Prayer. What do you think of when you hear that word?
If you’re a Christian, or have a belief system in which prayer/petition to God or multiple gods is a regular practice, it may sound like an obligatory placebo. Maybe it feels like something on your daily spiritual discipline to do list. Is it a laundry list of wants and needs? Perhaps it’s something which you use to be mindful of the situations and circumstances in the lives of the people you care about. It could be that there’s a formula on how to pray. If you write them out, in a journal format, do you write it like a letter of petition? Is it a monologue in verbal letter form with an opening, introduction, identification of needs, requested/expected action, an appeal, and a closing?
Some believe in the manifest power of prayer. Others see it as a form of magical thinking or as a way for people to absolve themselves of the responsibility to take action.
Do these things sound familiar in whatever religion you may or may not practice?
How is affirmative prayer different?
According to Sumaiya Wood, a Spiritual Life Coach:
“Affirmative prayer focuses on the good we desire rather than the negative condition or situation we are praying about. We recognize that we’re not changing God’s mind about anything. God’s will is for our good.”
(What if I don’t believe in God?
Valid question. This is where a principle I picked up from the 12 Steps of recovery. Even if you don’t believe in the God of any religion you can recognize and admit that whatever problems and challenges you are facing, and feel the need to pray about, are beyond your control. Then, you make the decision to act and speak “as if” you believe in a Higher Power, whatever that looks like for you.)
Sumaiya goes on to say:
“. . . we’re simply opening our awareness to the fact that God’s good is everywhere present. We’re not petitioning a withholding God outside of ourselves or trying to persuade Spirit that we’re worthy of our request. We recognize that God is all there is – omnipotent, omniscient, omniactive – and that everything in creation is an expression of God. All the good there is available now in the midst of whatever situation or condition you’re praying about.”
I think it’s a way of using prayer to focus on the solution instead of the problem . . . something I have a really difficult time doing.
The next thing is to understand the different components of affirmative prayer.
This is a form of prayer that I’m just learning about and, I don’t know about you, but I need a step-by-step tutorial. I found one on the website of Centers for Spiritual Living. It is called “Build a Prayer” and provides the following five steps:
1. Recognition (God Is)
2. Unification ( I am)
3. Realization (Speaking into reality your desired good)
4. Thanksgiving (Grateful Acceptance) and
5. Release (Letting go, let God)
For me, as a Christian, some of what I’m learning about Affirmative Prayer, feels a little like it’s New Age Woo Woo and somewhat sacrilegious. However, there was a time when I thought Christianity was also Woo Woo. I’m sure that’s what many non-Christians, non-religious folks think that as well. However, when I look at it, I can see how it works within my belief system.
Here’s my affirmative prayer for the day:
Abba, Father, I know You have created all that is from your very being. You have created me from your very being. Jesus said, ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” You are part of me and I am part of you. I believe that you are whole and unified, mind (God), body (Jesus), and Spirit. That wholeness is what created and maintains all that is. That wholeness is within me, I embrace that truth, now, accepting the wholeness and unity of a healthy mind, a healthy body, and a healthy spirit. I am grateful for the wholeness, health, and unity which are of you and live in me. I release this into your hands and let your Spirit work in me.
My truth is that for a lot of reasons, many of them trauma-related, this prayer, is just words for now. However, I DO believe they are true, on some level. Since I know that a very strong skeptic resides in me, along with God, I say the next prayer in full earnestness:
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”