One of the toughest ideas to understand in this modern world is the role of prayer and how prayers are answered. Most of the confusion on this subject revolves around what prayer is.
At its most basic, prayer is a way of setting intentions. You are asking God to change your human experience in some way. Perhaps you are asking for solutions to problems. Perhaps you are asking for something to be added or deleted. Perhaps you are just seeking a greater understanding of the human experience. Whatever the case may be, you are asking for some aspect of your own life, or the life of another to be improved.
The problem that most people run into with prayer is that they are far too specific about what exactly they want to see changed, and how it should change. They think they know exactly why they are not happy and exactly what changes would solve the problem. They are asking God to intervene in the world and change it to better suit them. If God does not do this then they feel that their prayers were ignored.
The thing that must be understood here is that God has a much larger and clearer view of your own life than you do. He can see exactly what you are trying to accomplish and what effect it will have on you and your life. He can also see that some of things that you are asking for are not what you need. They do not serve your personal growth as a human being. They are just catering to personal fear. God is not interested in catering to your fears. God is interested in helping you grow.
For example, suppose that you have a great deal of personal fear and insecurity around the subject of money. You are always worried about having enough money. It seems logical to you that the answer to this problem is accumulating so much money that you will never have to worry about having enough. This may lead you to pray for God to bring lots of money into your life. God will hear your prayer, but if that prayer is coming from a place of fear and insecurity then God may decide that it is not the best thing for you. Perhaps God will decide that the better thing, the thing that better serves your growth, is to dissolve your fear surrounding money.
I do not believe that God is against wealth. The thing that God is against is ways of living that are driven by fear.
Think of fear as being like a big vortex that hangs above you and sucks all of the joy and light out of your life. The biggest misconception about fear is that it can be satisfied by feeding it. I fear being poor so I seek money to feed that fear. I fear being alone so I seek a relationship to feed that fear. Although it seems to make sense, it does not actually work. You may find a high paying job that allows you to get away from fear for a while; however, as soon as there is a rumour of layoffs that fear will be back in full force. You will cling to the job. You may find a great relationship, but at the first sign that things are not quite right you panic. You cling to the relationship. The fear was never actually gone. It just went into hiding.
As I said before, God does not like to see anyone living from fear. Fear is the opposite of joy. God wants to see you live and joy. Sometimes this means that God will need to destroy the very things that you are desperately clinging to in order to address the fear that is underneath. It is only when the fear is gone that you can start moving into a life of joy and abundance.
There are many couples in the world who have problems with sex and intimacy in their relationships. These couples often settle into dysfunctional patterns of behaviour that are not satisfying for either partner. Every couple days or so he asks and she says no and then there is a fight. Sometimes it ends with sex happening, but neither person really enjoying it. Sometimes it ends with no sex. Either way, they both lose because the fear and insecurity around the whole subject remains.
Suppose that both partners are praying for a solution. He is asking for his wife to stop resisting himself so much. She is asking for her husband to stop being so pushy. They both think they know what the solution is, and they are probably both wrong. Meanwhile, the situation continues and they both think that God is ignoring their prayers.
Suppose that one day he goes on-line to find advice about seducing his wife and finds a site that suggests he just stop pursuing her for a while and try being more romantic and loving. He ponders that but decides that if he lets off on the pressure their sex life will totally die.
Suppose that one day she reads an article in a magazine about giving your spouse what you know they need, even if you do not agree that it is important. She ponders it, but then decides that her husband will just take advantage of it and be wanting sex all the time.
It may be that God was offering both of them a window into the solution that is right for them. However, it was not the solution that they had settled their minds on so they ignored it. In both cases, an opportunity was lost.
Here are some important points that I want you to consider:
God always hears our prayers, and he always answers them, but he does not always do it in the way that we expect him to. He is not going to give us exactly what we want each time, because sometimes the thing that we asked for is not what we need. God gives us what you need.
Quite often, the thing that we need is a new perspective on the whole situation. If we are living from fear, and allowing fear to drive our words and actions, then life is going to be pretty miserable. That vortex is never actually satisfied. Rather than seeking new ways to hide from it, the better solution is to dissolve it entirely. Fear only has power over you if you allow it to. It is like a bully that chases you around all day, but when you finally turn and face it, it turns out to be not so scary.
Many people have clung to dysfunctional patterns in marriage for years because they were afraid to let go of them. They were afraid that if they let go of what they did have, then they would have nothing. Then, after years of struggle, they finally give up … and things finally start to improve. The old patterns fall away, and new ones begin to evolve that are much more loving and peaceful.
Likewise, many people have clung to jobs that they hate for fear of being without income. However, they eventually hit a point where they cannot do it for one day more and quit. Soon after that they land a job that maybe does not pay as well, but is so much more joyful to do.
Sometimes you have to let go of what you have, allow it to fall away, and allow yourself to have nothing for a while. It is in those moments of acceptance that the vortex of fear suddenly stops spinning, and quietly dissolves. That thing you feared so much has finally come to pass … and it was not so bad after all. You are still here. The world has not ended. All of that fear was built on nothing. It was product of your own mind and its social conditioning.
Of course, you want to move forward, and as soon as the fear is dissolved you will start to move forward. You start imagining new possibilities and things start to happen. Your life begins to rebuild itself into something better. You made space and now that space is being filled.
That is what it means to let go, and let God. Instead of always asking for something specific to change in a specific way, or asking for something to be added to you, try just asking for joy. Try asking God to do whatever is necessary to help you find peace and joy in life. Then be open to the possibility for anything to happen.
Bringing you into a place of peace and joy may require God to seriously remodel your life. All kinds of things may have to be stripped away in order for better things to come in. Be open to that possibility. If you are always looking ahead to the kind of life you want then it will happen. On the other hand, if you are always turning back to try and pick up the things that God knocked off then you will get bogged down and block what God is trying to do in your life.
Have faith that God always brings you what you need in order to grow and expand as a human being.
Wow! Exactly what I needed to hear & when I needed to hear it.
Thank you too, being a relatively new member of this site (just a few days), It's been a little disappointing to find there's not a whole lot of positive postings, comments, feedback, etc. Pretty scary to say the least!
This is beautiful. Another thing that I do when I pray is say what I am grateful for that day. Gratitude puts you in a reverent state, and reminds your pesky ego that it represents your false self, and you do not have to listen to its incessant yammering.
Very nice piece, bravo! While reading this it felt as if this was wrote with me in mind. It felt so personal to me and it was really what I needed to hear. Very comforting message and I thank you for taking time out of your day to share it with us.
That is great! I quit a job I absolutely HATED last year and guess what - God blessed me with a job making a LOT more money and with insurance benefits only a few months later. God knows what we need before we ask.
I love this. I might not believe in the same god/dess as you do (or rather, call Her by the same name), but your text resonates in my spiritual tradition as well. I have a very close relationship with the Goddess I serve, including in how to get along in my new (first for me!) marriage (She even brought me and my husband together, I believe - in answer to a prayer). Her lessons are very much part of how She answers prayers. I believe She brought us together to help us both heal ourselves, heal our relationship with the divine as well as create something greater, more holy, together - something we can't do separately. It's not an easy path every day, but I learnt long ago that nothing of value was gained idly: and that the path of greater joy is also the path that brings us to the heart of ourselves, of the other, and of relationship with the divine - a sacred circle - past fear, past dark shadows, following Her light.
I need to believe that God has a bigger plan for me. My life has been in turmoil for 10 months because of my Hs infidelity. I have been clinging onto my marriage with all my might for me and my children to no avail. I wonder if God has another future planned for me. Maybe it's time for me to let go!
DG Posted via Mobile Device