Prayer has been a big part of my life lately. Which is strange. Because for a very long time, it wasn’t. At all.
Being raised Catholic, I had my token prayers growing up. My mom and I would say them together before bed on our knees. Soon, I even said them by myself.
It was a routine. I didn’t really have a reason for saying my prayers. I just… did. And it was nice. A couple steps above meh. Then I got older. Fell away from the church. And stopped praying altogether for about a decade.
In the early 2000’s, I got into progressive spirituality. My gateway drug was Wayne Dyer. I really enjoyed what he and others like him said about prayer and meditation, but I still didn’t really practice it.
I even watched The Secret when it came out (c’mon now, don’t tell me you didn’t secretly watch The Secret too…). They talked about the whole Law of Attraction thing. Wow, this opened my eyes to a new kind of prayer. A prayer where I wished really really hard for things and they were to show up. Right?!
Low and behold, some things DID show up. Hey, this stuff works! But then a couple really big things didn’t show up. In fact, they got worse. I felt let down by the whole Secret thing. So I went back in non-praying limbo (besides the occasional dabble here and there) for about another decade.
Where I am today
When I started divinity school, the first step, I learned, was to get my spiritual practitioner license (which I’m currently working on). Another word for ‘spiritual practitioner’ is ‘prayer practitioner’ (talk about the least marketable title in this day and age, ever).
Essentially, I’m studying the ancient art of prayer. Prayer for a purpose. Prayer for oneself and others. Not in praying to an outside God. But to the eternally loving, whole, joyous, radiant, [insert positive quality here] presence within all of us, regardless of our creed.
I mentioned the power of prayer the other day in an article (click here to read it) and how it transformed a very important meeting I had with my mentor. I told how, before we got into the heart of the conversation, we ‘prayed in’ together, just like we always do when we chat. I mentioned the automatic heightening of consciousness that occurs in awareness when we do this.
Well, I got a few emails and responses asking me to explain how I pray. So, as much as I resist prescriptive posts, I figured I’ll share the type of prayer I’m studying with you…
Affirmative prayer is a declaration of the spoken word that’s intended to raise us above the level of our problems and into the presence of the divine.
Have I gotten woo-woo enough for you yet?
Good, we’re just getting started here…
This kind of prayer can take many forms. I’m currently learning Affirmative Prayer 101, which is what I’ll share here, but I’ve been told of people who pray without using words. This is Jedi-level stuff and I’m not there yet, but I believe in its power. Because here’s the thing…
Effective prayer isn’t about the words, it’s about the level of consciousness the words emerge from. No words are needed to get there (they just help)…
Rather than begging or beseeching a God, this method involves connecting with the spirit of God within (or source, Mind, oneness, or whatever you want to call it) and asserting a statement from a raised consciousness regarding what it is you’re praying about.
So, instead of saying…
God, please bring me a ton of money to pay my bills.
You say something like…
As I realize the God within, I now know that I am an inseparable individualized expression of the life, wholeness, vitality, and abundance that flows through me right now.
Feels more… real, right? More actionable.
Less like you’re asking Santa Claus for something.
If we were to take this up a level (which we might as well do), in my tradition, there’s a 5-step process to affirmative prayer which I’ll share with you here…
1. Recognition (God Is)
In this beginning part of the prayer, we’re bringing our full attention to God (I like to call it Source, but we’ll stick with ‘God’ here). We let the small ego part of our awareness fall away and embrace the divine intelligence within all things.
It goes something like this…
(In any of these examples, you can, of course, tweak and expand them however you want according to who/what you’re praying for, etc.):
“I know that there is only One Power in the Universe. This loving, creative principle is [insert positive quality here], and [another positive quality]…”
2. Unification ( I am)
In this next part of the affirmative prayer, we’re declaring that we’re inseparable from this divine presence. We are one with it. We are it. It can never be absent from us, no matter how much we grow ignorant of it…
“I know that I am one with God, made in the image and likeness of God. What I know to be true of God, I know to be true of me. Therefore, I am an individualized expression of [quality], [quality], and [quality]…”
3. Realization (Speaking into reality your desired good)
This is where the prayer gets personal. This is The Secret/Law of Attraction type stuff without the blatant consumerist materialism.
As humans, we are individual, customized versions of the divine presence of God. We bring heaven to earth (mind you, in my tradition, these are not geographical locations but states of consciousness) in our very own specific way. That’s what we’re bringing to light here…
“I now speak my Word to know and accept that I am [insert quality here]. I let go of any beliefs that are contrary to this and know that from this day forward, my experience is new. I am [quality]. I have [thing that comes forth from said quality]...”
4. Thanksgiving (Grateful Acceptance)
This is the sweet spot. It’s where we personally start to let things go and step into the grace of the divine. Pure gratitude is one of the highest states of consciousness we can find ourselves in and it’s what we’re creating the space for here…
“I am grateful that the Word I have spoken is being acted upon right now. I give thanks for the life-affirming nature of Source.”
5. Release (Letting go, let God)
We have the belief that, if the ego is grasping onto something, by its nature, it sabotages it. So in this final part of the prayer, we’re letting it go. We’re releasing the ego’s grasp and trust-falling into this higher intelligence as it takes over and does what it will. This part is pretty simple and punchy…
“I release this Word into God knowing it is done. And so it is.”
“And so it is.”
Those four words, right there, are some of the most powerful I’ve experienced. When you end the prayer with a strong and so it is, you feel complete. You feel amazing. You come out of the prayer with a heightened awareness. Suddenly, that weight you were carrying on your shoulders is gone and it’s been replaced with a fullness of spirit that makes you want to go out and create.
Try this for someone you love going through stuff of their own. Even if they’re not in your presence, this kind of prayer knows no time and space. It ripples throughout the consciousness we’re all united in and… shifts things.
So this is it. This is how I pray. Play with it. Customize it. Use it. Or scrap it and pretend this never happened…
And so it is.