Wednesday, July 14, 2010


The urge to pray seems instinctive in most humans. As an attempt to communicate with a being higher and more powerful than oneself, prayer generally devolves into requests for help and favors intermingled with flattering thanks designed to wheedle future gifts  -- as a small child would beg a parent.  That is certainly the way I was exposed to it in the United States.

I've written before about the evident uselessness of such begging prayers as far as their bringing special help from the Divine is concerned.  I certainly cannot say that some kind of godly intervention never occurs as a result of a cry for help, but observation shows that most prayer requests are not granted. The pleasing results of those which seem to be granted may be explained more by chance, or by a focus of the individual's visualization and desire and belief, than to action by a deity.

Nevertheless, I have a persistent inclination to pray, to find some means of communication with the higher power or powers I sense exist and have helped and guided me.  As I struggled one night with the question of how to pray, it came to me that prayer should consist of a receptive state rather than talk aimed at a beneficent deity.  In other words, prayer should consist of listening rather than speaking.

Relax, eyes closed, with a listening and watchfully waiting attitude. Signal in some way that a prayer has begun. What follows is like meditation, in which one discourages the inner word-stream and tries to make the mind clear, perhaps using attention to one's breathing to drive mundane thoughts away. Concentrate on the dark screen before your eyes, watching expectantly for something to appear and be alert to anything resembling inspiration or thoughts coming from a higher source.

You are tuned to receive.

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