Today I will be talking about why I believe it is important to be truly connected during prayer and how I have stopped surface level prayer, listened, and connected. When I first started praying, besides when my grandmother would make me say the lord’s prayer before bedtime. I prayed out of fear. I used prayer to soothe my anxiety. I believed that praying to God would show that I am a good person who doesn’t deserve bad things to happen.
At the time, I had just lost my grandfather who I was extremely close with and I did not want to experience that feeling of loss ever again. So, I began to pray every single night before bed, and if I fell asleep before praying or during my prayer I would wake up extremely anxious.
During my prayer I would thank God for EACH one of my family members and friends. I would thank God for all of the blessings in my life, the material items, the opportunities I have had, and my health. It all sounds like things that we should be thankful for, right? The only issue is, I was praying because I was scared to get these things/people taken away from me. I believed that if I did not pray about these people/things then God may have a reason to take them from me.
I continued to live this way for a few years, before I finally realized that just because I was praying every night did not mean that God had to listen and answer me. This type of prayer is selfish and shallow. It is only surface level, and I was doing this as a way to ease my intense feelings of anxiety. At the time, I was between 16-19 years old. I didn’t really know what anxiety was and I did not know how the universe works. When I began studying psychology I realized I was anxious, and using prayer to try and soothe my anxiety. I also became worried that doing this would give me OCD, I’m pretty sure my introduction to psych course ‘taught’ me this.
Anyways, I was going somewhere with all of this. After a few years of this type of prayer I slowly stopped praying and really believing in any kind of greater energy all together. Around a year and a half ago, I was introduced to the concept of the universe as a powerful energetic force. I began to embrace the universe as a guiding force in my life. [When I say the universe, I mean whatever the heck you believe in.] I began to meditate, journal, and use affirmations. While doing all of this I noticed that I was focusing my energy on what I was saying, thinking, and feeling. I was actively working on creating a deeper connection with the universe during times of prayer. This connection is what is essential.
The universe knows when were being selfish and surface level. While I do feel the universe still listens to us during those surface level prayers, it sees right past our bull-ish. We can’t expect to reap the benefits of the universe if we don’t submit our selves to the divine path the universe has planned for us. We have to trust the universe. We have to let go of our insecurities and anxieties that limit our potential in order to open ourselves up to the power and abundance the universe has in store.
Being present and connected during prayer not only strengthens our relationship with the universe, but it also allows us to look inward. Specifically in regards to meditation (yes, meditation is prayer). Prayer can be a vulnerable time, a time in which we look at our true intentions in attempt to understand why we are thinking about certain things. This can be scary. It takes courage to look inward, you never know what you might find.
For example, I often pray about money and work on speaking positively to the universe about money. Am I praying about money to feed the ego, so I can buy nice clothing, have a nice apartment, and appear a certain way on social media? Or, am I praying about money in order to release the subconscious blockages and release my intense feelings of anxiety towards money?
I believe the true answer is the second, if your true answer is the first, that’s cool too. But, in order to get the most out of prayer we must be connected and aware. For so long, I mindlessly prayed without realizing why I was even doing it. Yet, I expected the universe to hear me, and ‘reward’ me for praising it. It was very twisted, backwards, and definitely not of pure intentions. Now, I focus my energy on connecting with the universe, which can honestly be really challenging with so many other thoughts bombarding my mind. I use meditation as a quiet time to connect with the universe and myself, to pray—open myself up to receive the guidance, answers, light, and abundance the universe has in store for me.
I challenge you to think about this. Think about what happens when you pray. What happens before you pray, what you’re praying about and why. Think about how you’re praying. I am not trying to tell you how to pray or connect. I believe prayer is versatile and unique, just like all of us. I am here to remind you about the importance of that connection to the universe. Is it meaningful, or surface level? Is it out of love, or fear?