Making a divine connection through prayer
Has anyone here ever wondered if you are praying the right way or berated yourself because you think you just don’t know how to do it right? You don’t know just what to say to God? Have you ever thought to yourself, “I just wish someone would teach me how to pray.” Well, guess what. You’re not alone. People all over the world ask that same question.
And, to the people who ask me that question, I usually have one standard answer. There is no one best way of prayer for all people. Every person has to pray at the level of his or her own awareness. Only you know how to pray in order for you to make a divine connection with the God of your understanding. Because only you know your own personal connection with God.
Humankind has been praying since the dawn of time. In fact, recently published research points to the fact that humankind seems to be “hard-wired” for pray. We seem to be “hard-wired” for some sort of divine connection. Our brains seem to be designed in such a way as to tap into a connection with something more powerful than ourselves.
People pray for lots of different reasons. We pray for ourselves. We pray for others. We pray for selfish reasons. We pray for selfless reasons. We pray for health for ourselves, for family and friends, and for our animals. We pray for money. We pray for love. We pray for peace. We sometimes even pray for revenge.
One of my favorite teachers, the Rev. James Dillet Freeman, a man who has had two different poems taken to the moon on two separate occasions, writes about what he thinks the purpose of prayer is in his book, “Prayer: The Master Key.” He writes, “The great purpose of prayer is this:
To turn wordless longings into words of faith.
To turn words of faith into life-supporting attitudes.
To turn life-supporting attitudes into brave, wise, loving acts.
To turn brave, wise, loving acts into a full life.”
When people ask me if atheists pray, I often think of this definition of the purpose of prayer, and believe that the answer is yes, they do. We pray to contact a power greater than ourselves. This power may be outside us, and we may call it God, or it may be inside us, our higher self, or our subconscious, or our super conscious, or God within.
We may think of it as a person. We may think of it as a principle. There are lots and lots of names we can call It: God, Buddha, Christ Consciousness, and Allah. It doesn’t matter what we call it. “It” helps us just the same. We don’t have to have the proper name for this power. We just have to call on It. What you call the power makes no difference to anyone but you, because what you call this power will determine how you pray. And, there is only one way to pray – and that is the way that makes God real to you – the way that will give you a divine connection.
Every human being on this planet prays – although they don’t all call it prayer. For, all of us reach beyond ourselves. All men and women try to be more than they have been in the past. All people try to touch powers beyond those they ordinarily have access to. Whenever we do this we are praying. We are making a divine connection.
There are many ways to pray. One is called prayer, one is called meditation, one is called deep thought. Another is called selfless acts of faith. Anytime we go beyond self, we come to selflessness – and selflessness is another name for God. We are making a divine connection. Every person who worked on a community project last week was going beyond self. Anyone who helped a child or an elderly parent or a friend this week went beyond self. All of these people were praying, whether they knew it or not. They were making a divine connection.
Is there a right way to pray? Yes, the way that works for you – the way that helps you feel a divine connection.
– Ruth Wallace is minister at Unity at the Lake.
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