Your Fantasy: Learning How To Pray
By Te-Erika Patterson Originally posted on www.te-erika.com Why do we pray? Praying is such an intimate time which is why most people pray in secret because they don’t want anyone to know what is really in their hearts and what they really desire or fear. We pray when we need answers, guidance or peace of mind through a sticky situation. When a phone call to a friend won’t help or the negative thoughts keep flooding in, most times we use prayer as a last resort. If we can’t help ourselves then maybe there is someone, somewhere, that can help. All prayers are valid and do have an effect on our lives, but my theory on the reason why our prayers affect us may be a bit different from yours. Who do we pray to? Most people pray to a concept of a being that is on a higher level than we are spiritually and physically. Many languages and traditions have various names for this ‘being’ but I believe they are one and the same. Praying to a higher power is helpful to those who want to relieve the stress of complete responsibility for the choices they make in their lives or the situations they face. It also helps to heal the emotional wounds for those of us who do not have anyone in our lives who will act as a protector or provide guidance. As a social constructionist and existentialist I believe that we all adopt beliefs that help us to make sense of the unanswered questions in our lives. Every one of our beliefs is a CHOICE and we have the right to believe what we want to believe. Some people choose to believe what others have taught them without question or self seeking. If those inherited beliefs provide peace of mind and inspiration then you are on the right track. How do we pray? Besides the ritual prayers that we are taught by those who influence us, we all have a prayer ritual that we may never notice. Even those who don’t believe in the concept of God send up prayers everyday. How? It’s quite simple. Here is the key concept that I want you to understand.
Believe it or not… OUR THOUGHTS ARE OUR PRAYERS Have you ever been thinking about a person and then you hear from them immediately after? Have you ever had your worst fear come to fruition? Have you ever taken the time to imagine a scenario and then shortly thereafter the situation occurred just as you thought it would? Although you may brush these incidences off as pure coincidence, I believe that your thoughts were actually energetic prayers that pulled these situations into existence. The things we meditate on often materialize in our lives through our perception of events and circumstances. This is seen most often when a person has an emotional expectation of an outcome of a situation and then later realizes that their expectations were true. Your expectations for your lives will ALWAYS be true simply because… Our thoughts are our prayers. Our thoughts mirror our expectations for our lives. Our expectations transform our perception of the events and circumstances we face thereby affecting our reactions and interactions when dealing with the event or circumstance. Example: A woman named Susie is overwhelmed by the tumultuous relationship she has with her mother. She doesn’t see her mother all the time, just on the rare occasion when her mother calls and asks her to stop by to bring her a bottle of wine or a certain book. Susie can barely remember a day when her mother was nice to her. She says all of her mother’s words are spiteful and abusive and that her mother will never change. On this particular day Susie received a phone call from her mother early in the morning. Her mother was out shopping and asked to meet Susie for lunch because she wanted to talk to her. For the rest of the morning Susie imagined what it would be like to sit and have lunch with her Mom. She knew that her mother would criticize her clothes, her taste in men and belittle her career choice. She imagined that they would end the luncheon in a heated argument and spend the next month or so avoiding each other. By the time Susie sat down at the deli near her job, she was on edge. As her mother approached, saddled with packages from her morning shopping spree, Susie rolled her eyes and looked away.
Her mother noticed this reaction to her presence and immediately tensed up. Instead of sharing the exciting news of the cruise she was about to go on, she sat down quietly and barely said hello, wondering why her daughter was always so upset with her. “I’ve never known you to be a girl who wears yellow,” her mother remarked as she eyed her daughter. “This is some bullshit Mom! Did you call me here to berate me in front of everyone?!” Susie asked, raising her voice. “What are you talking about Susie? I just made a comment about your blouse,” her mother replied curtly as she lowered her gaze to look at the menu. “Don’t do that! I know what you’re thinking. I know you hate John and you want me to leave him! I know you think I’m stupid for being a dog groomer but I happen to love my job! I know what you’re going to say!” Susie belted out as she stood up and grabbed her purse. “And guess what? I don’t have to listen to any of it!” What happened here? Were Susie’s expectations correct or did her expectations shape her perception of what her mother said? What were Susie’s expectations based on? Her thoughts and fears. All morning Susie sent out powerful prayers through her thoughts. Those feelings she meditated on with intense emotion consumed her entire being affecting her work and her mood. If Susie’s prayers had been more upbeat and positive then she would have interacted and reacted differently, which would have caused her mother to interact differently with her. When we choose to focus our thoughts on a specific situation or outcome with intense emotion, we are praying for those thoughts to come true. Ask and you shall receive, says the Bible. If you believe in the Bible then you should understand that we ask for things by focusing our attention on them and meditating on them. But what if it’s a bad thought? I don’t really want those to come true, but they do anyway. How can I stop it? How To Pray When you find yourself becoming sucked in by the negative energy of a fear or negative expected outcome, change your internal conversation. Learn how to make your prayers really work for you. You can do so by:
1) Create a trigger word that immediately shifts your thought process- For example, whenever I found myself offering prayers that were not beneficial to me I would immediately say aloud STOP. This became so commonplace that people thought I was weird, which I am, but I’d rather be considered weird then to send out those powerful prayers of doom. 2) Spend time praying your pleasure- There is a beautiful scenario in your mind that you have never before dared to meditate on. For some reason you don’t believe you deserve it and you’ve actually talked yourself out of wanting this thing to happen. You now have my permission to fantasize about this dream of yours. Fantasize. Dive into it. Wallow in it. Have as much fun as you want. Be playful with it. 3) Change your conversations- My friends and I used to have these marathon complaining sessions where we competed to see who was being treated the worst and whose life was more hopeless. It seemed taboo to discuss anything good. In fact, when we had good news to share, we usually shared at the END of the conversation while all the drama was shared first. Subconsciously, I believe that this led to us re working our perception of events and conversations, just so we could have something to add to the Doom Fest. Talk about what you want to happen instead of what you don’t want. You may have to change your friends or your friends may be receptive enough to grasp what you are learning and join in the fun of positive prayers and conversations. 4) Turn on the light- Even in the midst of a sticky situation it may seem like a good idea to sit in the dark, light candles and cry your eyes out, begging God to rescue you from your current ordeal. Instead, turn on the light, think about what you would like to happen for 2 minutes and then let go of your negative expectation. Promise yourself that as long as there is light in the world, your prayers will reflect that. Your thoughts are your most effective prayers. Learn how to pray your best life and rejoice as every delightful prayer is answered.