In My Opinion... How To Pray

06/23/2017 03:03 pm ET

Come on... who doesn’t like to be prayed for? It can be so yummy, wonderful and provide such a sense of being cared for. Whether you call it prayer, sending loving energy or transmitting healing/well being... scientifically across all religions, all spiritualities... it indeed works (see books by Larry Dossey, MD specifically Reinventing Medicine). And, below, my instructions are a very effective, non-judgmental, as well as a very loving route. It has taken me a long way to get to this point, as this prayer requires a high degree of achieving distance from the issue, especially if you are praying for a hardship. Warning ~ do not think that this will give you what you want or expect. To me, that is not the point of prayer.

Suggested Prayer Steps (and you may also direct this to yourself):

1. Hold the person or event quietly and calmly (regardless of how dire the circumstance) in your heart. Contain it there until you are aware that you are truly unemotional and aligned. Breathe. (This is your prayer, so customize it to your faith and see if you can keep the general content.)

2. If you choose, say out loud or in your head the outcome that you would like or what feels good to you.

3. End your prayer by asking definitively for the “highest good” and as you do this, be willing to let go of your expectations from #2. (At this point, I rarely do #2 anymore as I find I really don’t know what is best. You can also ask for things that carry no judgment and that you can clearly take responsibility for... like “I have so much love and caring for this person,” “I will hold this situation tenderly in my heart.”)

4. Trust that the highest good will occur even though it may be very, very different from the outcome in which you initially prayed.

5. I use that word again... trust. Trust that there is a bigger reason for everything no matter how “evil,” dark, traumatic or challenging something is presented to you. Know that events are indeed not black and white. Can we allow ourselves to acknowledge that something larger spiritually is happening; something that maybe we can’t understand? I also suggest not to give it up to God, but to surrender it... in this way you take an active and responsible role.

Ok, that’s it. Oooo and this prayer takes work, empathy AND extreme detachment. It’s your call, you can say your prayer once and ”trust” that it has been put into action or say it every time you think about the person or event. I believe it is not about quantity but quality.

So, how can I talk about this with authority? Well, for starters, I was kinda a test subject. I am literally at the year anniversary of being diagnosed with 99.9% assuredness of stage 4 lung cancer (this was the thought for a solid week) which turned into a rare, rare soil-based infection (had a lesion on my lung and three in my brain), had two brain surgeries and almost died twice… YES, it is A LOT. I was in the hospital for almost two months. My parents came and lived at our house taking care of our two kids; my husband’s job gave him a work reprieve, so he could focus completely on me (what a godsend) and my dad stayed after I was home so Rick (my husband) could go back to work. My dad watched over a frail, weird-haired, little me and gave me my six-hour cycle of IVs.

I was to go to my high school reunion in Statesboro, GA the weekend that all of this went down, so all the people I grew up with immediately knew of my issues (plus my sixth-grade pal, Debbie made sure of this). And, then there was social media, so my infection spread like a virus (trying to be funny here). Hence, all my friends/family in Atlanta were aware, those that we knew from our time in Alabama, now our time in Ohio, my husband and his family are from Pittsburgh... everybody I knew... seemed to know. So, I was put on gobs of prayer lists, was told by many that they were praying for me/my family and received a multitude of cards filled with passion and empathy. I KNOW this love and support helped, and admittedly it was surprising. I didn’t expect, what I considered, such an outpouring. It helped me see, if nothing else, literally the kindness that surrounds me and my family. And, parts of this were not automatic. I have worked diligently on opening my heart and creating deep connections with people, especially through the community with my meditation company. My challenge showed me, in its own unexpected way, that my diligence... that my heart... was working. Essentially, that what I was putting out, was coming back. It was inspiring. And, I also knew I need to pray for me.

I was at peace with whatever might happen. I had to be. Whether it was having trouble with speech, walking... all the ginormous stuff that the good ole brain helps with... or what about dying? Could my ticker tick no more... could I be at peace with that? I also realized that a huge part of my journey was to really see I had choices and the distinct consequence of those decisions.

So, I lightened up on me. Prayed with true faith that everything would work out to the highest good, for everyone. It was again that simple. I have given up enough now to know that God, the universe, Jesus, etc has my back. And, I must be brave enough, which I am, to go forward in whatever highest direction comes my way. I ask and pray for that consistently in my life.

As I am at my infection anniversary... this piece is lovingly dedicated with gratitude to my family/friends especially to Rick who was my main caregiver and decision-maker, my beloved teacher (Deborah) and to my meditation practice/peeps/family. And to those I don’t know who also had me in their thoughts and prayers, thank you deeply.

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