One of the themes that comes up often with spiritual coaching is prayer. I have coached a few people who have left the religions they grew up in and are seeking ways to connect with their spirituality. Each of these experiences have their own path to understanding. Since I have gone through a similar process, I appreciate and acknowledge the desire to slough off strict religious conditioning to embrace a search for meaning and spiritual practices.
This is my story about prayer…
When I was a child, I learned how to pray. I would confess my sins, express gratitude and request things from a God that seemed so far away. I remember spending most of my time wondering if my prayers were effective; if this giant force in the heavens was hearing me. I never really understood prayer much further than confess, give thanks and ask. It seemed rote and methodical.
I also remember learning the structure of a “proper” prayer. But sometimes, it was hard to follow the structure because I was sobbing through my words trying to find meaning, direction and hope. I would lay all my questions, pain, confusion and pride down to just bear my soul.
As I left the religion, prayer came with me, but in a different capacity. I noticed that prayer has always been a comfort to me and recognized the power that it holds. I wanted to learn more about this ritual and find a more meaningful explanation than what I had learned as a child. There are different types and purposes of prayers and each religion has their own ritual around prayer. And although prayer has religious undertones, I wanted to discover a more personal practice to this ritual.
Looking back on everything that has transpired in my life, there are certain events that I can pick out that turned out better than I could have ever imagined. This is grace and it’s powerful. I recognize that I did a lot of hard work to achieve goals and get places, but I found strength, clarity and guidance with prayer during those times.
The more I willingly opened my heart and mind to this practice, I noticed a shift in my mindset. I was able to stress less and trust that the universe had my back. Every single time that I had great stress and anxiety, I realized it was because I was trying to tackle the issue on my own.
Here are the things I have experienced from prayer:
- Having direct communication to God where I can pour out my heart is overwhelmingly sacred.
- My mind is more focused on gratitude and I stop when something wonderful happens just to offer thanks. I notice beauty all around me because gratitude is a key element to prayer.
- Knowing that I can have a conversation with God, no structure, just talk and process is very comforting and deeply personal.
- There is no room for guilt because I can come with a contrite heart and receive grace and forgiveness for myself and others.
- I can feel an energy shift during and after my time in prayer.
- Letting go is easier.
- Clarity often follows especially when sitting in meditation after prayer.
- Stress and anxiety are reduced
There are so many powerful attributes to prayer and I love learning more and evolving my practice. If you find yourself trying to shed strict religious conditioning or would like to delve deeper into your spirituality, please email me at email@example.com.
“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It does not change God – it changes me.”