You know that connection you strive to feel sometimes with a higher power?
Something you do to pause, get still, make a decision or calm down?
For me, that ”getting still’ or ‘calming down’ is prayer.
But I didn’t always think of prayer that way.
Actually, I used to squirm when I heard the phrase prayer…
As a kid I would think “uh oh..that’s when I’m supposed to listen to God and I have no idea what I’m supposed to hear or ask or do.”
And I spent a ton of ‘silent prayer’ sessions actually peeking out of my eyes to see who was doing what. Some people looked earnest, some were falling asleep, some were wearing really silly outfits. I remember thinking “I wonder if they know what to do right now?” But I never asked. I was probably 8 or so at the time.
Nothing much changed on into my teens. It’s rather ridiculous to think I used to cringe all the time not knowing how to pray if it was something I was expected to do, and that I never asked anyone for help. And more, I always felt a disconnect to any kind of higher power or whether there really was one and if I could tap in somehow.
But the other day I found myself really grateful about how I now think of prayer: the mental state I live and strive to embody daily…and I wondered when the shift happened?
While I can’t pinpoint a date/time, I can say that my awareness of what to think and how to cultivate a relationship with God happened gradually as I gleaned different insights from the chapter called “Prayer” in Science and Health. (see post called Science and Health for more info about this book).
So I started thinking about my blog, about all the others out there who feel the same way I did, regardless of age. And I wanna just offer a few things that have really helped me make this leap…that prayer isn’t only about what you do when you close your eyes for a certain time frame but is actually a state of thinking, of being.
It used to be this way: I used to think I could only pray when I had a really big huge need, and at that I didn’t really know if God was listening, or if I had the right to ask.
Sometimes I’d simply pray ‘Okay God? Hey. It’s Tre (I mean if Margaret could talk to God that way in Judy Blume’s book so could I, right?)….I’m supposed to be praying right now but I don’t know what to say or do or if you’re listening. So here goes: I’m doing my best to be good. I’m trying to be more loving to my sister Tanya. But sometimes she’s mean and won’t share and has better clothes than me. So please let her let me wear some. And please let me feel okay about mom and dad being divorced ’cause life’s kinda hard right now. Oh, and it’d be really cool if Rob or Bill start to dig me. Please let me have a boyfriend. Oh, and please make mom stop making me take cotillion. The boys only come up to my boobs and it’s really embarrassing. Well, sorry, but it is. And please make everyone stop calling me ‘Tresha Tubbolard’ because that really hurts my feelings. And please let me lose weight.”
Well, you see the pattern. I prayed like I was writing a diary. I asked for stuff, hoped I was worthy, tried to be a better girl, and announced all this to whatever God was out there listening.
And now? I walk around with a sense of knowing that ‘all things are possible to God.’
I never walk around feeling disconnected. And I never feel something is too great or too huge or too scary or too hard for God to heal.
In the first line of the chapter on prayer, Eddy affirms
“The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselved love.” (p.1:1)
Whoosh. ‘all things are possible’…and end result: reformation and healing. And she even says what’s needed: ‘a spiritual understanding of Him’ and an ‘unselved love.’
Kinda makes you ask yourself:
Do I think all things are possible to God?
Do I believe that any sickness can be healed?
Do I truly believe anyone can be reformed, including me?
Well, that’s when it started…I grew to have a deeper awareness of the nature of God as Love to whom all things were possible.
“God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more? God is intelligence. Can we inform the infinite Mind of anything He does not already comprehend? Do we expect to change perfection? Shall we plead for more at the open fount which is pouring forth more than we accept?” (p. 2:23).
From that passage alone, I’ve learned that if anything is dancing around in my thought that says ‘this needs to change,’ it’s really my view that needs changing—about the truth of God’s nature and man’s reflection as His creation–and not me needing to tell God to change it. I started believing anything—any discord—could be healed—from self-hatred, to regret about the past, to broken hearts, to fearing the future, and even the stuff we think is par for the course: disease or suffering of any kind.
Now it’s not just an overnight conviction. Feels that way now though. But what’s helped me broaden my view of the true nature of God has been cultivating my own relationship with Spirit, my own spirituality through living more that divine nature.
“What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds…..The habitual struggle to be always good is unceasing prayer.” (p. 4:3, 12).
I sooo love this! It breaks prayer down into qualities: being good, expressing grace, striving for patience, embodying meekness and being loving! Those are doable, right? ☺
So….a shift from doubting God could do certain things to realizing a truer sense of his nature as Divine Love…and a shift from feeling a great disconnect with God to realizing I share a oneness with Spirit that can be lived. Just two huge aha’s I’ve gleaned from my study. Prayer really is something that doesn’t have to scare us ever. It’s how we think and what we live and anyone can do it!
Eager to hear your thoughts and what you’re finding as you read that chapter. And if you don’t have a copy of Science and Health, click on that title to order from Amazon.
As always, email me with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or send a comment and tell me how best to respond to you.