Do you believe in prayer? (I know, you are thinking, where have you been? Promise, will get to that, just not in this post). So back to…Do you believe in prayer?
For me, finding my answer was not as simple. I grew up during Communism. We were “educated” as children that religion was not something good, that people who had faith were at the very least confused, and at the worst evil and wrong. I remember my paternal grandmother having an icon at home and me trying to explain to her when I was younger that she was mistaken, that there is no God and her insisting, oh but there was. She didn’t manage to convince me….
It was life, early on…somewhere around the age of 10, pretty much on my own that I came to the conclusion that there is something else out there. I guess, I felt that energy that I felt once in a while, and at times things happened that were not random, that kind of felt like that they were purposefully put there. It was the passing of my maternal grandfather that solidified my thoughts on this “existence of something else”(the word God was still foreign to me). That was the first time that I chose to have faith in an afterlife and not without irony believe that my grandfather, who was a lifelong Communist party member , and did not believe in God, had to be going to Heaven. He may have been mistaken about this God thing, but I believed that he was a good soul, and the only fair thing was to let him in Heaven anyhow.
I remember, still having this internal conflict about it. What if I was wrong? What if this whole afterlife thing was my imagination? What if I was doing something bad? (remember Communism). And then one day, I had a simple conversation with my mom about it. And she said that it is ok, to believe that my grandfather’s soul was somewhere else in the afterlife…that she had an unusual experience when her beloved paternal grandmother passed, that she heard her late at night…or dreamed of it that made her wonder of what happens after life….and so I chose to believe(and then my crazy fear of ghosts happened, but that is another story)
So my path to faith, was very gradual and mostly self-exploratory, and kind of a secret relationship of sorts. Won’t go trough all of the tiny steps and leaps that I took to get there, or the moments of confusion and yes also anger at God. That would take a while to explain, plus I am writing about prayer, right?
What matters here is that there came a point, right around the age of 12 that I chose to start praying, so I did. By that time, I have obtained a Bible, which I did not quite understand, and to this day haven’t quite finished reading. But in that Bible I found a prayer that I leaned by heart and kept praying every single night. And for this many years, it has been a little secret, I don’t think that anyone in my family or my friends knows. Not necessarily that I was hiding something, more like, it was too personal to share, it was something that I wanted to keep as mine only…
It was the Our Heavenly Father Prayer and since then, I have been saying that same exact prayer every single night, no exceptions for close to 30 years. Saying it and believing in it, however did not happen immediately. At first, it was more of a precaution, just in case type of a thing…
And the funny part is that it took me easily another 27 years to actually learn how to pray right…In my late twenties up to my late thirties I kept holding onto prayer in desperation and out of fear. After having two important relationships fall apart, I was afraid of being alone, of never having family on my own, and not being successful in life because to those things. So I kept hanging on that prayer and practically begging God for these things…but they never came. Keep in mind, that this is close to 10 years of praying for the same things, so I hit a wall.
By then, I was a somewhat out of my depression, and I was actually be able to rationally think and say to myself ” This isn’t working, so I will stop praying for those things. I’ll let go and surrender, I’ll accept what life is, and I will not try and manipulate and control my reality through prayer. Instead I will pray for the people I love, with as much detail as possible of what they may need at any moment. I will not pray for my benefit ever again, I will only ask to be guided to the wright path. I will believe that I am heard and see what happens”. And little by little, I felt heard, and small and big miracles began to happen and most of my prayers for my loved ones were answered….
So now, when I feel fear, anxiety or panic, I have my own mantra “God is here” and I use it. I believe that with that simple call, I am never alone and instead heard, protected, and at peace, and one with life.
Just recently, as 2017 was starting, I wrote out what I want to accomplish and what would make this year meaningful. One goal was to pray better. I felt that I have fell into routine, when it came to prayer and as a result my spiritual life was lagging, that I needed to do something about that.
Not shortly after, I started listening to “The Universe Has Your Back” by Gaby Bernstein. A book that I though was more about the Law of Attraction, turned out to be all about praying and meditation, and thus the Law of Attraction worked its way into my life one more time.
The thing about Gaby, is that I never could connect 100% to everything that she shared, some of it feels a bit out there…however I do believe in a lot of the principles that she shares in her work. And there I am, not too long after I wrote that goal, and somewhat left it on the back burner, buried in a list of at least 15 other goals…that I heard Gaby read this prayer close to the start of her book:
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
It just spoke to me…truly genuinely spoke to me and was the exact piece of a puzzle that I needed at that moment. A morning prayer and a tool of peace. My own small miracle, that benefits me, and through me the world around me.
With this, I leave you and I wish you one thing…may your prayers be wise, and may they be answered….