Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What To Do When Your Prayer Goes Unanswered

I love prayer and intentions.  And there are so many books that talk about the power of prayer.  There are even more books on HOW to pray, how to get PROOF that prayer works, and even why prayer DOESN'T seem to work sometimes.

The beauty of prayer is that every faith tradition has their own form and structure.  In my faith, it's called a Spiritual Mind Treatment which is a structured form of affirmative prayer.  The structure allows us to pray, knowing we are One with the Universe and then claim what we would like to manifest in our life.

I fervently believe in the New Thought teaching and most of the time, what we're taught works - affirmative prayer works.  And Ernest Holmes in the Science of Mind says there will always be a demonstration when we pray.

But - sometimes I don't see my prayer answered.  What I think should be happening is not in alignment with what shows up in my life.  And so I become skeptical and question if this really does work.

Let me share what happened recently.  My daughter has a true passion for cheerleading.  She's been on a cheer team since 2nd grade and only recently, when her 1st semester in college didn't work out, has she not been involved in cheer.

After a rough year of self-discovery, she decided to try out for the 49'er football cheer team, the Goldrush Girls.   She had two other friends who were trying out and she worked out with them.  She altered her diet and started eating healthier.  She had found her spark again and was beyond happy, in spite of the intense regimen that it required.

And - I prayed.  I affirmed her smooth and successful tryouts, I welcomed the result of her joining the team and I celebrated going to the game and watching her down on the sidelines.  I worked with her to create her vision of success so she was carrying that same vibration.  I had practitioners pray for her success in this venture.

So, the day came for tryouts and I was certain I would get a call by 5pm that she had made the team.  The call I did get, thought, was my daughter in tears because she felt they barely looked at her while she was on stage and she did NOT make the team.

I was crushed!  And I was upset and angry and frustrated.  How is it possible that my prayers did not work?

Not getting any answers, I met with my spiritual director and laid out my story.  Worse than unanswered prayer, though, what came out of our conversation was the fact that I have spent four years training to become a licensed practitioner.  If I couldn't get my own prayers answered, how was I supposed to pray for others?  Maybe I have been in the wrong place this whole time.

Fortunately, he's really good at his job.  He mentioned that maybe I was too close to this situation to see the real answered prayer.  And, he recommended I go back to the basics and use affirmative prayer to manifest something simple like a feather or a cup of coffee - some way that I could have proof that prayer does work.

I told him I would make the effort but I really never did, until a few days ago.  Richard Bach's book, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, was calling my name.  And as I opened the book, it fell to a chapter near the end where the Master is teaching his student how to manifest a blue feather.

I re-read the chapter and realized it was time to tackle prayer again.  But - this time, I really am going back to basics.  I realized, finally, that the Universe is not some grand vending machine where I should wave my magic prayer wand and expect cars or homes or money to simply fall from the sky, all controlled by my human mind.

Life is more about where we can give and where we can be of service.  The core essence of the Universe is love and we are all on a journey to experience and to expand Life's knowing of Itself.  And, prayer is about tapping into that knowing that Life, that God, is always right there.

So, my prayer each morning now is a simple "Help", "Show me what's next" and taking action on what occurs to me to do in that moment.

I wish I could close this story by saying that the 49'er cheer coach called my daughter and explained they made a mistake, that she was actually on the team, but that's not the case.  Instead, what I see emerging is a young woman who now buys a burrito from Chipotle for the homeless man sitting outside on the corner and a new set of dinnerware for a friend who was forced to move out and had no money for dishes.

How or why that shift is happening for her, I have no idea.  What I do know is it no longer matters if my blue feather appears.  What I finally get is the best gift for me is the power in the moment to say, "Help", "Show me what's next".  The Universe is always available.  And that IS enough.

 So, what are some of the ways YOU pray?  And what do you do when you feel your pray is unanswered?

Today, I set the intention to remember to say a simple prayer of help when I need to solve a problem, having faith that I am supported by the Universe and knowing I will get a clear answer of what the perfect next step is for me.

"Acceptance is simply recognition.  When you recognize a thing, you see it 
for what it is.  All of our experiences, no matter how awful they appear
 to be, are temporary.  Acceptance of an experience as a temporary 
situation can make it a lot easier to handle." 

"Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next."  

Affirmative Prayer:
In this moment of stillness, there is only One; one Power, one Presence, that permeates the Universe and is the very essence of all that is.  In the rhythmic pulsating of life, this Presence is the sweetness of each breath and the joy of every step taken forward.

This Essence of Life operates in, through, and as me and I am anchored in the truth that I am always supported and sustained by the presence of the Divine.  I am led, guided and guarded by a Creative Intelligence that knows only hope and peace and harmony.  And I lean into this knowing that I am never separate from my good.

Affirming the infinite potentiality of life, my way is made clear as I simply speak the words "Help".  I tap into my intuition and allow Divine Wisdom to guide my next actions, welcoming the experiences that unfold in perfect, Divine timing.  Demonstrations of perfect health and perfect wealth are revealed as I connect to my true Source.  And I leave behind any thoughts of lack or fear, surrendering to the Infinite goodness of Spirit. Aligning with the beat and the harmony that moves my soul, I accept the blessings that manifest with no conscious effort, knowing the Universe is supporting me in beautiful, amazing ways.

I am filled with gratitude at the transformation of my life as I pray from my heart.  And I am thankful for the experiences in life that tell me I can be exactly who I am in every moment. Giving in to the Divine guidance of the Universe, I am grateful that I receive clear answers to every seeming problem, knowing there is a gift in every situation.

From a place of peace, I release my Word to the Divine Action of the Law, knowing it is already done in the One Mind.  Good is being revealed in this very moment.  And I let it be so.  And so it is.

Photo courtesy of Nick Kenrick/Flickr