Prayer - It's What I Do

Prayer Faith By Ahriana Platten | A Soul-Full World Spiritual Community
When we commune with the spirit within and ask for new ideas, they are forthcoming. - Charles Fillmore

As we reel from yet another round of mass shootings, the public predictably responds by discounting the value of "thoughts and prayers." Before you explain why thoughts and prayers don’t help, let me say that I’m fairly certain typing the words "I'm holding you in prayer" is not the same as praying. Prayer works if you pray. Unfortunately, it is questionable how often people actually pray before, during, or after typing these words. Typing is not a prayer. To truly pray one will stop other activity, open to the Holy with a sincere heart, and commune.

"We commune with spirit"...according to Unity Co-founder, Charles Fillmore. This communing is the foundation of prayer. We pray when we are seeking wisdom. We pray when the circumstance of life is bigger than the human heart can handle. We pray when we need strength and courage. We pray in order to find peace, healing, and comfort. We come to our oneness with the Holy, we commune, and we pray. The outcome of prayer is subtle - and discerning that outcome is an art of its own.

And what about our thoughts? What is it we mean when we say "I am thinking of you."  What exactly is a person thinking? Perhaps we are reminding ourselves of the tenacity we humans are capable of. Maybe we are thinking about the best possible outcome for the person or people involved. Sadly, it's my belief that most of the time, what we mean is that we are thinking about how tragic the situation is and empathetically connecting to the pain. Yes, of course, empathy has value.  We are interconnected.  However, what could happen if we moved beyond empathy, using the knowledge science has revealed to us regarding the power of intentional thought.  What if we directed our thoughts toward potential solutions rather than only sinking into the pain, again and again, without coming any closer to the answers we so desperately need. What would the Divine Imagination offer us?

To tell someone you are thinking about them and praying for them carries a certain responsibility. It is to commit to a process. It is to commune with the Holy, to be willing to receive new insights, and to hold those insights in mind with reverence, allowing for inspiration and manifestation to take place. Prayer can happen in seconds or minutes or hours. It’s not about time. It’s about actually communing with the Indwelling Divine.

When horrific events occur, we must all respond. It is the work of politicians and voters to consider the laws. It is the work of sociologists to consider cultural factors. It is the work of mental health specialists to consider psychological influences. We must look to those who are trained in relevant fields to provide the tools we need in each respective area of life. Following that same line of thinking, I have spent three decades learning to commune with the Holy. It is the field in which I endeavor to become a master. If I say I will pray for you - I will pray. If I say I will use the power of thought to support you, I know exactly what I am committing to and I will do it. This is my field of expertise and, when tragedy strikes, I do what is mine to do.

Many people, like me, have spent decades studying spirituality. It is ours to open to Divine Influence and call forth whatever wisdom we are able. It is ours to hold in mind that miracles can happen and that answers we have not even thought of can flow forth. It is ours to support the people in this way. Our thoughts and prayers do not preclude us from voting. They do not interfere with our ability to take appropriate action. In fact, my prayers and subsequent thoughts often lead me to better and more effective actions.

None of us are meant to do all things in our society. We are meant to do what we do well.  We are meant to study, to practice, and to follow through in our respective fields. We are meant to pursue excellence. If you feel it is your work to pray, then do it skillfully and with an eye toward mastery. Follow the path of prayer to your thoughts and bring forth what lives in the Divine Mind. Let that guide you in your actions. Let nothing stop you from doing what is yours to do. If it is not yours to pray - that’s okay.  You have something else that is yours to do. If you do not believe in the power of prayer, that is also okay. Prayer is simply not your work.

Please, please, not write "Thoughts and prayers" if you don't intend to do anything more than type the words. Leave the praying and the spiritual thinking to those of us who are dedicated to this discipline. And please, do not discount the value of the work being done by this dedicated group of people. We are doing what is ours to do, what we have studied and practiced in order to be ready for this exact moment.

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