By David Joel Miller
So you pray, but do you listen for an answer?
We read lots of things about the power and value of prayer. As far as I know, every religion out there has a practice that looks like that thing we would call prayer. While these various styles of praying have their differences, most have at their core a person making a request of their higher power.
What I do not see much written about is – how exactly is this Higher Power supposed to get back to you with an answer?
Seems to me, that a lot of people are placing their prayer requests the same way they place their online merchandise orders. Give me one of those in blue and ship by Friday. Here is my credit card number, or a reminder of the good deeds I have done that entitle me to priority shipping on my request.
What I do not hear people talking about is how they leave their email addresses so that this Higher Power guy or gal can get back to them.
A few people have mentioned the values of a practice called meditation. This is supposed to allow that higher power of yours, to get back to you on those requests and also allows responses to those rare times when you leave an online 5-star rating of the Higher Powers fabulous success in filling your order speedily and with just the right size.
Mention mediation to most western religions and you get a negative response, something to the effect that meditation is some Pinko-hippy-freak-subversive practice. Now while I am not convinced that being a “Pinko-hippy-freak-subversive” is a bad thing, still I know that calling meditation by some derisive term turns a lot of the faithful away from that practice.
So the question remains, you ask for things in prayer, how does God or your Higher Power get a chance to say anything back?
Back a while, religious people, and that includes some of these “old time Christians” had a practice they called “listening for that still small voice.” Not sure that Higher power always uses his small indoor voice, but I think we would all be benefited by spending some time listening for “Knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.”
Frankly, if you do all the talking and God never gets a chance to say anything that is not much of a conversation is it?
However you do it, sometimes it just might pay to turn off the entertainment center, put the Angry Birds to bed and sit a spell and listen to see what that Higher Power of yours is trying to tell you.
If the term mediation bothers you, try “thinking on it” a spell and see what God may be trying to tell you.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books