Where Praying Starts (3 of 4)

Where praying starts seems like something everyone, anyone knows. But is it? Where does praying start is a pretty important question if the answer can make praying easier for us, if the answer can make us more comfortable with praying.

Where Praying Starts

Where Praying Starts Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

No telling how many times I have wrestled with starting a blog post, a poem, or (long, long ago) papers for my college courses. The struggle starts with “where do I start?”. Real wrestling occurs with my implicit answer, “I don’t know!” Frustration comes into the match when “I don’t know” becomes “I have no idea!” and then moves on to “I don’t know how to come up with an idea!”

I suggest that praying becomes really easy when we stop trying to figure out the logical, human, human-life reason for the prayer. Then I offer that prayers do not really begin in our heads. Finally, it’s my belief that our thoughts do not originate our desire to pray. Although we may think they do.

Let me explain.

We receive in our hearts (our spiritual receptor) the notice of something worth praying about. We may not immediately think, “I should pray about that!”. However, somehow the desire for conscious communication with Spirit comes into our mind. Our mind sends the “Let’s pray (or ask for prayer)!” message to our body, usually our voice. (You may want to check the previous post, Praying Is Always Right for a bit more about this.)

The short version: praying really starts with God.

It’s very interesting that this opinion is shared by a variety of spiritual perspectives, in pretty different lingos.

3G Life

CRU (formerly the Campus Crusade for Christ) refers to the 3G Life (and it’s not about cell phone technology!)  It includes three elements of our relationship with God (Spirit):

The parentheses are mine. I mean “hearing” and “listening” not in the pure auditory sense of using our ears. I mean hearing and listening with our heart then transferring the message to our mind that we may act upon it physically.

Now, how does that relate to prayer? Suppose we hear with our hearts that something in our being will benefit from conscious connection with Spirit. Consider that our heart makes that clear in a way our mind can listen to it, understand it with our intellect. Finally, the instruction goes to our body essentially as “Pray on this!”. That action may occur in any form we choose.

The Bible and Prayer

Next, consider that Matthew the apostle said,  …[God] knows what you need before you ask him. 

Turning that arounds makes it definite to me that my knowing what I need (or want or project or believe) comes from God. If that’s true, then my awareness of feeling need (or want or projection or belief) and that praying about it is a good idea must come from God as well.

Our Senses and Prayer

Finally, I’d like to bring this home to the physical being. Our human being is a physical being. We are created from Spirit and we are a creation of Spirit. That spiritual existence is the essence of our physical, human costume. It is not limited, certainly, to the costume. The physical being has as its most essential tools for human existence our 5 senses. These act and react to the universe.

Our eyes see the sky, the earth, other humans, the rain, cars. With our ears we hear music and crying and thunder and traffic and sirens. The sense of smell detects campfire smoke and garlic and roses and skunks. How often does something that comes to you through your senses provoke the thought of a prayer? The sight or sound or smell or touch or taste may actually give you reason for prayer or it may indirectly make you think of a reason to pray. Either way, the prayer, the praying started with Spirit.

Consider, then, that praying is meant to be. We are gifted with the opportunity to connect, to communicate with Spirit. Spirit is where praying starts. Then, we get to participate in it. That’s an awesome gift. Awesome, too, that we can participate in an unlimited number of ways, none of them wrong.

Gratitude to know where praying starts

Good Friend God,
with great gratitude and comfort I know
you originate my desire to pray.
I know, too, you guide the origin of my prayers
and my ability to offer prayer for others.
I love as more and more I learn
to hear you with my heart
then let my mind listen to my heart
and enjoy my body praying with you,
for whatever reasons you start
in me.
And so it is. And so I thank you, God. Amen.

Love & blessings,
Tim

 

 

November 11, 2019

 

Posted on November 11, 2019 at 5:45 am by Tim · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: God, Prayer, Praying · Tagged with: 

Praying Is Always Right (2 of 4)

Praying is always right. When it comes to your praying, just know it is always right.

Praying is always right!
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

This is Post #2 in a 4-part series of 4 Ways to Be Comfortable Praying. We started with Post #1 about letting go of thinking you don’t know how to pray. Today we’ll examine that praying is always right.

