ready to embrace it. I think about my friends and family through out the day. I often feel love and gratitude while having those thoughts. That, I believe, is also prayer. When I read a story and feel empathetic and deeply hope for healing and recovery, that is a prayer. When someone asks me to pray for them, I take the energy of that request into meditation and wait for it to be acknowledged by spirit. That is how I pray.
So if anyone were to ever ask me who I pray for. I’d answer whoever I am made aware of. If something sparks love in my heart for you than you are receiving my prayers. And I truly hope that one day I can say that I move through this world in a constant state of prayer, because that will mean I am sending and spreading love with every breath I take!