A long time ago I was introduced to the concept of prayer. I always believed in the spiritual world but I never thought I could be the kind of person who practiced anything consistently, and I assumed prayer was, like most things, something boring I’d have to do regularly to get the results I want, so I decided prayer was not for me.
As I’ve grown up, I have discovered the many wonderful ways in which prayer can be – it doesn’t have to be this long, boring monologue that sounds like something from a Shakespearean play. I pray when I sing; I pray when I dance; I pray when I talk to God; I pray when I say “thank you” before I eat a meal; I pray when I ask a homeless person to dinner; I pray when I put love into the meals I prepare; I pray when I say, out loud, everything I’m grateful for.
Gratitude has been the most effective form of prayer in my life. When I’m ungrateful, my life tends to get way out of control and I go insane… seriously. When I am grateful, life feels better, even the hard stuff seems manageable.
When I started making gratitude lists, I would write down a few things I was grateful for every day. Of course, I would get bored and eventually stop. When the insanity returned, I’d make those lists again. Over time the lists grew and then the lists turned into more than just superficial, “basic needs” stuff. The more I was grateful, the more I had to be grateful for. The more I had to be grateful for, the more I was able to incorporate those other forms of prayer into my life. Funny how that works.
Dr. Masaru Emoto did an experiment with water molecules where he blessed, or cursed, water and then observed what happened to the molecular structure of the water after doing so. The results were phenomenal! The difference between the blessed water and the cursed water was the difference between beautiful water crystals and mucky, swamp-like death! You can see it for yourself at http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.html
Dr. Emoto’s experiment proved to me that words and thoughts are creative, and that I must be cautious about the words I speak and the thoughts I think or else I’ll end up like those cursed water crystals! Now, of course, I’m not always cautious. I mean, I’m still a human being and I often slip back into old patterns. The awareness, though, and the reminders are key for me in getting back on the gratitude wagon.
The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” The Bible also says in Matthew 21:22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” In the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu says “Express yourself completely, then keep quiet.” In the Quran, Surat ‘Ibrāhīm (14:7) says “Your Lord has decreed : The more you thank Me, the more I give you. But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe.” Conversations with God Book 1 says “All illness is self-created.” and “The best so-called affirmation is a statement of gratitude and appreciation.”
Do you pray? How do you pray? Do you always use words? Today’s challenge: Say “thank you” before you eat. You can say it in your head if you’re too embarrassed to say it out loud. (One day, after practicing prayer for a while, you may not care so much.)