Prayer for me has changed recently. I no longer view prayer as a form of work wherein I petition God for blessings I need for me, my friends, or my family. I don’t believe God reserves special blessings, gifts, or healings for those who are bold enough to ask, or for those who obediently keep his commands.
Furthermore, I don’t believe that the righteous are entitled to more blessings than the wicked. Primarily because I do not believe children of God can be wicked for I believe we are all divine beings with infinite possibilities. Yes, there are evil acts, but children of God are not evil. Individuals who commit evil acts are hurting and hurting people hurt others in attempts to meet their unmet needs. Children of God who are hurting need help and lots of love. Punishment doesn’t rehabilitate for hate cannot drive out hate, only love and light can do that. And God, like the sun, does not withhold his love and light from any of his children. Some may choose to live in a cave and claim that the world is a cold, dark place, but their reality isn’t God’s reality for God happily shines his love and light down upon all his creations. We are free to live in or out of the cave. Honoring the Divine is a gift we give ourselves, but to think that God’s goodness is conditional upon our behavior is to make God ungracious. My God blesses all because of who He is not because of who we are. His benevolence isn’t based upon our actions.
But I digress, back to prayer. Prayer for me now is silent communion. As I sit silently, I rarely feel the need to speak, primarily because I no longer see God as a great genie in the sky who simply exists to grant my every wish. Additionally, I no longer view God as the Great dispenser of death, punishment, and doom. For me, God is a power that I can always access. When I am connected with God all things are possible for God is all powerful. When I am disconnected from God I feel weak and powerless. Yes, I fear and I doubt when I disconnect from the divine.
This belief about God means that there is nothing that I need that He hasn’t already granted, and everything else that I feel I need is already on its way. Prayer for me consists of reminding myself of this realization. When I pray in this way, I no longer feel the need to ask for gifts, blessings, healings, or miracles for me, my family, or my friends. Instead, I sit quietly and go within for it is within this silent stillness that I touch the infinite and receive the calm assurance that everything will be all right. I feel powerful and at peace. Words, in such a setting, are unnecessary, and frankly, feel quite trite. Instead of speaking, I open my heart and allow the gratitude to gush. Sometimes it spills out in audible gasps of adoration, joy, and awe. And, oftentimes, this silent stirring of my soul causes the tears to flow.
As you can see, prayer for me is a private communion. I am finding it particularly painful to pray publicly. It doesn’t feel like prayer. It feels exhibitionist–a pointless perfunctory performance. If God is not a genie in the sky, who exists to fulfill our every wish, then why do we continually go before him petitioning that he “bestow his spirit with us,” or that he “bless us with health,” or that he “help us go throughout our various activities in safety?” God is already doing all these things. By asking him to do it aren’t we backhandedly suggesting that he is somehow some miserly withholder? Do you really believe that God only blesses you with safety if you petition him for it? I don’t. Do you really believe that God will allow Lindsay to die from cancer if we don’t pray fervently? I don’t. Do you really believe that God will withhold peace, happiness, and joy if we don’t ask him to bless us with it? I don’t. And that is why I find it completely unfitting to beg God for blessings.
Come out of your cave dear one. Come sit silently in the sun and bask in the peace, graciousness, and goodness of God for he is shining it down upon His inhabitants in great abundance. Go within and you will find the divine. You will find that all you seek has already been given and already exists within. You are divine. You are connected to God and because of your connection you already have everything you need–and anything you feel is lacking is always already on its way. This, my friends, is prayer for me now!