About a decade ago, when I first started blogging, my blogfather Joe Katzman did a thing called Sufi Wisdom at Winds of Change. I thought it a good idea and did a spiritual post each weekend here at my blog. Or, at least I tried to, and tried to take at least one day of the weekend off from blogging.
Today, I am going to try to resurrect that a bit, and share some thoughts on prayer with you. Now, I don’t care if you call it prayer, meditation, or whatever: so long as the goal is to appeal to a higher power, be it God or the energy of the Universe, then it is prayer. What you are doing is asking an intercession on behalf of someone or something here in our reality.
In all respects, it does not matter if you are Christian, Muslim, Pagan, or other. Prayer is powerful, and is intended to be powerful by bringing higher power to play in our lives.
So, have you stopped to think what you are doing?
Let us posit for the sake of argument that you are indeed asking a higher power to apply that power in our lives. Let us further posit that you are granting that such a higher power knows more (or all), can see the effectively infinite outcomes of the possibilities that result from our choices and what can happen in life, and is willing to grant a gift of power towards a given outcome. To provide a miracle if you will.
You want a miracle, a specific outcome. Why? That’s the first question to consider. Why do you want that specific outcome? Is it because it is the best for you, as you see it? Is it because it is the best for anyone else involved, as you see it?
All too often, what we want is purely selfish. It is not what is best for anyone else, it is what we see as best for us. We want someone to live, because we want them in our lives. We want an object, because having it means status or other pleasure. We want the specific outcome prayed for because it gains us something for ourselves, not for another.
Second, if you do posit that higher powers can and do have that power and the wisdom to use it, then you also are accepting that our power and wisdom is limited. Therefore, who the heck are you to be telling that higher power what is right? Does the phrase ‘Place not limits on the Lord thine God’ ring a bell?
Our knowledge of what is right and best for all, especially in the long term, is limited if not non-existent. What we think is the best thing for us can, in the long term, be that which destroys us. What we think is the best for another has the potential to be a curse rather than a blessing.
By praying for a specific thing, a specific goal, we place limits on God. We ask that our limited perceptions rule the day, and that we deny that higher wisdom and power the chance to work to the greater good. Consider also that if we allow God the freedom to do what is right and best, we might get a lot more than we asked for in return. It’s like a child demanding a small toy, when the parents were prepared to give them a chest full of toys. You get what you ask for…
Yes, there is a lot more to this than I am going to go into here and now. This comes from many years of thought, and some wonderful theological discussions with some amazing people. For today, these are but some seeds, some food for thought for you. And, a bit of a shock for people who don’t read all the way down to the end.
For I do indeed pray, but I choose not to pray for a specific outcome. What I pray is very simple: Let that which is right be. I choose to not place limits, and to give that wisdom the respect and the freedom to do what is right and best. What do you do?