Your praying is always right for these simple reasons. Actually, let’s call them truths that your praying is always right.

Truth 1. Praying can’t be wrong.

The wholesome definition of praying is connecting with God.  In other words, if you’re not intending to connect with God, you’re not really praying. On the other hand if you are seeking to connect with God, there is no wrong way.

It doesn’t matter how or how well we connect with Spirit. We do not have to use exactly perfect words. We don’t even have to use words. All we have to do is experience connection. And to experience connection, all we need to do is intend to connect.

I suggest that any time we have a moment of gratitude, of feeling good, of wanting support, of knowing love and of too-many-to-count experiences, we are praying. Because we are connecting with God. Whether we “wordify” it or not. Those experiences of our heart are never wrong, always right.

Truth 2. Your praying is not yours alone.

You may have a chance to pray with or for someone. They may tell you their specific desire for prayer. Or you may have your own personal prayer time and prayer practice for yourself. You know your desire for prayer.

Although you pray for the other person’s reason and you pray for yourself and your own reasons, neither prayer is yours alone. The motivation behind both prayers is from God. The realization that, “Hey, a prayer will do me good” starts, like everything, with God.

The Power and Presence ignites our desire to pray. God’s Power and God’s Presence connect with our heart’s consciousness. The consciousness prompts our mind’s decision. That decision instructs our body to take action by praying.

Such a simple, powerful connection and process can only be right.

Truth 3. Praying enjoys limitless forms.

So, Spirit (heart) feels. That motivates mind. Body does what is instructed.

Makes me think the familiar trio–body, mind, spirit–is stated backwards. I go for Spirit, mind, body. Your heart (Spirit) feels some reason to pray. Then your mind receives the motivation and sends instruction to your body. Next your body prays.

Because it is what we know best, we most often receive the instruction to pray with our voice. We almost always pray with words. Yet praying enjoys an infinite number of forms and formats. Please keep in mind that praying is realizing connection between us and God. That means praying is not only your connecting with God; it is also God’s connecting with you.

The ways to pray are any in which you and God connect. When I dance because the sunrise is gorgeous, God’s part in the praying is the sunrise; my part of the praying is the dance. When I give thanks that I can forgive myself for something, my part of the praying is the “thank you”; God’s part of the praying is my crying.

It always feels just right.

Truth 4. God doesn’t judge.

If everything one does is perfect, including creating perfect beings in its perfect image, what has one to judge? I believe that’s how it is with God.

God does not watch us pray and hold up a score card or think, “Their praying could be a shade sharper.” God is loving–even applauding, I imagine–the very fact that we are praying, and so, engaging with God.

God does not judge. Judgement is a human invention. That’s almost surely why forgiveness is God’s recommendation for us humans. Starting with forgiveness of oneself.

If God doesn’t judge our praying, why do we? Consider this: “I forgive my Self for judging my praying. My praying is a perfect blessing, any way, any place, any time. I am blessed that my praying is always right.”

Thanks that my praying is always right

Good Friend God, I love you
and that you are my perfect prayer partner,
my perfect prayer provider and
my perfect prayer persuader.
I love the joy that praying brings me.
I love the freedom that praying is always
right and never wrong,
good and never less than,
satisfying connection and never done alone.

Thank you, Good Friend, that you let me
know and love praying.
And so it is. Amen.

Love & blessings,

Tim

November 4 2019

Posted on November 4, 2019 at 7:15 am by Tim · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: God, Power, Prayer, Praying · Tagged with: ,

Let Go of Not Knowing How to Pray (1 of 4)

Knowing How to Pray

Knowing How to Pray
Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

This knowing how to pray post is the first of 4 Ways to Be Comfortable Praying. So, let go of not knowing how to pray because you do know how to pray. And because you do not even need to know how.

As a Prayer Chaplain for a really long time, I have often invited people to join me in delighting in the action, the process, the interpersonal connections, and–most importantly–the spiritual enlightenment. And I have often heard responses like, “Sounds interesting and inviting, but I don’t know how to pray.”

I want to offer you four things to keep in mind if you ever say to someone or think to yourself that you don’t know how to pray.

