A friend of mine is going through a rough patch. I reassured her that none of us are exempt from hard times. We all falter and question our purpose, our ability to survive from one moment to the next. Being human is like that.
She’s better than she was a few months ago. When I asked what had changed, she teared up a bit, and said she was learning to “let go.” We talked about taking baby steps, about how small incremental changes have the potential to give long-lasting results.
She nodded in agreement. But, I could see that something still troubled her.
She confessed that she wanted to get it right. And, what bothered her more than getting it right was the idea that she might get it wrong. It being the process, the daily exercises, those essential steps that lead us through transition into empowerment. And for the most part, her daily ritual served her well: mediation, journaling, prayer, “letting go and letting God.”
Her eyes held me with their gaze and she further confessed that that last bit gave her pause. Letting God.
Letting God do what? she wondered. She had trouble defining her higher power — God? Spirit? The Universe? Creator of All Things? She didn’t know what to call it much less how to communicate with it.
I reassured her that none of us have a concrete answer to that age-old question: who or what is God? I did my best to explain that “God enters by a private door into every individual” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
She seemed relieved, then more specifically asked how she might get prayer right. Of all things she certainly didn’t want to get that wrong, who would?
Talking to God sounds like serious business and anyone in their right mind would want to do it correctly. It’s easy to become intimidated by strict rules imposed by world religions. But, the naked truth is that none of us have the absolute answer, none of us truly know, do we?
But, back to her question about prayer, about getting that right.
Prayer is simple, I tried to convey. An inner dialogue that guides us to a place in our hearts where we discover our higher power. In this quiet space, our thoughts and words begin to soothe our rattled mind and body. In prayer we offer gratitude for the life we have, the lessons we are here to learn, the opportunity “to receive what is already given; to accept what is already there” (ACIM, The Song of Prayer).
What follows is trust and willingness, the willingness to surrender, to let go and let God. Soon prayer becomes a natural part of who we are and can happen anywhere, anytime.
I assured my friend that there is no right or wrong way to pray. Our job is to be grateful and receive what is already given. I find there is nothing else to pray for, no need to entreaty God to address my individual wishes and desires, no need to ask God to solve my problems. I trust the answers are already there, deep inside my heart waiting to be opened. All are my gifts to receive.
Sources: “God enters by a private door into every individual.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The Song of Prayer.” A Course In Miracles. Foundation for Inner Peace. Mill Valley, CA. 2007.