My spiritual journey involves improving my conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation. My prayer and meditation practices are constantly evolving. Even though I am not perfect or consistent with my practices, I have found that both are changing me for the better.
My former prayer life usually involved me imposing my will upon God. I would “ask” for things that I wanted instead of asking for guidance on what I should do. I also had my fair share of “foxhole” prayers, making promises to God if he would get me out of a jam. Of course, I never held up my end of the bargain. I also found that trying to follow a particular formula for prayer didn’t work for me. I became too distracted with trying to get the form right and not focusing on the substance.
God already knows our wants and needs. We are not telling Him anything He does not already know. God knows for what we are grateful.
For me, prayer is a chance to take an inventory or a scan of my thoughts and behaviors. In the morning, I think about what challenges that I may face, and I ask God for the guidance to make the right decisions. Not what I want to do, but what God wants me to do.
Throughout the day, I keep the conversation going. When I face a decision, I say a quick prayer. It is as simple as “What do You want me to do?” or “Am I doing Good with the action I am about to take?” By asking for guidance, I am forced to think about my actions and the potential consequences. I become aware of my motives.
Before I fall asleep, I reflect and take an inventory of my day. It is my time to thank God for His guidance in making the right decisions and to help me improve where I may have fallen short. Again, I am not telling God anything He doesn’t already know. He is telling me. I am simply acknowledging Him.
It is not until I try to sit still and clear my mind that I realize how much insanity is in my mind. There are so many voices and thoughts swirling around up there. It is a wonder that I get anything accomplished.
This is why I need meditation. While I have yet to “clear” my mind, I have found that sitting still and letting these thoughts and voices flow through me, I can begin to put them in their proper place. It is like organizing a cluttered closet. When I can be still and breath, what is important will find its way though the mess so that it is easier for me to find.
For me, meditation is not just sitting still. It is also staying present when I am going though my day. It is focusing on the here and now. It is being mindful.
Prayer and meditation is a conversation. As I am asking for His advice, I must also seek His answers. God is present everywhere. To hear Him, I must stay present.