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11. November, 2014Blog Posts, Meditation No comments

power of prayer

Prayer is powerful. I grew up in a family of 8 children. We had our scrapes and bruises but that was all. Only half-joking I’ve said many times, “My mother prayed us through.” I didn’t think much about the power of prayer as a child. Today I do.

Whether you believe in an omnipotent God or Universal Consciousness, whether you believe that prayers are answered, there are many benefits to prayer and many forms of prayer.

Discovering the Divine requires a commitment to which we devote ourselves. The commitment is individual. It may be something like this: “I commit to know God and myself.” Or, “I seek to know the Universe as it is and myself as I am.”

Then, as with any relationship the commitment must be nurtured. This requires discipline. We commit to prayer and then we follow through. We bring what we have and our capacity for self-discipline grows. Prayer is a practice and we return to it again and again when life and laziness interrupt.

Prayer is creative. While ritual is important in many human endeavors, prayer itself must live and spring from the heart. Repeating the same words time and again can lead to a numb recitation. Prayer teaches us to focus, to be fully present and pray in the moment in the place where we are. Our immediate love, caring and concerns are not only welcome but essential for the true spirit of prayer.

faith healing

We bring the depth of our feelings and prayer provides an opportunity to transcend our fear and worry and to trust the largess, the kindness, and the beneficence of the Divine and Its Universe. We transcend the ego and in return our spirit is lifted

Trusting the universe brings us to realize that we don’t know everything. We don’t know what is best or how things ought to be. We learn humility in the face of what is greater than our human understanding. We can feel compassion and forgiveness for those who have hurt us and, most importantly, for ourselves.

Simply put, in prayer we educate our emotions. Unlike the rote recitation of affirmations, we enter into generosity and compassionate feelings that we may not be able to sustain outside of prayer but that create new thought-forms and, over time, new ways of thinking and new behavior. Our thoughts and feelings create the world in which we live. Prayer can dramatically alter these undercurrents that define us and everything around us.

True prayer and spiritual meditation are closely related. Both seek to know God and Self. Meditation is a form of prayer that focuses on receiving awareness, insight, and guidance. It is centered in silencing the mind in order to receive and occasionally in contemplation. Traditional prayer is more often identified with expression (i.e., praise, thanksgiving, blessing, and asking).

benefits of prayer

Exploring What To Pray About

There is no formula for the spiritual quest. Each person creates a personal path. I have often said that if you say only one prayer make it Gratitude. Give thanks for that has been given to you. Give thanks every day all day. It is enough to take you through a lifetime.

Akin to gratitude is Praise. Praise for the magnificence of the world. There is an exquisite prayer in the tradition of Pure Land Buddhism, “Namu Amida Butsu.” In simple terms those words mean ‘I acknowledge the Buddha of Immeasurable Light,

unceasing Life, and boundless compassion.’ A more traditional prayer that I love is this:  “Blessed are you God, Lord of all creation, Master of the universe.” Spontaneously said, such prayers are enough to lift us out of our petty concerns and ego to a higher place.

Prayers of Blessing are often forgotten in the course of daily life. When you encounter circumstances and people with problems for which there is no easy resolution, blessing them in silence acknowledges their difficulty, our inability to resolve it for them, and even that we cannot know what is rightly aligned with the universe.

prayer for strength

I recently read an article about social media and the desire to ‘swipe’ annoying people out of our lives (The Valley Times, Nov. 2014). One interviewee (a social media professor) observed that “collective meanness” can bond people together. I won’t spend time commenting on the quality of those friendships or the effects of adult bullying. An alternate possibility is that we privately forswear being nosy, giving advice, and judging others and instead bless them on their path.

When we don’t like someone, it isn’t a matter of personality but a matter of thought-forms and energy. We cannot know if their actions are not what is precisely needed for other events to unfold. Think of ‘back to the future’ where good events in the past yield terrible consequences in the present and vice versa.

Whatever we may think about whether there is a God Who answers prayers, most of us find it irresistible at times to pray for what we want. About prayers of Asking, I have mixed feelings. When I make a request of the Universe I begin with a caveat. “OK, God, not like you don’t know that I have an opinion in this matter. And you already know what it is. What I ask instead is that whatever is best is what happens. I ask for guidance and acceptance (and blessing for all of us).”

As for Meditation, there are many forms. I have written about several of these. Everyone should meditate to quiet the mind and receive personal guidance. For those committed to a spiritual path contemplative meditation is essential and powerful for self-discovery.


I don’t believe there is a God who capriciously chooses to answer some prayers and deny others. I believe that we come into this life to grow in different aspects. The experiences we need for that to occur are different for each person. Prayer keeps us true to the path that is right for us. When life seems not to be working, prayer can help us make the choices to bring our lives to peace and order.

I give thanks for you, my reader.
Bless you and everyone in your life.
Namu Amida Butsu



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Meditation: Sandra Egli
Music: Torey Ronhovde

The wisdom of a thousand generations guides you today. Only listen. Without a sound their voices reverberate in your cells. Settle within and choose your path.

All of us come from strength, fortitude, perseverance. No matter how difficult their lives, our ancestors made it through and passed on life for the next generation. Over and over, until it came to you. The intelligence that guided them has also come to you.

To Thine own Self be true.

If I could present you with a single blessing, it would be the gift of Mindfulness. Awareness of yourself: body, emotions, and self-talk, all the time. Our immediate experience is the ultimate exploration that only grows richer with time. What we do or don't do, and the roots of our behavior, are accessible with the simple practice of noticing immediate experience. It is this practice that makes it possible to know and be true to ourselves.


Sandra's graceful way of listening & non-judgmental demeanor allowed me to open up effortlessly. I was certain, as I left her office, that I had received precisely the healing I needed.

Female client, age 44
Phoenix, Arizona