Doubts and Fears
And everything you ask in prayer, believing,
you shall receive. Matt 21:22
Of course, we have many forms of fear, doubts and the pain of our past within our souls that are contradictory to this pure trust. It doesn't work to ignore or repress them. Rather it is essential to be utterly honest and to see that all forms of resistance to Love's work within us consists of ideas and feelings that cover our deeper, divine self. When we really see this clearly, then we can let go of our attachment to the resistances and welcome them into our healing process, to be released and transformed by Love. From a purely spiritual perspective, we are not our ideas or feelings, for our essence of being lies in a deeper reality. So, the life of prayer cannot really be separated from our process of awakening in this deeper spiritual freedom and its pure creative potential in God.
The following exercises will lead you in the practice of this art of prayer. Remember, reading them may be interesting, but it is doing them that is life changing. The doing is a creative process in you that takes time. That is what a workshop is about. If you want the results, don't just read, do.
(If you are physically sick or injured, see also Healing in Christ workshop.)
The Steps of the Lost Art of Prayer
Exercise 1. Wish Your Love
Write down all you love. Follow all you love down to its source. What values do these people, places, events, things express that makes you love them so much? Is it kindness, truthfulness, courage, honesty, compassion, healing, friendship, intimacy, clarity, meaning, understanding, wisdom, care, beauty, loyalty? Write them down.
Now, what deep feelings do all that you love bring up in you? You wouldn't love them apart from your instinctual love of these feelings. Is it harmony, joy, happiness, freedom, peace, satisfaction, trust, inspiration, Love? Feel them and write them down as they come to your heart.
When you wish for more of these values and feelings in the world you are wishing in harmony with the Greater Love out of whom all these spiritual qualities come. So now wish. Wish from your deep heart and let your feelings of Love for your values wish through you. Dare to open your heart and wish your longings. Wish your care. Feel your Love and wish it. Wish its dreams. Wish like a child would wish upon a star. Pretend you are a child. Move past the skepticism the world has taught you. Pretend you can wish again until that simple trust and dependence wakes up in you. Wish the highest good you can imagine for others and the world.
After you have let your heart wish its deepest wishes, make a list of them. Let them be very specific, clothing the divine values in your unique life. God wants to co-create with you. Until you become very specific the incarnational process cannot begin. Write your wish list down and put it up somewhere you can see it every day.
Exercise 2. Imagine it Clearly
Imagine your wishes. Give them images. See what their fulfillment looks like in your imaginative heart. See the faces. See the situations. Open your heart, lean back into God and day dream your dreams of Love. This is a meditation. Take some time by yourself to do this. Enjoy it fully as a creative process powerfully at work within you.
Exercise 3. Feel it Fully
Feel what it would be like if all your wishes had already happened RIGHT NOW. How would you actually feel? Let yourself feel this so fully, so deliciously that it gets into the cells of your body. This is an important key. Fill your body with the feeling of the fulfillment of your creative prayers. Again, take time with this: perhaps for half an hour before you go to sleep. Once you fully feel and see it, let it go. Then come back and do it again. Drench yourself in imaginative details and full, emotional feelings. You are creatively moving beyond the limitations of time and space into causal realms in the timeless dimensions deep within yourself and in God.
Exercise 4. Be Honest
Be honest about the doubts and anxieties that arise. What are you afraid of? Listen to your fears. Be clear about what they are expressing. Are they are afraid of the pain of disappointment, or perhaps of the changes that the answer to your prayers may actually bring? Write them down so they are very clear. Have a good talk with them. Ask yourself the questions Byron Katie uses in her "Work" and write down the answers.
a. Am I sure the belief of this fear is true? Even if it feels very familiar, can I be completely sure this is true?
b. What does this belief do to me? How does it make me feel when I attache to it?
c. What would my life be like without this belief?
After you have written these down then turn the belief around. Christ called this turn around repentance. What is the opposite of your anxious feelings? Write it down. How does it feel to believe the fear and how does it feel to believe your trust? Choose one, surrender to it, and put your intention with your choice.
And whenever you stand praying forgive, if you have anything against anyone...
