I’ve always struggled with asking God for things over and over. If God is Love, it doesn’t make sense to me to have to keep doing that? Is there another purpose for prayer?
Why pray if God is Love? That is a very important question and a struggle that I have also known. What am I doing in prayer? What is it’s purpose? Do I really have to keep trying to talk God into doing the right or loving thing (at least according to me)? When I pray for someone, is God really keeping track of how many prayers are offered up? Does God say, “OK. That’s twenty seven prayers for healing for Joe. Three more and I’ll heal him”. Does God need that much persuasion?
I have heard us humans a million times pray (out of good intentions and love) “God, please be with Sally,” when God is already with Sally. God can’t not be with Sally, and knows Sally in a kind of detail our limited humanity cannot begin to grasp.
I believe it’s important to start by taking an inward look at when we have prayed in the past, and for what reasons. What has been the energy space within myself that I have prayed from? Each of us can only answer that question for ourselves. As for me, I have observed that the most common energy space I have prayed from in the past has been fear. I was afraid because I was convinced I was lacking something that I was convinced I needed, and I needed it NOW. Also, what I was so sure I needed would not come on its own. I’d have to talk God into it. “God give me ___, fix ___, heal ___. I don’t have ___. Make ___ happen.
Any time we are caught up in fear, it is a sure fire sign that we are lost in ego. The ego has the illusion of being separate from God and on its own. So of course it’s afraid! As a consequence it thinks it has to come up with its own “solutions.”
When I prayed from fear (ego) I was also caught up in what the ego does. I thought I knew exactly what was needed, or what should or should not happen. I also thought I knew what was “good” or “bad”. “God, that job interview on Thursday HAS to go well! I need THAT job, and I need it NOW. Make it go well!”
If something was happening that I did not want to happen, my solution was to ask God to take it away. “God this is totally getting in the way of what I want!” We can easily want God to be something that gives us what we want, and takes away whatever we don’t want to experience. I saw that happening in the church often.
In the New Testament (2 Corinthians 12:4 and following) the Apostle Paul talks about a “thorn in the flesh” that was given him. “Three times I asked the Lord that it would be removed from me”, but God would not. Paul goes on to say that he had to learn that God’s grace was sufficient for him. He had to learn through this experience of weakness and being out of control about God’s profound grace.
No I won’t take it away. You’ve got to live with this one for awhile. Everything comes as teacher in this world and you haven’t learned its lessons yet.
Now when we pray for someone we love to be healed, we know we are praying not just out of fear but out of love for them. We simply don’t want them to suffer in any way. I want to make this clear: If you love someone, of course you don’t want them to suffer in any way. And if you want them to be healed, go ahead and talk to God about that. God loves you as well and wants to heal you of your own pain.
But is this illness or struggle part of the soul contract this person’s soul signed up for before incarnating? I don’t know. It may very well be.I certainly can’t say with certainty that it is not! Is this period of struggle with divorce, job loss and not finding another job right away, or whatever it may be, not part of the curriculum specifically designed for the growth of that particular soul? I do not know. But it may very well be.
Could it all be leading somewhere I cannot see? Of course!
Like you, I can look back and thank God for the pivotal times in my life I did not get what I prayed for because something much better was on its way. And it arrived at just the perfect time. My ego says it took way too long, but the resolution was always right on time.
So is there another place within ourselves to pray from? An energy space within that creates freedom from fear? There is! I am now convinced that the purpose of prayer is alignment of our energy with the flow of Divine Love.
You could say that prayer’s purpose is to change us and not God. That steers us in the right general direction. But we really don’t need to be changed. What/who we are in our True Self (Divine Love) is perfect. We just get out of alignment so easy in the fear of our ego.
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, Jesus spoke and taught in Aramaic, the common language of his people. In the Aramaic Lord’s prayer, this inner space of freedom, love, and peace is the first place Jesus teaches us to go to get back to Truth beyond fear. To realign ourselves consciously with the Flow of Divine Love.
The “Our Father” translates in Aramaic, “O Birther, Mother and Father of the Universe, you birth all things in Unity. Your one light, breath, and vibration flows within all that moves and changes.”
So when we get afraid, worried, confused, downright lost in fear, Jesus teaches us to sit down and marinate our energy in that ultimate truth. Just sit for as long as you need in the truth of God’s one light, breath, and vibration flowing within you, a loved one you are fearful for, and everything and everyone. Let it realign you Jesus teaches. Marinate in it until you get to the point where you know in your heart/soul, “Yes. I’m back home now. THIS feels like home to me. I remember now. Everything that is needful is here. THIS is ultimate reality and not the illusion of reality that my fear has created. I can rest here.”
