Since this is supposedly my “spiritual pilgrimage” and I believe there is divine wisdom, divine knowledge, divine power, divine love and divine forgiveness from a Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, Then why is it so hard for me to get into a daily routine of pray and meditate?
I have seen and experienced the power of prayer in my life and have heard others share how prayer and medication have helped them.
I just have to start addressing these and see where my spirit leads me.
I choose to make a verbal decision and verbal commitment to myself and to God that I want to spiritually grow in these two areas of prayer and meditation while on my spiritual pilgrimage.
I am willing to put in the time and research to get the answers to help me with this as part of my preparation for this journey.
I am saying “God help me“.
I believe just saying this taps me into divine wisdom.
I know the power of words. “Life and Death are in the power of the tongue”. I have gotten many spiritual lessons on the power of words, whether negative or positive.
So instead of just praying in my mind, I will verbally say outloud my prayers.
In order to understand why it is so hard for me to pray outloud, I will need to briefly revisit my past, in my family of origin, growing up.
So let’s think about this. Honestly, right now, where am I with prayer? I say I am praying for myself and you; however, how much action do I take to do that? Am I disciplined in this area of prayer? “O.k. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, help me with this”
One of my favorite prayers, which I recited for years. It seemed I was too busy or not focused enough to take time to pray from my heart.
The Third Step Prayer is found on page 63 of The Big Book, the Basic Text for Alcoholics Anonymous. The text is as follows:
“God, I offer myself to Thee-to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!”
On the second sentence it says remove me of the “bondage of self”. I have come to realize that this bondage of self is me wanting to gain wisdom all alone. The phrase, No man is an island” comes to mind.
I know in my spirt, that if I do not connect to God first, I am missing out on God’s Spirit of Knowledge, wisdom, forgivenss and love being part of the solution. My mind tries to sabotage me, with old beliefs, which tell me that I can do it on my own. Belief systems are programmed in us at an early age. So let’s go there for clarity.
Prayer in my family of origin: My father, being the head of the household, passed on to me his deep religious belief that prayer should be silent. My father believed that loud glorified prayers were a form of pride and I guess he was trying to teach us to be humble. Instead I learned to keep silent without learning from him how to pray. So before each meal my father would say, let us pray and thank God for our meal and bless the food. All nine of us children sat quietly. I realized this belief system needed to be tweeked a little. Praying outloud does not always mean I am being proud. I came to realize if I was real and prayed honestly with a sincere humble heart, then it was not proud. Now my grandfather, my mother’s father, he was the opposite. When he prayed it became a beautiful and poetic love poem to God. I loved to hear him pray. His words were not proud. His prayer words to God were humble and sincere from his heart and were filled with the love for Jesus and God.
Another blockage was my perfectionism, which I did not realize, until I asked for wisdom. Speaking of wisdom, the other prayer I kept repeating was the serenity prayer.
The Serenity Prayer is a prayer written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971). It is commonly quoted as:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
Niebuhr’s prayer originally asked for courage first, and specifically for changing things that must be changed, not things that simply can be changed:
Here is this courage word again as it relates to prayer.
The most well-known form is a late version, as it includes a reference to grace not found before 1951:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Wow, this version added grace to this prayer in 1951, which was the year I was born.
Since I believe words have power, it is important for me to define the words that are used in reference to prayer.
“Not having a prayer” pops up in the dictionary under the definition of prayer phrases. The informal meaning is “Have no chance of succeeding”, so I guess that concludes that the defintion of “having a prayer” is the opposite which is “having a chance to suceed”. The word prayer’s origin is from the latin root “precarius” meaning depending on grace. Combine these two meanings together and you get , “having a chance to succeed because of God’s Grace and Mercy”.
Oh, here we go again, up pops the theme of this Holy Year, in the origin and definition of prayer – Grace and Mercy – The opening of the Mercy Door in the “Santiago de Compostela” Cathedral- where pilgrims can enter and leave through this Holy Year Door receiving full indulgences.
Having a chance to succeed by praying and asking. Because of God’s grace (God’s favor and kindness towards us) and God’s mercy (God’s compassion and forgiveness over judgment) we have a chance to be forgiven, if we ask with a sincere and honest heart.
Ok so the key to prayer is to be honest, sincere and real to God.
Other definitions: Prayer
- Spiritual connection and communication between man and God
- Two ways to communicate- talk and listen
- Ask questions and receive answers
- share your day
- ask for help for yourself
- ask for help for others
- Thank God
- Spending time in quiet, receptive openness is an essential part of prayer, meditation and most other spiritual practices
Famous Quotes on Prayer – gives us more insights on prayer
“In the morning, prayer is the key that opens to us the treasures of God’s mercies and blessings; in the evening, it is the key that shuts us up under his protection and safeguard.” – Billy Graham
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” ― Corrie Ten Boom
“True prayer is a way of life, not just for use in cases of emergency. Make it a habit, and when the need arises you will be in practice.” – Billy Graham
“I think the reason we sometimes have the false sense that God is so far away is because that is where we have put him. We have kept him at a distance, and then when we are in need and call on him in prayer, we wonder where he is. He is exactly where we left him.” ― Ravi Zacharias
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” – Max Lucado
“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
“Prayer lays hold of God’s plan and becomes the link between his will and its accomplishment on earth. Amazing things happen, and we are given the privilege of being the channels of the Holy Spirit’s prayer.” – Elisabeth Elliot
“The reality is, my prayers don’t change God. But, I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me out of that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself.” – Lysa TerKeurst
“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” – Charles Spurgeon
“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” – Mother Teresa
“You cannot pray for someone and hate them at the same time.” – Billy Graham
“Prayer is simply talking to God like a friend and should be the easiest thing we do each day.” – Joyce Meyer
So, according to these quotes, prayer is:
- Prayer is a chance to suceed
- spiritual conversation beween you Jesus and God (from your heart) with feelings, not ritualistic
- prayer is talk
- meditation is listening, waiting for answers
- we are to practice prayer until it becomes a habit
- There is power in prayer
- Prayer connects me to God’s power
- Prayer connects me to God’s Wisdom
- Prayer connects me to God’s Love
- Prayer connects me to God’s knowlege
- Prayer connects me to God’s forgiveness
- If Prayer connects me to God and Jesus, why can it be so difficult to take time to pray and be honest and real?
