How to Pray
by William Bezanson
Prayer is a mystical process, not an intellectual one.
This article continues from my previous one, “Prayer Works!”
The way that many have been taught to pray is to make petitions to God in the form of “Dear God: Please make Jane better,” as an intercession when Jane is sick. That method is sub-optimal. If God is omniscient, as we are often taught, then surely it already knows that Jane is sick. Why does God need reminding from us, doing nothing until we remind it and beg it to correct the situation? And how do we explain the case when Jane does not recover, but gets sicker, or even dies? Do we carry on, praying in the same ineffective way as before, gambling on the outcome? Or do we do the intelligent thing and observe the failed experiment, examine the premises of our prayer model, develop a new model, test it, and eventually find a model that works better?
A much more effective method of prayer involves recognizing that it is a mystical process, meaning that it involves direct union between yourself and God. First, be aware that the only person whom you can really change is yourself. Therefore, your prayer should be that God guides you to be your very best in helping to make Jane better. Don’t expect a miracle. Don’t expect God to do the work. Expect yourself to do the work.
Second, how can you do effective healing if Jane is a long distance away from you? This step involves realizing that she is not far away. She is connected to you. We are all One. There is only one soul in the universe, the Soul of God. We are all part of that Soul. So Jane and you are the same. You have different soul personalities, incarnated into different physical bodies. But the essence of you and the essence of Jane are the same.
People are always in contact at the fundamental level of the soul. Thus, being your very best for someone can be done at the soul level. And you can make a tangible contribution to someone, in terms of healing, inspiration, and encouragement.
Third, we need to realize what sickness is. Sickness is an imbalance of natural conditions in a person. Healing involves rebalancing to a state of harmony. This model applies also to organizations, institutions, countries, and even the world, any of which may be sick. They can all be treated by rebalancing their natural conditions.
Fourth, we need to examine the mechanism of how you can have an impact on someone using the mystical Law of the Triangle. Two points, properly focused, will manifest a third point for stability. The first point is the sick person, Jane, for example. The second point is God. You can visualize the connection among Jane, yourself, and God, and feel God’s healing love flowing through you to Jane. Then the third point of the triangle, Jane’s healing, is made manifest. The process of God’s love flowing through you awakens the natural healing energies that are latent in Jane, bringing about a balanced, harmonious condition for her.
Fifth, if Jane is receptive to the above process, it will be much more effective than otherwise. So coaching her in advance to want to get better, to make herself receptive to healing energies, and to let her know that you will be an instrument of healing for her, is an important part of the process. But assure her that the real healing comes from God, and that you are merely a channel for that healing energy.
Sixth, finish your healing session by thanking God for using you in this way, and then dismiss all thoughts and worries of Jane, and adopt a sincere attitude of total confidence that Jane’s situation has improved. The process should be repeated daily, or more often, until the desired results are evident.
Now, that’s effective prayer! I learned it from the Rosicrucian teachings, and adapted it to my own style. It involves work on my part, not simply petitioning God and then expecting God to perform a miracle. And it is a suitable method not only for healing sicknesses, but also for any situation that you want to affect: a safe trip for someone, guidance for proper choice of a mate, wisdom in decision making, and so on. Such considerations lead to the seventh requirement: your motivation for prayer should be non-selfish, altruistic, and in noble fulfilment of your responsibility to co-create the world along with God. This form of prayer will likely not be effective in helping your favourite team to win, or for you to have “good luck” in a lottery, or to make it not rain on your picnic, unless, of course, you can formulate your wish to comply with a higher, non-selfish purpose, such as sharing your winnings with a charity.
We’re not finished yet. The eighth requirement is that you actively show your gratitude for your effective prayers by giving back something of yourself from the benefit that you have gained. For example, make a donation to the hospital where your friend was treated, write a letter of thanks to a doctor or a politician or a police department or whoever helped the situation for which you prayed, or at the very least put some money into a private holding place for later anonymous donation to a charity.
So prayer involves extensive work on your part, not just abandoning your spiritual responsibility by asking God to do the work. What a shame it is that our spiritual institutions continue to mislead us by teaching that prayer is easy, and that God changes its mind in response to prayer!
I encourage you to think seriously about the effectiveness of your current form of prayer. You are an evolved, mature person who can think for yourself. Consider prayer a form of scientific experiment: formulate a model of prayer; use it; test it; observe results; form conclusions; modify the process or develop a new model as appropriate; test that model; observe results; and continue to evolve new models until you are satisfied with the effectiveness of your prayer model.
If my explanation here is helpful in evolving your own prayer model, then I am pleased that I am able to help. Indeed, as you might guess, I have been praying, using my process, to be my very best for you, my fellow human beings, and I am totally confident and grateful that I have been helpful.
William Bezanson is a retired engineer who has turned into an author. His most recent book is Abandoned Shopping Carts: Personal and Spiritual Responsibility, from which this article has been adapted. He is currently writing a book I Believe: A Rosicrucian Looks at Christianity and Spirituality. He lives with his wife in Ottawa, Canada. To learn about his books, visit his website.