We can also realign by marinating in nature, listening to music that feeds the soul, art, or whatever facilitates an alignment of our energy with the Truth of reality. These are all forms of prayer.
It is in this inner space that we get in alignment again, and away from the fear of the ego. We shift internally from fear to love. We can so easily become like the person who’s lost, wondering about in their community, due to some degree of dementia. We’ve forgotten where we came from or where home is. We see something familiar and in relief we say, “I remember now. I’ve got my bearings again.” Prayer serves to get us back to what is familiar within the soul.
If we do not make that shift and continue to pray from an energy of fear, we will never escape the prison of our fear. Even if what we ask for from our ego’s fear does indeed happen (the common understanding of “an answered prayer”) there will soon be something else that we’ll get afraid about, and we’ll think we have the solution. So we’ll ask again. Then something else will come up, and the cycle of fear repeats itself endlessly.
Wait a minute! Isn’t there anything we can ask for in prayer? Yes! As we sit in this inner space, we listen. We listen to it’s wisdom. We can ask it, “How would you have me see this situation? What do you will for me to think about it? What is the highest good for this? How shall I respond? How can I be of help to the one I bring before you? Show me the way.” In short, “give me Wisdom.”
You’ll notice these types of questions do not come from a place of fear/ego. They come out of the seeking of the Higher Self. They come from a place of trust.
If we seem to get no guidance (according to our timetable, or our limits of awareness) the guiding will come on its own time, now that we have set the intention of aligning ourselves with the one light, breath, and vibration flowing within all life.
We must never forget that nothing aligns our energy with the goodness of God more than prayers of gratitude. Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) was a German mystic. He wrote, “if the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you’, that would suffice.”
It is a prayer of the Higher Self, which innately knows the love of God. When we’re living from an inner space of gratitude, we are conscious of the Flow. When that happens, we can better see Divine goodness all around us, and the Flow can flow in and through us without resistence.
The Course In Miracles has a wonderful teaching on prayer, and prayer’s purpose of shifting us from fear (ego) to love. It says:
“Prayer is a stepping aside, a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving. It should not be confused with supplication of any kind, because it is a way of remembering your holiness. Why should holiness entreat, being fully entitled to everything Love has to offer? And it is to Love you go in prayer. Prayer is an offering; a giving up of yourself to be at one with Love. There is nothing to ask because there is nothing left to want. That nothingness becomes the altar of God. It disappears in Him”.
I LOVE the words, “nothing to ask because there is nothing left to want!” Can you imagine living life as a human with “nothing left to want”? No more “Give me this. Make that happen.” You can live this way because you know that you and the ones you love already have everything needful in this moment, and in the future? What freedom! I want in on that!!
In Matthew 6 (what’s called the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus is trying to help people to not worry. Now there’s a heavy lift! He says ‘you worry about this and that. My advice to you is to sit down and contemplate a flower.” Say what? “Yes. Consider a wild lily in the field. It’s in the flow of Divine energy. The flow provides for it and it doesn’t do anything except to be a lily!
Then he says, “Your heavenly Father already knows what you need. So seek first the Kingdom of God, and all the things you worry about will be taken care of”. In other words, sit down. Get realigned in Love. In doing so we become open conduits of the flow of Divine love and true wisdom. Our fear makes it much harder for the flow to flow in and through us. So our only task is to work with God to let go of the fear based obstructions WE have created within ourselves.
I intentionally use the title of this post “The ULTIMATE Purpose of Prayer” to say that there are many purposes of prayer. To thank God. To pray for guidance. To pray for someone. But the ULTIMATE PURPOSE of prayer is to free us from our fear. To be so in love and in awe of the goodness of the flow of the Divine that we can let go and trust it.
When I was a pastor, I can’t tell you how many times I heard people say, “I could feel people praying for me!” You probably have had the same experience. That is a statement of their experience of spiritual energy coming their way.
When we pray for someone else, let’s first and alway do our inner work of realignment. Then focus on sending them Love from the flow. Peace from the flow. Compassion from the flow. Healing from the flow. In whatever form that takes for the highest good of the one we love. We don’t have to know what that will look like. We’ll only focus on being conduits for God’s flow. In this way we are on the magical ride of being Co Creators with the Divine. As we do so, we will notice the same love, peace, compassion, and healing welling up from within ourselves. After all,
You Are Love!
Pastor Tim Tengblad