Effective Prayer--Part Two

Note: This is a continuation from the previous post.

There is a story that reminds me of what we sometimes do in our prayers. It is the story in the Garden of Eden when God came down for a little visit after the now not so happy couple have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and have lost their covering of light and find themselves naked and ashamed. They are full of blame, casting the responsibility for their choices on everyone but themselves. We continue in that same condition today.

Perhaps the first step on the road to meaningful prayer would be to start from the perspective of taking personal responsibility for the condition of our lives. This is a huge step. Maybe that might be a good place to begin our prayer. “Dear God. Please help me to take full responsibility for the condition of my current life.”

When we can stop blaming anyone or anything for our lives we our in the best position to have God begin to work on the things in us that God can help us with. One of those things is to ask for empowerment in using our gift of free choice in a responsible way.

We may not be on course in the way that we think we should be, but we are free at any moment to start living in a new way. God is great at helping us begin anew and to learn how to exercise our free will in a constructive way. Actually, that’s what all of our “mistakes” have been about—they have been to teach us cause and effect and the idea of personal responsibility and how to be a successful co-creator in our world.

Another great prayer is to ask for insight and guidance on where we are shirking our own personal responsibility. Of course, when we ask, we must listen and watch for an answer. Not just during the few minutes we are engaged in prayer, but during the day, and watching our dreams at night to see what clues we might find. The Spirit will show us where we need to grow if we will but listen and be open to hear the answers.

The problem that we face is in setting aside our ego and all of the excuses it can make for the ways that we behave and think that need to change. We have pet ways of coping that have created a certain type of spiritual blindness and deafness. We are immune to our own “stuff”. These are called ego defenses and they have served us well for many years.

These ego defenses, however, are the very things that make excuses for the things we do that create problems in our lives. Prayer can be an effective way of asking for guidance and help with these.

If we want our prayers to effective—that is to make a difference in our lives and grow us closer to God—then we have to learn to communicate in ways that God has permission to work. God will not go contrary to the basic laws of free choice. As with any type of communication we must not only speak but also listen.

So in other words we must take responsibility for our situation, no blaming or the waving of magic wands to make the effects of our choices disappear, but assuming full control at the wheel of our lives. From this standpoint we can consider what we might truly ask for help and guidance for. This also clears the path for true worship. We can only worship God as supreme and as our Creator when we realize that we have been given this amazing gift of a free will life. We then view Source as the giver of all gifts and worthy of our worship.

Have you ever considered that when you don’t take responsibility for your own choices and free will that you come to resent God because you think that God is withholding a better life from you? When you realize that you alone can make different choices you begin to understand that God is longing to help you make better choices and move into a more abundant way of living and thinking.