Archives For prayer

 “Prayer is joyous breathing, by which the heavenly atmosphere is inhaled and then exhaled in prayer.” Andrew Murray

Recently I participated in a sweat lodge and was invited to pray out loud with witnesses. I found myself feeling very exposed by allowing others to hear my conversation with the Divine.  For as long as I can remember I have had a private inner-conversation with God. In my mother’s home this was cultivated and encouraged. We had permission to pray in a natural way.  Mom shared by example the sense of relief, healing and support we can experience through prayer.

Although I have this easy natural prayer life, I have been hesitant to show this side of myself to others.  Prayer has been so intimate for me that praying out loud was like being naked in front of strangers.

Part of the fear of revealing my prayer life has been fear of judgment.  Fear that outside of religious organizations, prayer is shunned or seen as weird, uncool.  Prayer is vulnerable. Through it we are revealing our needs and desires in the most intimate way.  Yet prayer is our strength.  It helps us grow a sense of greater certainty with our inner-guidance.

When I am struggling with anything in my life and finally pause to converse with the Divine about my struggles I find immediate relief.  There is a shift in the tension I’ve been carrying, a sense of support from the universe, even if nothing has changed in the outside circumstances.  Often the outside circumstances do change once I have surrendered the outcome.  And at a minimum I feel my perception of the circumstances changes.  I feel less stuck.

When I’m stuck in a space of stress it is hard to see clearly for myself.  It’s hard to see all my options or a way out.  I unconsciously have given my power away to some situation or circumstance that feels bigger than me. It is in the simple act of prayer, sharing my heart with the Divine, that the breakthrough comes. Light shines into the darkness and helps me see clearly again.

Yet even with a lifetime practice of inner prayer I still forget to pray.  It generally is when life is most challenging that I go long periods without remembering to ask for Divine support, without surrendering my will to the will of the Divine.

So I encourage you to pray. Regardless of your belief system, this conversation with a Higher Power is transformational. It frees us from our burdens.  It clears space in our heart and mind so we can see the answers and hear our inner-voice.

Breathe in the breath of the universe. Breathe out your prayers of gratitude and requests for support from the Divine.

Intention and energy infuse sacred spaces.  It may be a place where something miraculous occurred or a corner of our everyday life that we set apart with a potency that allows us to quickly return to alignment with our Self.  Places of worship, temples, shrines, ashrams, grottoes and mountain tops become infused with the prayers of all who congregate there.  Prayerful intentions have a common theme across belief systems: giving thanks, surrendering burdens to the Divine, asking for good to come in our lives and offering to be of service to a higher power.

Sacred spaces fed with these vibrations have a way of quickly shifting us to center when we enter their aura.  I was recently on my annual visit to Shambhala Mountain Center and hiked to the Great Stupa a spiritual monument supporting the path to enlightenment.  As I entered, a muffled silence with the power of sacred commitment pulsated so strong that my ears rang.  They were being cleansed of all wasted frantic thought, followed by pure silence and stillness.  Breathing, sitting and being present, my body arrived in the moment instantly.

I hadn’t noticed that I had been ahead of myself, body, mind, spirit moving at different paces as I climbed the hill to the Stupa.  Inside my body went through a series of awareness’s, ringing silence, bits of tension in one shoulder, forehead and souls of my feet released with pings, like medal warming in the sun after a cool night.  My mind accepted the futility of trying to control anything by pre-thinking it and came back to the moment I was living.  My spirit smiled at my body and mind and said, “thank you.”

Being in the flow of life is good.  We meander or sprint through the choices we make each day, deciding what to cook for dinner, maintaining focus while we work and walking the dog.  In the midst of our routines, life’s demands and the non-stop flow of needs from those around us, pausing in a sacred space allows all of the activity to become more centered.  Sacred spaces have a magical ability to presence us to our needs in the midst of busyness and help us quickly release what isn’t important.

Creating a personal sacred space such as a home altar is one way to bring this experience into our everyday life.  An altar can be dedicated to whatever we intend, an inspirational altar, a self-care altar, a gratitude altar, a love altar or an altar that changes with the seasons.  Materially it is a collection of items that remind us of our soul’s creative desires, fresh flowers and beautiful object that evoke the vibration of love, symbols for space holding and clearing such as candles, sage and bells.

Personal sacred space allows us to take a few moments each time we pass it by to remember that our spirit is on this journey with our body and mind.  Rituals re-align us to our Self due to their intention and the repetitive nature. By returning to the same place with intentions we infuse it with those beliefs such as gratitude, surrender, trust and a willingness to listen to the Divine through our inner-voice. We create our own unique healing space to center in our authentic Self.

Calling on Angels

Natalie —  May 17, 2012 — 2 Comments

Communication with spiritual support, angels and the Divine, is like breathing.  It’s available every day and in parallel with any other activity.  We breathe while we speak with a friend. We breathe while we do the laundry. We breathe while we take a shower.  We breathe while we drive.  There is not a time we’re not breathing.  Prayer can be like that, an ongoing conversation with our angels. It doesn’t need to wait for a special moment.

We forget.  We save up our conversations with God for important occasions where we’re feeling pressed, stressed, in a pinch and we don’t see another way through what we are facing without difficulty.  Or we feel guilty asking for help from the spiritual realm when we are facing difficulties.  Always coming with our hand out, we hesitate to ask.  We especially forget to talk to our angels and guides when things are good, and express our gratitude.

To cultivate an intimate relationship with Spirit, we have to trust that our angelic support is available at all times.  Spiritual helpers are not sitting in judgment of our failure to ask earlier, nor are they upset that we are just remembering they exist.  They want to hear from us no matter what the topic. They want to help with the little and the big challenges.  They want to celebrate the good things with us too.

The purpose of requests for spiritual assistance is not to get out of our responsibilities or avoid the consequences of our choices. It’s to help us be present for them with strength and a lighter heart. It is to instill us with faith, that whatever the outcome, it is all going to be okay.  We’ll make it through the conflict, pain or uncertainty.

Communication with our spiritual support, angels and higher power, is very similar to listening to our intuition.  It is initiated through our thoughts in connection with our heart’s intent.  It’s a conversation with the invisible but all-present source of assistance.

We typically listen for intuitive insight, yet we have a habit of asking/talking more than listening in communication with God.  Listening is important.  Answers to prayer show up in mysterious ways.  If we don’t quiet our mind long enough to listen, we may miss the answer, or at least a piece of the gift.

We breathe while we listen. We pause, walk the dog, take a yoga class, we still our mind to hear the voice of God.  It’s a sacred space between our soul and Spirit.  It is available to us at any moment.  When we feel alone this support is right there in our midst.