Praying To You

When you pray, are you speaking so that God will listen to you, or are you speaking so that you can listen to God?

If you believe in an omniscient, all-knowing God, then they already know what is in your mind and in your heart.   They may even know what is best for you on a bigger scale than you can imagine.   Why would God need to hear you tell them what you want?

As humans, most of the time it is we who don’t know what we want.   We know what we think would feel good right now, we know what we believe we should want, we know what attracts us, but usually all those layers just keep us confused rather than making us clear about what we want.

Prayer is an act of expressing what we value most.   Prayer lets us hear that still small voice inside of us more clearly.   Prayer lets us set our priorities in the world.

This means that prayer can be the way that we listen to the voice of God inside of us, formed into language we can share and hold on to.

I don’t know one transperson who didn’t pray to have their body changed so they would find it easier to follow their heart in this binary, heterosexist society.   Those secret prayers weren’t a demand or an expectation, they were the voice of our creation coming from deep inside of us.

We learn prayers as ritual, repeating beliefs and invocations, not so that we can placate God but rather so that we can be clear about what we value, what we hold on to, and what we want to invoke in our own choices.    Those prayers are reminders to us about the way we can shape ourselves to be the best that we can be, releasing the momentary and sensational so we can get back to the foundational and enduring.

Praying to demand that God listen to us is indulgent and selfish.

Praying to remember that we need to listen to God is powerful and transformative.

If the only prayer you say in your life is “Thank You” that would suffice.
— Meister Eckhart (1260-1327)

A prayer of thanksgiving reminds us to be humble, open, grateful and in the moment.   It is the foundation for the miracle of shifted perception, learning to make new choices which respect creation rather than fight it, allowing us to be shaped by greater awareness.

Some churches believe in an direct, interventionist, intercessory God, one who makes every choice in the universe down to every biological change that scientists assign to evolution.   It is this kind of God who punishes, this kind of God that rewards, this kind of God we wail to when we ask “Why me?” this kind of God we pray to when we want a new car or another driver to be smote.

It is this kind of God we identify when we claim every word in the Bible is absolutely true, this kind of God who we use to justify our own behaviour to destroy those who we see as sinners.  It is this kind of God that lets churches assert ultimate power as the only arbiters of the true intention of God.

An intercessory God is the God of preachy preachers, those who focus on separation, on how we are saved and others are sinners, creating enclaves and consolidating power in the pastor.

Believing, on the other hand, that God created a system that contains free will, a universe that operates on principles, leads you to a different point of view.  In this view, your goal isn’t to satisfy a vengeful and capricious God, but rather to find ways that you can be more in harmony, in sync with the divine creation around you.

This is the God of teachy preachers, those who focus on connection, on how we become more clear by removing the blocks and separations that we hold, becoming more open and more in harmony with the world.   In this view, we can’t rail or wail at God, demanding change, rather we have to go within ourselves and change to be more grateful, more receptive and more giving.

Praying to an external God is asking the universe to favour you, to change to meet your will and your expectations.

Praying to an internal God is asking yourself to get more clear, make better choices, invoke what you have and manifest your own possibilities.    God, give me the strength to change what I can change, the serenity to accept what I can not change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

When you pray, are you speaking so that God will listen to you, or are you speaking so that you can listen to God?