Sunday, July 8, 2012

Just ask.

Just last night, I was reading a piece by Agnes Sanford about "The Healing Light." It basically discussed the power of prayer and how to do it.

Of course I pray. I pray quite a bit. I pray (unofficially) in the morning when I wake up. I'll typically say to myself, "Well, I guess you have something left for me to accomplish. Thanks God for another.) Then as I am driving, I take advantage of that alone time.. and so on and so forth.

I'll admit, I pray really, really  hard when I am in trouble. Or feel alone or whatever dismal state I may be in. I always feel guilty about that. On the other hand, when something wonderful happens or a 'prayer' is answered, I will stop and Thank God.

In Sanford's piece, she taps into the whole spiritual poverty of most people. I'll admit, I'm not as in tuned as some of my other friends are, but then again, more so than most people I know.

She took a line from scripture, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." She went on to say: Happy, that is, are those people who know that their spiritual power is small, that their creeds are imperfect, that their instruction concerning God and man is incomplete. Happy are those who know that they do not know the truth. For only those that admit their spiritual poverty are willing to learn.

As a Catholic, we are taught a lot of prayers. Some people look down on this and say that we are not praying from the heart, but simply reciting. Sure, that could be true, if you did not meditate upon the word as you were reciting. I have a hard time with some prayers people will utter in a group. For example, I've never been comfortable asking for something. I tend to want to show gratitude and then demonstrate that I am comfortable with His will. However, Sanford goes on to say - 'You need to ask.'

That made me stop and realize I simply find myself in spiritual poverty. Am I lacking the key ingredient to moving forward in my faith? Am I allowing God to show me ample love and allowing His grace to change me?

Sanford says that there are four simple steps she recommends for prayer:

1. The first step in seeking to produce results by any power is to contact that power. The first then in seeking help from God is to contact God, 'Be still and know that I am God.'

The first step is to relax and to remind ourselves that there is a source of life outside of ourselves.

2. The second step is to connect with this life by some such prayer as this: 'Heavenly Father, please increase in me at this time your life-giving power.'

3. The third step is to believe that this power is coming into use and to accept by faith. We can say, 'Thank you, that your life is now coming into me and increasing life in my spirit and in my mind and in my body.'

4. The fourth step is to observe the operations of that light and life. In order to do so, we must decide on some tangible things that we wish to accomplish by that power, so that we can know without question whether our experiment succeeded or failed.

I have to admit, it still makes me a little uncomfortable. I read that as Christians, many of us are told to seek comfort in having less, and showing humility. But according to Sanford's teachings, that just isn't so.  Seek and ye shall find. Got it.

This week I am going to try to be very specific in my prayers. More strategic. We have a direct line to God and it's important to keep that line open. Just like a friendship or romantic relationship, communication is key and being open and honest about your needs, wants and expectations is vital. Then, at the end of the day, knowing God knows best and His will will prevail, should bring you a sense of comfort.

My question to you is - How do you pray?

PS - If you are wondering who Agnes Sandford is - she was born in China as the daughter of a Presbyterian missionary. She lived for years in New Jersey as the wife of an Episcopalian rector. Her approach to healing through prayer has been uncomplicated and very confident of God's loving power to heal. She does not concern herself with complex questions of creed, denomination, or belief structure. Her approach is Christ-centered and church-centered. The piece I was referring to above is from her book, "The Healing Light.'  In this book, she concentrates on the practicality of prayer. She lived from 1897 - 1982.

1 comment:

Bossy Betty said...

A beautiful post, Nicole! I have missed visiting your blog and hope all is well with you.


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