I admit that I have felt quite challenged about the whole nature of prayer. Perhaps you do as well.
When someone asks you to pray for them, what does that mean to you? Do you think they mean for you to request a specific outcome to occur in their life? Are you comfortable with this?
I confess, this has plagued me for a long time.
Of course, I want them to experience their best possible life. I want them to be free from painful obstacles and difficult and challenging decisions.
But how can I possibly know what the right choice is for them?
Even on my best day I do not possess enough insight for this.
It seems to me that part of our cultural training includes the idea that we can pray for someone and that our prayers will create the specific desired outcomes. And what I hear most is that when we pray to God (or the universe) the expectation is that God will listen to us and bring about the resolution of whatever problem(s) we’ve brought to God’s attention.
This approach seems to imply that there is only one ‘right’ outcome, the one the requester of the prayer wants to happen.
What if there is more to it than this? What if there is an even better answer?
There are problems with this whole approach, because should the prayer not be answered in the way requested, the requester is left wondering several things. Is my prayer not worthy of God’s attention or approval? Or perhaps, God is not listening to me. Or that God wants me to experience this difficulty, despite my prayer and the prayers of others.
It is easy to end up feeling like a victim if the specific prayer request is not answered.
Add to this the cultural phenomenon where there are two teams competing to win a game and folks praying for each side to be the victor. If you were God, how would you grant both prayers?
So, where does this leave us and what is God’s role in granting answers to prayers?
What if we looked at this from a very different point of view?
If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you’ll know my beliefs can border on the radical, so be prepared.
Imagine that God does not take sides, nor does God have a stake in specific outcomes. Since God has given everyone free will, God does not listen to one prayer and ignore another, nor dictate particular actions and outcomes.
So, what does God do and who is God?
What has been shared with me, which is of course up to you to decide for yourself, is that God is unconditional love. And unconditional love is the purest form of energy. It gives and supports all of life. It is non-directional and non-judgmental. It is open hearted, free, and available to everyone at all times.
God, as unconditional love, lives inside each person and is always available. Its pure energy can be offered and shared with anyone at any time.
And once given to another, it combines with their energy and creates sparks to help them light their path, so that they can see more clearly.
This non-directive, non-judgmental, open hearted, unconditional love supports and encourages the receiver, giving them strength and insight to move through whatever situation they are facing. It allows their spiritual plan to unfold, no matter what challenges appear on the surface.
When I am asked now to pray for another, I pause to remember this and dive deep into my heart and offer unconditional love as my prayer.