Pray as You Want, but Pray in the Now

Pray as you want, or don’t pray at all. Meditate, chant, sing, cite poetry or do none of it. But if you do, sometimes consider using the following technique of doing it in the present moment. Not in some future oriented, often petitionary way; and not in some grateful manner or attempt at worship which can turn into an attempt to seduce or persuade. And certainly not in a way that separates GodSpiritSource from the events going on all around you. Do it so that you can feel the living presence of God, so you reveal to yourself the working rules of existence, and the manner of the ways of consciousness. And in doing so, remove ego from the equation, and sit before your God; being present, without argument, without spiritual inflation, or desire.

Many prayers may be reworded so their future orientation and accompanying pitfalls can be eliminated. This of course requires you resonate to the original prayer as handed down through your tradition. And then you can take this understanding to a transcendent or transpersonal level by changing the significant words or phrases so they are timeless, existing right now in reality. Sometimes this requires simple word changes, other times adding a new phrase. But one always remains true to the original meaning of the prayer, chant, poetry, etc. So, this does require a good familiarity with the religious content of your chosen piece. And keep in mind that sometimes you are not changing meaning or intent, but are merely updating old language usage so it clarifies the now aspect of the prayer.

To illustrate this I’ll use the familiar Lord’s Prayer from Christianity. First the original prayer as I know it, then the revision as one might move it into the now. Lastly, some commentary to further illustrate this contemplative technique. Note that the italics connote not only a word or phrase change, but also the resultant change of emphasis in the prayer.

Original:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, 

            as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 

Amen.

Revision:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom has come, thy will is done, on earth as it is in heaven.

You give us this day our daily bread, and you forgive us our trespasses

            the way we forgive those who trespass against us.

You lead us away from temptation, and you deliver us from evil.

Amen.

Commentary:

This revision describes what is happening now, right this moment. It also underscores the direct relationship between our forgiving actions and those of God toward us; while the original may be interpreted as two co-occurring but not dependent actions. Lastly, it emphasizes that we are always led away from temptation by God. Whether seen as an agent’s actions (i.e. God’s), or understood as the way of universal existence or consciousness, it invites one to contemplate one’s actions in light of important theological beliefs one professes to adhere to. But it asks that one do so now, not in some undetermined future, heaven, or afterlife when God will meet us, change us, or change the world. 

You may not want to revise this prayer in this manner, and that is fine. What is important is that you reflect upon and decide what it is you truly believe. And to be sure the prayer you choose is saying exactly that for you. This approach also provides a means to experiment with newer ideas until you find the right words for your prayer, for your theology. For instance, do you believe God leads us away from temptation? And if so how? And how does one reconcile that with times one has seen temptation win over oneself or another? 

As one begins to gain clarity, the prayer can now serve as a reminder of what one believes. And therefore as a means to hold oneself accountable to one’s beliefs and actions. With this greater clarity comes a familiarity with higher awareness states, improvement in one’s divinity driven behavior, and reveals the “relationship” between the living God, consciousness, and the world.

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