Exercise 5. Forgive
Forgive all those who have done wrong to you, everyone who has violated and hurt you, everyone who misunderstands and misinterprets you. Be utterly honest with your feelings. See the wrong, feel the wrong and its hurt and forgive them anyway. See them full of all the Love and beauty, joy and freedom you love. This releases you from your own inner negative thoughts and feelings as it releases them from your demands for punishment. Take time to do this. This is utterly life changing creative act, and a key to the fulfillment of your prayers. Unforgiveness blocks them.
And forgive yourself for all your own wrongs. Where you have done real wrong, make restitution as much as is possible, not in order to forgive yourself, but for the sake of Love because you are forgiven by God already. Let grace touch you. Surrender your self-judgment to God. God is interested in your transformation in Love, not your self-punishment. All failure is a failure to live in the honesty, courage and good will of Love. So run into the open arms of Love with open arms and grow. See yourself already, just as you wish to be. Imagine it. Feel it. Welcome it. Remain in this vision. Commit yourself to it. Stay in it through Love, desire, imagination and feeling. Be re-created.
Exercise 6. Surrender and Give Thanks
Give thanks that all your wishes have been carefully heard by perfect Love and leave all the details in God's hands. Give God permission to respond in His own time and way. Let God be God. Don't dictate terms. Be very specific, and completely surrendered in child-like trust at the same time. Surrender the who, where, when and how. Creative faith is an adventure of manifestation with many unknowns. God is in the unknowns. This step is essential. Don't skip it. It will make you open and flexible instead of grasping.
Thankfulness is the language of trust. Once again, pretend you are a child. Just say thank you for all these beautiful wishes, for these values you love and the life they hold. Give thanks for the people and the dreams. Whisper thanks into the good, hearing ears. Dance your thankfulness. Sing it. Speak it. Share it with a friend. Sharing it with others makes it twice as real.
Write down your thanks as an affirmation, such as, "Thank you for the success I am." Write it in the present tense. This is very important, for this is the language of the Spirit and your deep heart. The future is only how this present moment unfolds. Tomorrow never really comes. It is now happening and happening and happening. Instead of saying Thank you that I will succeed, write, "Thank you that I am all I dream to be right now. Thank you that it is true and it is finished. Thank you, thank you, thank you." Say, "This is so great!" Or, "Fantastic," or other expressions of letting your dreams come alive, NOW in the creative realms of desire, imagination and feeling.
Write your thanks in this affirmitive way down 15 times a day until it manifests. Really! Do this, and watch what happens. Let God amaze you with all the "coincidences" that bring your wishes to manifestation. When the unconscious harmonizes with the Spirit, powerful changes take place!
Exercise 7. Be Willing to Change
The specifics of your wishes may not yet be wholly wise. So hold them clearly, but also lightly, with a passion for all they mean and yet surrendered to a higher wisdom then yours as to exactly what form the answers will take. You may be wishing for a person you are sure will fulfill your life, when it is actually someone else who holds the keys to unlock your highest potential. You may wish for a certain expression you are sure is your life's purpose, but some event may come to shift your perspective and broaden it to where you will see that expression would have been much too limiting.
Let your wish list breathe. Adjust it as you grow. Wish for greater visions that hold your lesser visions in it. Desire to be utterly open, alive, loving and real in union with your own infinite Source. Let the Divine arise up in you as your truest Being. Don't set your dreams in the cement of stubborn demands. Be flexible and fully responsive to life as it comes, that way you can leap through the doors of opportunity as they open or allow your dreams to be purified and made wiser and truer.
Exercise 8. Be here now
Embrace the present contradiction of your wishes and how things presently are. You are in the gestation period. Let this creative process work on your deep heart. Your creative prayers will transform you. Also, be aware of the danger of projecting your happiness to the future! Dream your wishes as NOW and live in the here and now, for all you value is always here and now, waiting for your full presence to life just as it is. Again, remember, the future is only how the present unfolds. There is only now, and your experience of "the future" when it comes will happen in this now. So be here, in this now, living to express the values you love that shall also more fully come.