Prayer without Ceasing

It is interesting how, even as a minister, I can sometimes forget the power of prayer. Of course, I am praying all the time. But then there will be that one nagging situation that I’ll just keep dealing with at the material level, somehow forgetting that prayer would be helpful there too.

The title for this blog comes from the Christian Bible in first Thessalonians: “Pray without ceasing.”

In Tibetan Buddhism, there are prayer wheels with the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” inscribed on them so that one can continuously turn the wheel and repeat the prayer, said to be the most important mantra in Buddhism. It is thought to contain the essence of the entire Buddhist teaching. Its literal translation is “Praise to the Jewel in the Lotus,” and it is about purification in all aspects of our being.

In the Bhakti yoga tradition, devotional prayers or mantras are sung in groups, repeating the same lines over and over, sometimes using mala beads to count to the sacred number 108, repeating the prayer that many times.

Jesus, when asked, “How often should I forgive?” responded “up to 70 times 7.”

In so many religious and spiritual traditions, we find the practice of repetition when it comes to prayer. Surely, this is not because God “out there” needs to hear our prayers many times before answering them. Rather, it is because we in human form need to practice aligning our own consciousness with a greater spiritual truth. Often we have deep-seated unconscious beliefs and alignments from past conditioning and these can be transmuted with continuous, or repetition of, prayer.

I liken our subconscious, habitual thought patterns to a floating board in a swimming pool that just keeps returning to the surface once we stop applying conscious attention. Often, awareness of a limiting thought pattern is only the first step. Old thought patterns can be so insidious that we need to continue applying new wisdom until we clearly establish a fresh thought pattern.

This was certainly true for me when I began to learn the spiritual principles of prosperity. At first, I had grasped the principle of God as my unlimited source only intellectually and consciously. I had previously believed in ‘prosperity through struggle’ for so long that, whenever I discontinued my conscious prayer practice around prosperity, I would find my thought patterns contracting back to the belief in struggle.

The invitation today is to remember the value of prayer; not the kind where we beg ‘God out there’ for something, but affirmative prayer, where we open ourselves to accept something greater in our lives.

Where could you apply prayer in your life today? You might take a moment and open to a new possibility. Perhaps you could say to yourself, “I am open to this situation being resolved. I now accept peace and prosperity” (or whatever applies in your situation). Then claim something greater for yourself by declaring it specifically, such as “I now have peace in my relationship” or “I am supported in being successful in my business.”

When we state such affirmations, which can also be included in an affirmative prayer, we begin to open to grace. We align our thoughts with a belief that life is meant to be good for us. In truth, there is really nothing in a spiritual sense that is working against us, and everything that is working for us. Even if we don’t currently believe this, just opening to the possibility is helpful. Try it, and begin to see the power of your words and thoughts to align you with a greater experience in life.

Enjoy the journey.

Next week: A Primer on Affirmative Prayer

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