5 Lies To Stop Believing About Prayer & Meditation
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Do you cringe when people say they are going to pray for you or wonder what exactly people mean when they say meditation brings peace to their lives? Does the idea of talking to an intangible entity and sitting in silence with your thoughts sound like a terrible use of time – especially when you are in desperation?
I was 28 the first time someone encouraging me to pray about my health challenges. My body was in chronic pain, a result of previous surgeries that seemed to hurt more than help. I yearned for relief. My thoughts vacillated between chronic pain and chronic unhappiness. I tried everything to fix my pain: doctors, acupuncture, massage, and physical therapy. While each attempt had temporary relief, the pain always came back.
I did not want to pray. First, it was hard to check a box with prayer. How did I know I’d done it right? How could I measure the results? Who would I pray to? Most important, religion and I had a turbulent past. Dad joined a religious group after my parent’s separation when I was 9. His new found love for God was the target of hostility in our families chaotic environment. Mom said the Bible reading and church was bad, but Dad said it was good, the answer to our pain. I remained stuck somewhere between bad and good.
The problem I faced now, years later, was desperation. I would do anything to stop the pain.
Again, doctors told me, “We’re not sure what else to do, Sera. The scans look fine.” After four years of non-answers, it became time for me to try the only option I felt like I had left.
One day on my drive to work, in the hustle of I-95, I turned down the music, stared out the windshield, cars flying by, I took a deep breath, locked the doors, and said, “I don’t know who you are or how to do this, but I need help, and they’re telling me this will help. Would you please show up and give me a sign?” Morning after morning, I practiced this routine: radio down, doors locked, cars flying by, my hopes and worries filling up the car. Day after day nothing changed, and everything changed; A little more calm, a lot more direction, a little less desperation. The pain stayed, peace did too. Then…
Resolution on a work project I was stuck in unfolded.
A move to a new city I’d “prayed for” happened.
The condo I’d prayed I would live in was now home.
Eventually, my curiosity led me to a new community of people who taught me more about prayer and they prayed for me. During their prayers, after their prayer, before their prayers, I cried – a lot.
I begged for answers to the pain and discomfort I was still experiencing.
The surgeon I didn’t know I was looking for entered my life in the most serendipitous way.
The surgery they told me I never needed happened and my pain and discomfort were transformed.
My body release the pain, slowly and consistently.
A new belief system sprung forth in me.
I can’t explain the life changes that have happened since I trusted that windshield, but I can say with confidence that everything changed. The first beginnings of prayer led eventually to the power of meditation and quiet. I held resistance in a different way to meditation, to the silence and stopping. I didn’t know how to trust slowing down and receiving, but I tried it anyway. I listened and gained wisdom, peace, and clarity.
For so long I resisted the power of prayer and meditation because I believed I didn’t know how to do it right. What I now know is there is no right way. The mystery of prayer and meditation is that you can never do it right or deliver the outcomes that prayer releases, it is done for you. The power is in the showing up, the surrender, the trust, and the receiving.
I had to stop believing these lies about prayer & meditation:
- Lie: Prayer has a format. There is no perfect way to Pray. You do not need to “know God” to start to pray. You do not have to believe in God to pray. You do not need to know a “prayer formula” to pray. Prayer is simply an expression of your desires, your gratitude and your requests intentionally towards truth, light, and love. Do it imperfectly. Set a timer. Practice.
2. Lie: Meditation has a format. There is no perfect way to Meditate. You do not need the perfect pillow, the ideal guided voice, the perfect time of day. Just get quiet, sit still and stay there for a period. Your mind is going to wander. You are going to want to “do it right,” but the secret is, you already are. Slow your breathing. Be intentional about relaxing the thoughts away. Try to bring your mind back to your breath, an image in your mind or whatever brings you peace. Do it imperfectly. Set a timer. Practice.
3. Lie: Wisdom comes every time you pray. The sky is not going to open up and grant all your requests after you pray. You are seeking alignment, not a treasure chest. You will begin to see your prayers come to fruition; not every prayer, every time, but you’ll notice synchronicities. Don’t let your ego take over the process. Trust the process and surrender the outcome. Do it imperfectly. Don’t set a timer. Practice faith.
4. Lie: Peace comes every time you meditate. Meditation is not going to take you to a place of bliss. You will feel more peace, calm, connectivity to yourself and steadiness throughout life. The experience will be grounding, peaceful, relaxing, irritating, frustrating and hard. You will probably fidget, scheduling a to-do list in your mind, and have imaginary conversations. That’s fine. That’s the crazy, wild, beauty of the mind. Do it imperfectly. Set a timer. Practice faith.
5. Lie: An instructor, app, or group is the best guide. When beginning it can be helpful to try an app (like Headspace or Abide) to guide you. The structure of a class, instructor and group can also be beneficial, but YOU can also be your best guide. Meditation & Prayer are powerful tools to use in a moment of frustration, chaos, and fear. You are all you need (a timer can be helpful sometimes, but it’s optional). The goal is to find the peace within. You are the only one that can go within.
Like all healing tools, prayer and meditation take practice, consistency, and intention. It takes showing up, failing, trusting and trying again. I had no idea what I was doing the first day (or second, third and fourth week for that matter) when I began to pray to the windshield or sit quietly on my bedroom floor, but over time so much has changed.
Can I prove to you that it prayer and meditation was what transformed my life and caused the synchronies? I can’t. What I can be sure of is that things I’d hoped for, complained about, and sought out solutions for, for years, began to shift when I prayed about them. I can also say that ten years later, prayer is a connective force in my life with God that guides everything in my life. It has helped me heal, fall in love, change careers, make small decisions every day of my life and have peace that surpasses understanding no matter what is going on around me. I don’t just pray to a windshield anymore. I pray to a God who has revealed Himself to me.
Tell me below or Email me and let me know:
What challenges do you have with prayer and/or meditation?
What breakthroughs has prayer and/or meditation awakened in your life?
What questions do you have about prayer or meditation?