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What Exactly Is Prayer? – Caroline Myss

by Caroline Myss: So, this month I am going to share something about prayer as well as a prayer…

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Most people are mystified by prayer – what exactly is prayer? How do I pray? What do I actually say? Many of the great and dare I say renowned theologians wrote about prayer, addressing those questions and many more. Among those theologians was Thomas Aquinas – and yes, we are going back always. He wrote at a time when no one questioned anything about the existence of God and everyone took their understanding of God directly from scriptural interpretation. We can put aside, therefore, much of what he said and yet he leaves some precious jewels amongst his writings. (Now, mind you, Aquinas is a man from another century as is reflected in his language.

So read through the “age” of his words and into the “essence” of his wisdom.) Here is one of his jewels:

“Further, prayer is but the unfolding of our desires. But our desires are holy in proportion as they are confined to one thing, in accordance with those words of the Psalmist: One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after. Whence it would seem to follow that our prayers are acceptable to God just in proportion to their brevity. (In other words, length of time is not the important factor but clear intent and focus of heart.) But to prolong our prayer does not mean that we ask for many things, but that our hearts are continuously set upon one object for which we yearn.”

(And therein lay the jewel of his teachings – you must live in harmony and in union with your prayers.) That is, it is foolish to pray for health and then sabotage your health by your choice to eat what you know does harm to your body or by avoiding exercise. Prayer and the intervention of heaven will not compensate for conscious choices that counteract what your prayers are seeking. It is foolish to pray for the healing of a relationship while being unforgiving in your heart. Prayer and the grace of heaven will not compensate for actions generated by a wrathful heart. You must live, think, act, and dwell in harmony with that for which you are praying and in that way, become a congruent vessel to receive the grace you are requesting.

Your prayer:

“Abba, I abandon myself into your hands…
In your love for me do as you will…
Whatever that may prove to be I am thankful…
I am ready for all, I accept all…
Let only your will be done in me,
as in all your creatures,
and I will ask for nothing else.
Into your hands I commend my whole being…
I give you my self with the love of my heart…
For I love you, my God, and so I need to give…
to surrender myself into your hands…
with a trust beyond measure…
For you are my faithful Creator…
Abba..
Friend…”

(from Prayer at Night: A Book for the Darkness by Jim Cotter)

Source: Spirit Library

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