Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Prayer and Petition

Someone asked me what the difference between prayer and petitioning in meditation is. I don’t believe there is a fundamental difference. In both, we seek to commune with the Cosmic All, regardless of what we picture it to be. The technique is the same as is the tendency not to let go of a prayer or petition once it has been articulated. If one does not let go of one's prayers, it is the same as writing a letter, then not posting it.

In meditation, it is possible to visualize one's self entering an auditorium, with the stage lit, but the audience in darkness. Walk onto the stage and address the audience, explaining your problem and ask for strength and guidance to overcome it. When done, leave the stage, knowing that your petition has been heard and a way will be opened for you to solve your problem.
The only caveat I would warn against is telling the Creator how you want your problem solved. For instance, many people will pray for money in order to ease a particular problem. We have to have faith that the Creator knows what we need and will provide us with a way to solve our problem ourselves. Do not expect a miracle of gigantic proportion, with the Creator stepping in and fixing everything you think is wrong with your life. I pray to the Creator for strength and guidance, and for other people, but it never felt right to try to tell The Creator how to do his job.
I have known people who have attempted to pursue a spiritual path in the mistaken belief that the Creator will provide them with the winning lottery numbers, or some equally far fetched thing. To my knowledge, those who do so have little or no success.

There is an old story I would share here about an elderly woman caught in a flood.

When there was a real and immediate danger, Fire Department vehicles came around to pick up people and take them to a safe place. She would not go with them, telling them that G*d would protect her. Once the water reached about 2 feet, they came in a boat to evacuate her. She still would not go as she said that G*d would keep her safe. As the water got higher she ended up on the roof of her house, grasping the chimney. A helicopter spotted her and a rescuer came down a ladder to help her into the plane and to safety. Once he was standing on the roof, she said she would not go as G*d would keep her safe.

As the water started to lap at her feet, she looked up and shouted "G*d why have you forsaken me. I am a devout believer and have served you faithfully all my life!" And a voice thundered out of the clouds, " I sent you a bus, I sent you a boat, I even sent you a plane and you refused each of my attempts to help you. What more do you want, woman?"

I never wanted to be that woman, so I have tried to keep my senses alert to help that is offered, but only ask for strength and guidance, which is all that any of us can expect.


Paul said...

I've noticed pretty much just the same things. As far as petitioning goes, for me the one petitionary prayer that's worked is for strength.

In contemplation, for me it's not about petitioning at all unless one thinks of the repeated word as an expression of desire for the experience of greater presence. But even then, to think that thought at the time can quickly become counterproductive for me since the purpose is to get my mind to be quiet for a change.

Alexys Fairfield said...

Asking for strength and guidance is the only thing we can do. When we try to guide God's hand, we run into conflict.

Zareba said...

Thank you both for your visits and comments. I am always delighted when I find you here.

I agree completely. Asking anything beyond strength and guidance is not going to have the desired result.


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Bruce Dyson said...

I have been praying and petitioning that I will pick the winning lottery numbers for my whole life. I believe that prayers are answered only if we ask in accordance to God's will, and not our own.

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