Let Go of Needing to Know How

It’s human nature to want to look or sound good doing something in front of others. That was certainly true of me when I started playing golf. I did not want to appear on the golf course until my game was halfway decent. Consequently, it took me twice as long for me to actually get on the course.

It need not be that way with praying. Whether you pray by yourself or in front of others, praying is a wonderfully personal experience. And so you pray the way, whatever way, is comfortable for you.

Allow yourself to feel OK–no, to feel good!–just by the fact that you are praying. Consider saying something after your “Amen” like: “Thanks that I feel good about praying. And I do feel good!” And remember, the simple fact that you are praying is proof that you know how.

Start with Silence

There is amazing truth and strength in the simple advice to “Be still and know that I am God.”

Rev. Canon Renee Miller offers a simple exercise that always works for me:

Get Past the Limitation of Words, especially the “Right Words”

Humans like to do things the right way. We try find words to express what we think. We want to express our thinking with the “right words”.

When it comes to praying, you do not have to follow that line of reasoning. If you’re busy looking for the words to pray with, you’re  letting your mind take over. Praying doesn’t need your mind; praying is your connection with Spirit. The connection is with your heart. Heart feels rather than thinks. Let it feel.

If your praying is meant to be spoken (or written) and so words come into the picture, they will. Let them. Faith that the words will come (to your heart!) will make your patience easy.

Remember That Praying Is Not a One-Way Action

It’s taken me a while but I’ve realized that every time I cry (or feel like crying), Spirit is communicating with me. Once I realized that, it became clear that when I smile for no reason, when I wave at a stranger, when the clouds in the sky make me pause to keep looking at them…and a million other non-verbal experiences are praying.

Praying is connection between Spirit and me. It is not merely me saying things to God. Nor is it merely God saying things to me. It’s a two-way connection. It’s a partnership. I love Ellen Debenport’s statement:

Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind…

Praying should never be limited by your feeling the need to “know how.” You do. You already do. You really do.

Thanks that I do not know how to pray…

Living, loving Power that fuels me
with energy to pray, I love that I do not need
to know how or even why I should pray.
The methods and the reasons are too numerous
to try to keep in mind.
Thank you instead, Sweet Spirit, for letting me know
that any connection with you is praying.
On top of that for letting me know that connection with you
is constant, continuous, universal, everlasting.
And so is praying.
Thank you for letting me know
I do not need to know.
And so it is.  Amen

Love & blessings,

Tim

 

 

October 28, 2019

Posted on October 28, 2019 at 5:11 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Prayer, Praying, Spirituality · Tagged with: , ,

My Joyful, Humble Return. Thank You!

With thanks in a dozen directions, I am returning to regular postings of Prayerful Life with excitement and commitment.

One of the reasons, then, for this short post to announce that I plan to be posting here very regularly. A related reason is to hold myself accountable to you: I intend to hold myself to the statement of what I intend to do. A third reason is to lay out the plan for the rest of this year and into January of 2020, to lay it out specifically so you will know what to expect and so that I will have objectives for my work each week.

I invite your responses. They will motivate me whether you wish me success or say it’s too high a mountain to crest. Regardless, I welcome and am thankful for your supportive reading of what’s here.

The plan simply stated is this. Every Monday, bright and early, a new post about praying, prayer, prayerful life. These will be in series. While I may do some reordering once we’re rolling, here’s what it looks like now:

I will be honored to see you here then…and every week in between.

Your comments mean the world!

Prayer Affirming Beginning Again

Power and Presence, I say thank you for
my inspiration to return to writing here.
I celebrate this return and the energy it brings me.
I am grateful for the several comments
that touched my heart and spurred my return.
And I am grateful that my heart receives your guidance,
that my mind may listen to it
and direct my body to carry out
what is no task but expression of the joy,
the peace, and the love I know within me.
I know that it is from you, that it is you.
I thrill, Spirit, to my anticipation of the words to come.
And so it is with love for the Spirit within me.
Amen.

Love & Blessings,

Tim

 

 

21 October 2019

 

 

 

Posted on October 21, 2019 at 6:00 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Gratitude, Humility, Joy, Prayer, Praying · Tagged with: