What is prayer? We often think that prayers are a specific pattern of words spoken in a specific way to a higher power (God, Divine, Universe, whatever name you use). We often visualize this being as being above us, in heaven and listening with a pen and paper to record our request and mark down when the request has been granted. Prayer doesn’t work like this. First of all, God is everywhere and in everything. That means God is in you too. Prayer is a way to connect this divine energy to our daily lives. We pray to be better than we are. We pray to express gratitude for all the amazing gifts we receive on a daily basis. Prayers express our longings, joys, and fears. It helps us to connect with our inner selves and with the world around us. Prayer doesn’t have to take place on our knees but it should be with intent. Quiet reflection allows us the opportunity to hear our inner wisdom, which is often the Divine communicating with us. Our story this week, demonstrates the difference between acting with intent vs. not truly being invested in the act.
I vividly remember as a child rushing through the rosary, so I could say it was done. I mumbled the words and skipped parts of various prayers. It just didn’t mean anything to me. Now, I can sit in silence for a few moments and feel a deeper sense of connection. At times all it takes is a glimpse of a line of a prayer I have hanging in my kitchen for it to speak to me a message I need to hear in that moment. Prayer doesn’t need to be in just quiet reflection though. It can be done in dance, song, or art. It can be though gardening and realizing how we are all connected and dependent on each other. How do you intentionally connect with the divine?
This week’s lesson included the following phrase which really has me thinking. “It is the means to accept our responsibility for making the Presence of God visible and effective in the human species. Prayer is a way to express our commitment to give the best possible expression we can to this sacred presence”. This speaks to me of using prayer to request to be God’s instrument. As Tosha Silva so beautifully states, “May my life be for the Highest Good and in service to the Light. Guide my way, You know every longing of my heart.”
Affirmation: My heart is connected to spirit through prayer.
Story: THE PERSISTENT FRIEND
It is possible to make a new friend anywhere. Monica and Gwen became friends during a beginner’s quilting class on Saturday mornings. Together, they looked at fabric, cut out pieces, and compared designs. They both wanted to make a quilt for their mothers. After the last class, the girls were chatting with Eileen, the young teacher. Eileen was older than Monica and Gwen; she was out of high school. But Eileen felt like a friend now too, and she had been a terrific teacher. She knew a lot about sewing, and she was an expert quilter. The girls thought her designs were really neat and not too old-fashioned. Eileen wished them luck on their projects. “That is a wonderful idea! But it could get tricky, so remember I am happy to help if you need it. You could even come over to my house to work on it if you like. Call me anytime.” She gave them her phone number.
The girls were sure they could handle it themselves, but told Eileen they would call her if they needed an expert. They went home and got started right away. It wasn’t too long before Gwen needed help. She couldn’t ask her mom — that would spoil the surprise. So she got out Eileen’s number and called, but the line was busy. She planned to call back later, but she got distracted playing games with her brother, and she forgot. The next day she tried working on her quilt again but didn’t know what to do. Since Eileen lived nearby, Gwen walked over to her house. She tapped lightly on the door, feeling a little shy about asking for help. The house was near the school yard, and Gwen could see some of her classmates on the playground. When there was no answer, she ran off to join the kids on the playground.
Monica had also realized she couldn’t finish her quilt without help. She called Eileen and also got a busy signal. She tried calling every hour, all day, without any luck. First thing the next morning, Monica went over to Eileen’s house. As she knocked on the door, she heard the kids calling her from the playground, but she just waved and kept knocking. There was a doorbell too, and she tried that, but no one answered.
She couldn’t give up — she really needed help — so Monica looked through the windows. She saw a couple lights on and a cup of tea on the table, and then she noticed the car was in the driveway. It certainly looked like Eileen was home. Monica didn’t want to get in trouble, but she went around the house to the backyard gate. It was locked, but Monica kept walking around the fence until there was a crack she could see through. She pressed her eye up to the fence, hoping there wasn’t a mean dog on the other side. She thought she saw someone moving around in the garden. “Eileen! Eileen, are you there?” Monica called loudly. Suddenly, the back gate opened and Eileen appeared. She had her gardening gloves and her sun hat on, and she was smiling. “Monica! I knew that was your voice, come on in,” Eileen greeted her warmly.
When Monica told Eileen about the problem she was having with her quilt, Eileen insisted they work together to get it done that same day. “I’m so glad you kept trying to get in touch with me,” Eileen told her. “My mom has been sick and I’ve been on the phone a lot, so it was great that you came over and didn’t give up!” When they finished the quilt, it was beautiful, and Monica couldn’t wait to show it to Gwen. Gwen was impressed with the quilt. She asked, “How did you get Eileen to help you? She never answered me when I tried to reach her.” Monica smiled and asked her friend, “How hard did you try, really? She was so nice, and she really wants to help us—you could try again.”
Lesson from A JOYFUL PATH: Spiritual Curriculum for Young Hearts and Minds, Year 1 of the Inner Wisdom Series