Nothing up my Sleeve

We pray. A lot. Prayer is a cornerstone of who we are, what we’re trying to do, and where we’re going. There are all kinds of books, and classes, and groups, and so on, that can help you on your path. They’re all wonderful, but they’re all secondary. Prayer comes first. If you want a life that works, pray. If you want to grow spiritually, pray. If you want to be a conscious participant in the miracles that are happening all the time, pray.

The process and practice of prayer seems mysterious to some people. Given how important it is, nobody wants to do it the wrong way. That, more than anything else, is what scares people about prayer. It’s true that prayer is personal, maybe even intimate. It’s also true that prayer connects us with something raw and powerful. But neither of those things happen unless and until we can pray fearlessly. The gatekeeper idea isn’t anything terribly profound. People just don’t want to pray incorrectly; they don’t want to do it wrong.

With that in mind, I want to let you off the hook a little bit. You can’t do it wrong. Prayer is like a sunset, or a doughnut, or a laugh. Even a "bad" one is pretty great. The only thing better than your last prayer, in fact, is your next one.

I’m aware that on some level I’m leaving money on the table when I say things like that. There are more than a few people in my line of work who are ready to sell you on the complexity of the prayer process. There are a lot of places where the right words, the right pilgrimages, the right paraphernalia can be purchased, thus guaranteeing a successful prayer experience. We don’t sell spiritual equipment around here. With all due respect, it’s just not important to us. I don’t even think the words matter.

You don’t have to follow a script. There’s no wrong way to pray. You can talk to God just like you’d talk to a friend. Start with what you know about God, and go (and grow) from there. Make it a daily activity. Practice listening. You’ll find what works.

Maybe somebody told you that "words have power." I grew up hearing things like that, and on some level the sentiment is appealing. It’s not true, though. That’s not how any of this works. You can practice affirmations until the cows come home, but if you don’t have a conscious connection with Spirit, nothing will happen. Words aren’t magic. I can’t get a new car, or true love, or a good job just by saying some version of Hocus Pocus.

Miracles don’t happen because of our words. Miracles are experienced through faith. The inner connection will cause the outer action and experiential reaction. In other words, the right words will come naturally, as a byproduct of our head and heart connection with Spirit. Maybe that’s why, when they asked Jesus how to keep all the commandments, He didn’t tell them what to memorize, or buy, or eat. He didn’t tell them where to go. He told them to learn how to love; radically, outrageously, fearlessly. Let’s spend less time working on pretty affirmations and more time finding something beautiful in our hearts.

Words don’t have power. God is the only power, right? This path isn’t about figuring out how to shape reality in order to attract or manifest some kind of treasure. It’s not about brute-forcing the password to a better life. It’s about conscious communion with God. It’s about love.