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Sep 10

Positive Prayer

This is my sixteenth post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

Used with permission from Photopin.com and Flickr Creative Commons. http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathanhayag/5441597739/ (C) 2011

P= Positive Prayer: Prayer in one form or another is part of almost every religions tradition. In my own path, and in my numerous discussions with others regarding prayer, I have found that prayer can be a powerful tool in one’s spiritual path, no matter their religious or spiritual tradition.While some may view prayer as simply a time to seek divine intervention, such as rattling off a wishlist of desires, or seek divine intervention during a crisis  (the old saying, “There aren’t any atheists in foxholes”, comes to mind), divine intervention isn’t the sole purpose or use of prayer.

While prayer can certainly be used as a medium to seek divine intervention in our lives, the most powerful and fundamental aspect of prayer is that it allows us to connect with, and spend time with, the divine. Prayer when performed with the right mindset and attention, literally gives us the ability to commune with G*d, as directly as possible, regardless of what name you call him/her/it/they by.

Now then if you believe, as I do, that prayer allows you to literally connect with the divine, the natural questions is what should one do with that time? While asking for divine intervention is certainly a valid use of prayer, prayer can also be used as a time to give thanks to G*d, a time for self-introspection, as well as simply a time to commune with the divine.

Giving thanks in prayer is a powerful tool, because rather than using prayer as a time to rattle off a list of desires, giving thanks in prayer automatically forces you to focus on the many blessings that each of us enjoy in our lives, yet too often fail to recognize. Many of the ritualized prayers such as “The Lord’s Prayer” in Christianity, and “The Du’a” in Islam, first focus on acknowledging and giving thanks to G*d, and then seek the strength and wisdom to act in accordance with God’s will (love). I personally start off each day with a simple prayer of thanks, which allows me to focus on the positive things in my life, rather than my impending to-do list that awaits me once I get to work.

Prayer, in a more meditative form, can be a tool for introspection, where you examine your life, and seek to rectify short comings and issues in your life. This can be a tool for positive change, because by examining, and admitting, our short comings we can seek to make positive changes in our life. Prayer in a meditative form also allows you to simply spend time in the presence of the divine, and let the energy of the divine course through you, which is a truly powerful experience.

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Practical Tip: Take a specified time out of your day, to engage in prayer. Don’t use your time of prayer to only seek divine intervention; instead, seek to thank G*d for the many blessings in your life, and spend some time just quietly basking in the presence of the divine.

I would love to see your thoughts and comments on what you have done, or plan to do, in order to use prayer as a positive tool in your life. If you wish to use the topic of positive prayer as a point of reflection during the week, I would love for you to share any thoughts or insights that come up.

Please come back next week for the next installment of this series, and as always if you enjoyed what you read, please share on social network sites, subscribe to this site, and share this site with others!

Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)

8 comments

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  1. Ben Wallace

    Very nice, brother. Keep ’em coming.

  2. servingothersblog

    Thanks for this Jason. The idea of prayer can get all tangled up in religious connotations, but it need not. In its simplest form it can simply be an opportunity to connect with our true selves; to connect with the whole.

  3. Jessica J Marshall

    This week I am truly working on trying to be thankful in my prayers. What a better way to worship, than to thank God for all the blessings in my life.

  4. Joe MacGregor

    Great post. Thanks very much. I think we all need to realize, sometimes, that G*D is not a cosmic vending machine, where we put in our prayers and expect to get our prize in return. Being thankful for a soft bed, a shower, food, a job, a loved one, or simply life itself is important, This was a terrific post and I’m looking forward to more.

  5. servingothersblog

    Just came across this by Richard Rohr…ties into your piece very nicely I think:

    “Contemplation,” or meditation as it is called by some, became more popular in contemporary times through the writings of Thomas Merton. The word most Christians were more familiar with was simply “prayer.”

    Unfortunately, in the West prayer became something functional; something you did to achieve a desired effect—which puts you back in charge. As soon as you make prayer a way to get something, you’re not moving into a new state of consciousness. It’s the same old consciousness. “How can I get God to do what I want God to do?” It’s the egocentric self still deciding what it needs, but now often trying to manipulate God too.

    This is one reason religion is in such desperate straits today. It really isn’t transforming people, but leaving them in their separated and egocentric state. It pulls God inside of my agenda instead of letting God pull me inside of his.

  6. Shira M Loustaunau

    Beautiful words to share…thank you so much for the encouragement I get from your insight and humility. I would like to put out there my website, similar to yours, about my perspectives and the ‘Living In The Now’ moments I have to share. B’Shalom, may we share peace, hope and love to form a better place to be within and with others….Shira http://www.shira1111.com.

    1. Jason E. Marshall

      Thank you for reading and commenting! I think we have very similar insights and websites (hey that rhymed). I think you are doing wonderful work on your site, so keep up the good work!

  7. adventurousandrea

    I love the message on this one, Jason, and totally resonated with what you’re saying! Thanks for sharing.

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