‘Prayer is not the way to get what we want’
By Jim Hatton
“Help, God, I need….”
Praying to a god or gods is common in religious and spiritual groups around the world. The type and form of prayer varies widely. But what is common in all prayers is asking for something from a power or being who is outside ourselves. Even in the Eastern, mystical and New Thought movements, it is common to ask God/Source/All There Is (i.e., some power or deity) for help.
If you subscribe to the “Omni’s”: Omniscience, Omnipresence, Omnipotence or, simply, you believe that Source/God is all there is, then Prayer, as it is commonly practiced, is not necessary. In fact, prayer does not work!
“Blasphemy!” you say. “What an outrageous statement! Off with his head!” might have been the reaction in medieval times.
But think about it…how many prayers uttered by soldiers on the battlefield have been unanswered? How many cancer patients have died who prayed to live? Yes, not all those who have prayed to live, have died, and not all those who have prayed for a better material life, continue in poverty; neither do all those who have begged God for a lover remain single or in unfulfilling relationships. Sometimes prayer seems to be answered, but it is certainly not as a result of Source changing Its mind. Prayer is not the way to get what we want.
Let’s look at what prayer is, at least to most people: A prayer, as commonly practiced, is asking God-Source for help or for God to give us something we do not have or to change something we are not enjoying or to take something away that we no longer want. In most forms of prayer, one is asking God to change Its (gender omitted purposely) mind in response to the successful pleading of one’s case, proving extenuating circumstances, bargaining and, as a last resort, even begging.
Does God change Its mind depending upon Its mood, or how well one pleads his/her case? No! Humans project their human traits onto an Ever-Present, All-Knowing, All-Powerful Source of all life — all that exists. Does God change Its nature because of our prayers? No! I contend that it is blasphemous to think that we as humans can tell God what we need and want and then beg God to grant an exception. Remember God is Omniscience, All-Knowing. God is already aware of us and our lives, our wants, needs, and desires. If God didn’t already know this, then It would not be the “All-Knowing God.” Rather, it would be something less than a god.
God is eternal and does not change from moment to moment or from day to day. In fact, It never “changes” at all. The nature of God is consistent, always present, always knowing.
So, what is prayer for? How does one pray? Why do some people get their prayers answered and others do not? The answer lies in the idea/truth that “God is an all-giving God.” In fact, it is Its very nature to give, always, all the time, in any circumstance. According to the teaching of the modern-day, non-physical entity called Abraham (channeled through Esther Hicks), we are advised to “Ask and it is Given” because giving is the divine nature of God/Source. So, if the nature of Source/God is to give completely, all the time, then one may ask: “Where’s my stuff?” Well, your stuff is already there. You just have to let it in.
I like to think of life as a giant buffet. The “food” is already there, in infinite variety and unending supply. Our job is to pick and choose what we want, and how much, from the “Buffet of Life.” We can pick out the good food and leave what we don’t want on the buffet. We have to ask ourselves: How much of the good are we letting in? If we have the false belief that we cannot have all we want from the buffet because we are not deserving of all the good, or we will be punished for taking too much, or that by taking our good, others will starve, we will take only a small portion of the unending supply. The unending supply is there, always.
So, what is prayer? It is not an asking for something outside of ourselves; rather, it is the changing of our own minds in order to allow more good into our human experience. And yes, this type of prayer works! It works because it is the very nature of God-source.
The World is not broken, Be in Peace…
Jim Hatton is an author, spiritual teacher and speaker. He makes his home in the Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon. Contact him at email@example.com. Send 600–to–700-word articles on all aspects of inner peace to Richard Carey (firstname.lastname@example.org).