I used to get bored with prayer. My words felt empty unless I was over-emotional and crying about something. Religion taught me that. Because there was always a chance I could lose my salvation, I had to beg for it. That's what prayer was for.
Prayer also seemed to be the thing to do when life wasn't going the way I wanted. And when life was going the way I wanted, I'd feel guilty and I'd find something wrong so I would be the "good Christian" who prays.
"A lot of us pray as if prayer is really twisting the arm of God or convincing God to do something. We think by saying more words we’ll talk God into it. We think, If I say it one more time, God will agree with me. That very attitude is an alienating attitude. It keeps us in the role of doing it 'right' or often enough to convince an unready or unwilling God."
I've changed my mind about prayer.
In the bible, there are scriptures that refer to prayer without ceasing. My first thought was always, how boring. My second, yeah right, like anyone does that. But now? I'm learning how beneficial it is to pray without ceasing, and how easy it is. And it looks completely different than what religion taught me. I don't have to sit still or fold my hands or bow my head or close my eyes. I don't even have to use words.
Because of the group sessions, I now have a sustainable, active prayer life that doesn't come from guilt or shame. I've mentioned the future-self visualizations I do a couple times. I began in a white, empty room and now I find myself outside, or in different environments. I don't have to stay inside. I get to choose what works for me. I do cry sometimes, but only because I've plugged directly into my soul, connecting to God - and to The Universe.
Prayer is energy alignment.
Praying, to me, is about aligning my energy; it's about being honest with myself and staying committed to who I know I am. I listen to beautiful frequencies when I'm writing or while I sleep, and my dreams speak to me. I use guided meditations to center myself if I'm feeling off and they always bring me back. As an introvert, I require a decent amount of alone/quiet time already to recharge from being social. My recharging used to be full days spent inside and excess sleep. Now I vibrate - I pray - and I can recharge more quickly, and from anywhere. I pray when I walk, when I drive, when I workout, when I'm spending time with my family and friends, and I don't have to say a thing. Prayer has allowed me to manifest the life I want by focusing on gratitude, my intentions to The Universe clear by listening to my heart. My energy is high. It's possible I even burn more calories.
"Meditation practice is not about later, when you get it all together and you’re this person you really respect. It isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better; it’s about befriending who we are.
"Meditation takes us just as we are, with our confusion and our sanity. This complete acceptance of ourselves as we are is called maitri, or unconditional friendliness, a simple, direct relationship with the way we are."