Monday, June 12, 2017

Getting God's Attention: The Pros--and Cons--of Prayer

By Richard Kent Matthews - Coach | Author | Speaker

Into the Silence...*

"What is the difference between a prayer and a curse? Intent."

You may think prayer is a wonderful way of asking, or getting, some deity to perform an act, a task, or a favor for you or someone you love. 

Or, you may use prayer to stop someone or something in its tracks. As the famous Saturday Night Live Church Lady, portrayed by Dana Carvey, often said, "I'm gonna say a little prayer against you."

With all that in mind, I offer you the pros and cons of prayer.
  • Be cautious when praying for others. You may not know what's best for them. Get their permission, if you can.
  • Be cautious even when praying for yourself. Your own good is sometimes, and often, a mystery to you.
Effective prayer
  • Prayers of release--an invitation, a surrender. Surrender isn't giving up. Giving up says nothing else can be done. Surrender says there is a higher power, a higher purpose, a higher outcome. You are willing to allow it to unfold. No pleading, begging, whining, cajoling, or threatening necessary.
  • Prayers of gratitude. You recognize that Higher Power, Spirit, God, or whatever your choice is here, is at work in the situation, the other person's life, your life. It's called Trust.
We all come into this life with no guarantees. Bumps, bruises, pain, suffering, along with joy, laughter, love, and success, are all and equally part of the program. How we deal with them is the determining factor that makes or breaks our moment by moment experience.

You have been given a great gift--the opportunity to have this amazing human experience. How you choose to respond to each day you remain on earth will make the difference between a catastrophe and a celebration.

So, then, does prayer work? Is it beneficial? Certainly. As long as you remember you're not twisting the arm of some cosmic entity who's sitting around waiting for your next request. 

Recognizing that the universe is already supporting you, already assisting you, already waiting for you to simply open your eyes to the abundance that surrounds you, now, that's the way to benefit from prayer. 

To paraphrase the 13th century mystic Meister Eckhart, who said, or at least has been credited with saying, If the only prayer you ever utter is Thank You in your entire life, it will have been enough.

"My life is one long obstacle course, with me being the chief obstacle." Jack Paar, former host of The Tonight Show, NBC

*Photo courtesy of Steven Sammler, Baja California

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