A Course in Miracles says that “prayer is the medium of miracles” and “a miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love”. That definition of prayer rocked my world. I spent most of my life trying to control things, figure things out and manage my own emotions and circumstances through effort and angst. There came a time in my life where this idea of praying seemed weird, but I still gravitated towards it. I was raised in a Jewish family, and whenever I heard any mention of Jesus I felt my heart close and fear envelope me. Jesus represented the “other” and it seemed quite taboo to resonate with Jesus. The reason I say that is because when most people think about praying, some version of fear arises. For me, it looked like confusion about Jesus and what that meant for me as a Jewish person. I didn’t have that confusion about embracing Buddha’s teachings. Often when we’re on the brink of something profound, a part of our mind will invent something to fear or resist in order to imprison us in our current perception and ways of being.
Anyone can pray. People tell me that they don’t know how to pray, or they don’t know who they are praying to, and I suggest they just start where they are. Some people feel comfortable praying to the sun as an image of their higher power. Some choose their pets, since an animal can represent an extraordinary source of unconditional love and lightness. Some have a relationship with God, so they pray to God. You do not need permission to pray. Nor do you need an affiliation or identification with a certain religion, tradition or dogma to pray. Praying is for people who want to shift how they are interacting with their lives, their potential, their circumstances, their pain and joy. Praying is for people who want deep, sustainable, fulfilling guidance in their lives and are willing (or open to receiving the willingness) to let go of how they think it should look.
How do I pray?
Praying takes many forms. I write letters to God, pouring out my thoughts and asking for guidance and help as I practice stepping into my most useful self. I ask God to help me see how I’m keeping my dreams at bay. I ask for God to help me see what I need to do, be or have in order to inhabit my highest self. Praying can come in the form of singing, painting, writing, speaking, making love or meditating. Prayer is not rigid, but it is powerful and should be treated as such.
What are the benefits of praying?
Prayer provides a tangible space of release. As I mentioned, I pray often through writing letters to God. These letters act as a spiritual decongestant, enabling me to cleanse what I know is there and also what I can’t see. I’ll often start writing about one thing and much more will emerge, surprising me and reassuring me that I’m on the right path. Benefits of prayer include:
Shifting circumstances, specifically: money, sex, weight, beauty, partnership, family, communication, forgiveness, anxiety, anger, loss/grieving, career transitions, health issues, global matters, family matters, pregnancy, disease, new ventures, etc.
What do you pray about?
You can pray about anything that is on your mind. I pray about my business, clients, family, friends, thoughts, anger, resentments, challenges, questions, decisions, people I’m going to hire, sex, my dog, my anxiety, my dreams, goals, my past. You name it, you can pray about it. The Prayer Circle will show you much more and how to notice the things in your life that would really be better off in God’s hands than yours!
What are misconceptions about prayer?
There are so many misconceptions about Prayer. People think that prayer means you are religious, but many people who pray would identify as being spiritual. They may not have a particular association with a religion but are definitely connected with God (Universe, Source, Spirit, etc) and feel a deep reverence for this. If you are religious, that’s great too.
I was someone who thought prayer was something you did in church or synagogue, a passive, desperate measure which relinquished my power. I thought it was isolating, uninspiring and would make me a mindless fool. I guess you could say that I equated it with begging. I had no examples of communing with God, so it seemed like a punishment to “have to” pray. Now I know that I can pray anywhere, anytime. Prayer is an all access provider of sanity for me, since I tend to think myself into a corner from time to time. You can pray in the shower, at work, during a conversation, while walking down the street. You can pray for your colleagues, your outcomes, your spending habits, your ability to break through old patterns, etc. When you pray, you tell God what’s up for you and ask God to help you step out of what is no longer serving and into what would serve all beings, including you. Prayer is not selfish, it’s generous. It’s generous because it enables you to inhabit the life you are here to live, rather than muddle through an unconscious state of discomfort which waits for the weekend to provide some solace. That is not living, that is marking time. Prayer has helped me to release my tendency to try and control things which left me exhausted, passionless, disconnected, overweight, fighting with my husband, uncomfortable being with friends and broke. Prayer enabled me to discover and embody humility, rather than powerlessness which is another misconception about prayer.
Who do you pray to?
I pray to God. My God is not Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc. My God is my friend. God is always there for me and provides me with more comfort than any other aspect of life. I would not appreciate my marriage without prayer. I couldn’t serve my clients without prayer. I sabotaged my life without God’s help because I kept making the same mistake over and over. God represents an aspect of myself, my mind, universal knowing that I have complete access to at all times, should I choose to open to the power innate in myself and in my life. God represents peace and serenity for me. God provides miracles when I am willing to receive them, and sometimes when I’m not. The miracles are always available, but my state of mind dictates if I’m willing to accept that or not.
I am not an expert on religion and I could not recite bible passages to you. I cannot tell you all the details of any particular dogma or quote the Torah. What I can offer you is a way to learn to remember who you are, what is true, and to have full time, wireless access to the most powerful network on earth. You can learn to pray on demand. To me, this habit has proven to be the most effective and energetic form of transformation in my life, exceeding the impact of intellect, educational degrees, income and any social status I previously thought might grant me the peace I was looking for. They did not, but prayer did.