- Since prayer is a two way communication – Prayer and Meditation
- Meditation is learning how to receive from God
- Receiving love from God
- Receiving power from God
- Receiving wisdom from God
- Receiving knowledge from God
- Receiving forgiveness from God
- Prayer changes me
- prayer can be asking for help, guidance, love
- We cannot pray for someone and hate them at the same time
- real praying to God, is to talk to him as if He has got your back, like a good friend
- willing to trust
- Making sure we hear the correct voices because there are negative voices also
It is important to develop a routine of prayer and meditation. This discipline teaches me to rest and wait patiently for God’s guidance. Many times I need to ask and then sleep on it and wait until I am sure I am hearing the correct answer. Part of that process can be calling trusted advisors for input.
Since prayer is communication with God, I guess I need to explain further about my journey with God, as I understand God. Who is God, really to me?
Starting again with my childhood belief system: Every sunday, my mother, father, 5 brothers, 3 sisters and myself would all dress up and put on our sunday outfits and off to sunday school and church we went. The girls wore dresses and the boys wore white shirts which the girls would wash and starch and iron for them to look their best for God and Jesus.
As a child, I fell in love with Jesus. I was told that Jesus loved all the little children and that we were all special, in his sight. God and Jesus loved me. How special is that to know that my creator loved me. Because of my parents deep religious upbringing and the cultural norms, my parents did not outwardly show their affection with encouraging words or hugs, so having a higher power that said He loved me was not only magical but something my soul needed so desparately.
Then life happened and several people in my life made wrong decisions that drastically changed my relationship with Jesus. I was told that Jesus protected us and loved us. I felt abandoned when I was not protected by my God is several tragic events that happened in my life.
I started drinking and blaming God, Jesus, the church, my family and the Christians. Looking back I see how immature that was. That thinking and drinking took me down a path of misery and survival. I was not mature enough to understand that there is God’s Will and then there is our own “human will”. I believe that when any of us step out of God’s Will and do wrong things, that God cannot intervene because He gave us all (free will) and ultimate authority on this earth. If we say God Help Me, then and only then does God have authority. One exception is that someone else can stand in the gap for us and pray and intercede for us.
I know this intercessory prayer is very powerful. Someone or maybe many people prayed for me and guess what, I was rescued out of the craziness into the light. I was not only rescued, but God placed spiritual people around me to guide and help me grow in the light. I call them living spiritual angels. I am sure there were a lot of spiritual angels guiding me also.
As I stubbornly worked through my healing and my recovery and the pain of facing the reality of my mistakes and the pain the mistakes of others caused me, I learned how to forgive. Who am I not to forgive others when God forgives me. I learned that I had to walk through the pain to get the divine healing of love and forgiveness.
Tears are not a sign of “losing it”. One anonymous wise person said that tears are prayers. Indeed, they are the most honest prayers which many of us have ever prayed. They are also a sign that our feelings are coming alive again. Crying is a preliminary step to being able to laugh and trust. A good cry releases the pressure in our holding tanks and allows hurt, anger and fear to escape.
If I start getting tearful, I know that I have an opportunity to experience another life and spiritual lesson. Tears can be grief, sadness, anger, happiness or gratitude. I have learned to experience the ups and downs of my emotions. Allow my tears to flow when they need to so my healing can happen.
Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for His Will for us and the power to carry that out.
The more we seek His Will and learn, the more we will be able to discern his Will.
I little bit more on Intercessory Prayer:
To steadfastly pray and ask for help for others who cannot, will not or refuse to pray. Standing in the gap for them, interceding for God’s Will in their lives.
Opens the spiritual door for God to intervene in their lives. God has chosen intercession as the primary means in which He releases His power now and forever. Intercession unites our heart to people and places we pray for and causes multiple blessings to return to the intercessor.
Intercessory Prayer for others
Lord Jesus, I come to you today and thank you for the privilege of praying for others. I’ve been the recipient of others’ intercessory prayers so often, I understand how powerful intercessory prayer can be.
I ask you first to cleanse my heart and show me if there is any unconfessed sin in my own life so that my prayers for others will not be hindered. I thank you that through your name, I can come boldly before you and pray with confidence, according to your will and know that you hear me. From “The Revelation of Intercession by Debbie Przybylski
Ok, I think I did my preparation on prayer and meditation for my journey.
Now, I need to follow through as I walk this 500 mile pilgrimage.
I open my heart, mind and spirit to receive revelations from God.
It has also been placed in my spirit to intercede in prayer for each of you that choose to connect with me on this spiritual journey.
Your responsibility is to connect with me spiritual, pray for me while I am praying for you. Miracles Happen one prayer at a time.
Connect to God’s love and light today and let that light shine on the people you meet today.
Esther Mae 2021