January 25

Today's quotation:

The purpose of daily prayer is the cultivation of a sense of the sacred.  Sacred energy renews us.  Lives with no more sense of spiritual meaning than that provided by shopping malls, ordinary television, and stagnant workplaces are barren lives indeed. Spirituality enriches culture.  Prayer enables us to transform the world, because it transforms us.

Marianne  Williamson

Today's Meditation:

One of the most important truths about prayer is that it doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with any religion.  Our prayer is between us and God, or us and life, or us and the universe--and many people see all of these things as the same entity.  Many people hesitate to pray because they're not sure exactly to whom--or to what--they're praying, and that's a shame because prayer can be a very enriching experience, indeed.

But our prayer can strengthen us significantly if we stick to it.  It can help us to reflect on our lives and to clarify what it is that we really need or want.  Prayer can help us to think through what we want--is whatever we can buy at the mall as important as the relationships we have with our parents?  Is getting that new job what we really want, or would we prefer to get better at the job we're doing now?

As long as we don't see prayer as some kind of shopping list or wish list, we can use prayer to great effect in our lives.  We can strengthen our contact with the spiritual sides of ourselves and of the world--it's contact that we always have, but often neglect, and it stagnates with lack of use.  We can make the connection dynamic and useful just by sending a few words of thanks to God; we can strengthen it by sharing those things that concern us or worry us; we can broaden our connections by paying close attention to the answers we may receive, most of which already are with us, and are uncovered through the action of prayer.

Prayer is personal and prayer is powerful.  We can add this power to our lives very easily, and we can avoid the frustration that many people feel with prayer by not expecting particular answers to our prayers.  If we prayer for someone in particular to love us and that doesn't happen, frustration ensues.  If we pray for that new job and we don't get it, we can see prayer as ineffective.  But prayer isn't about getting results.  Rather, it's about strengthening ourselves and understanding our connections to the world and with God.

Questions to consider:

What do you expect when you pray?  Are those expectations often met?

Why do we come to see prayer as a way to ask for particular things to happen?

How often do you pray just to say thanks or to ask for a deeper understanding of something rather than a change?
For further thought:

The value of persistent prayer is not that
He will hear us. . .  but that we will finally hear Him.

William  McGill

more on prayer

  

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