Prayer: it ain't just pretty words
The power of prayer is real. Believe it! Proof goes back a long long way. People have been proving the power of prayer to problem-solve even before Jesus' time. To name just a few:
- Abraham- forced to sacrifice his only son
- Sarah- wanted children but couldn't get pregnant
- Moses- got angry and killed a guy
- Jacob- left for dead by his brothers who hated him for being dad's favorite
- Daniel- plotted against by his coworkers and thrown into a pit of hungry lions
- Shadrack, Meshach, Abednego- tied up and thrown into a fire for not following the rules
- Job- lost everything he had in life, all alone on a pile of poop
But these people prayed and got good answers, healing answers.
When Jesus gets on the scene, we begin to get a glimpse into the "how to" of prayer. And we continue to see that anyone can use spiritual prayer to solve problems and get healing. Yes, ANYONE.
So, how do you pray? Well, in his sermon on the mount in the book of Matthew, Jesus gives us a beat on that. He tells us that when you pray, go into your closet and shut the door. But, remember, Jesus used metaphors & similes to explain deep concepts to his listeners so the lessons wouldn't go over their heads. In this analogy, the closet he's referring to is your private mental consciousness, your own thinking.
Okay, you're in your closet, now what?
Well, Jesus gives us another clue. He tell us not to bother with meaningless words because your all-knowing Father already knows what you need. Yikes! Then, why bother praying at all? Here's where Webster sheds a little light. One of the definitions of prayer is "an act of spiritual communion with God." And, one of the definitions of communion is "an exchange of thoughts."
In essence, prayer is an active conversation with Spirit, God-an omniscient, attentive, and willing Parent. And, honestly, who wouldn't want to cuddle up with such a powerful resource?! I know I do.
So, what do you pray? Well, God is Spirit, so starting from a spiritual basis-by quieting your human reasoning, opinions, and agendas, and aligning your thought with an acknowledgement of His all-powerful, all-loving presence, is a good starting point. When Jesus prayed, he began with "Our Father, who art in heaven."
Then, you listen with your spiritual sense for God's guiding messages.
What if you don't hear anything? Oh... you'll hear! And, don't try playing dumb either, like my adult children do when I tell them something they don't want to hear. That never works. Sometimes, God's messages to you involve relinquishing thoughts you may think you're not ready to let go of... like anger, pride, self-justification. And will probably require you to adopt thoughts that include humility, unconditional love, and forgiveness. Additionally, God is always communicating to you, as He is the only creator and intelligence of all. So it's definitely not a matter of your inability to hear His messages, as much as it is your not liking what you hear.
Yet make no mistake, His communications are heard in ways each of us can certainly grasp... every time. He makes sure of it. Your task is to identify how He is talking to you and become familiar with it... listen for it... get cozy with it- like your favorite ice cream or fuzzy socks.
Although each of us may hear His voice differently, you can be sure that because God is Love, He will always speak to you with loving, comforting thoughts. Ideas that give you a sense of peace and blessing, fully loaded with practical ways to carry them out. He reminds us in Jeremiah, "...I know the thoughts that I think toward you...thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."
So, if your prayer doesn't give you answers to your problem or change your sadness into a joyful dancing, get back in your closet! Don't give up. You don't have to find the right words, let your heart speak and then just listen.
And don't underestimate the power of your prayer. It's real.