M(3),2017: From Your Mouth To God’s Ears

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A very happy Monday, and a happy President’s Day to my American readers!  I’m hoping you are having as beautiful a day as I am having.  It feels more like spring than it does late February in my neck of the woods!

Today’s reading was from Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, where we studied:


Step Eleven

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.


There was a great crowd this morning… just enough people that everyone had a chance to share, a nice mix of long-timers and those with a smaller amount of sober time, a group of regular attendees and those who were new to the meeting.

When I read this particular step, I break it down and look at prayer and meditation as two distinctly separate things, though I suppose in an ideal world they would be connected.  As for prayer, the chapter defines prayer perfectly:

Prayer is the raising of the heart and mind to God.  -pg. 102, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

My prayer life, or ritual of praying, has evolved quite a bit over the years, and I imagine will continue to do so for the rest of my life.  I am currently at a point where the bulk of my praying is conversational in nature… I talk to God, express gratitude, ask for intentions, in much the same way as I would talk to another human being.  I shared as much with the group this morning, and I wondered aloud if I am missing something important by not including more formal prayers in my daily practice.  I invited anyone in the group that might be willing to share with me the benefits they receive from praying in a more formal manner.

As is always the case, my fellow Monday meeting attendees did not disappoint.  Each person shared with me the various ways they pray, and how their prayer rituals help them.  Unsurprisingly, the list was a diverse one:

  • Morning prayers said immediately upon waking
  • Morning prayer said over coffee
  • Morning prayers said on the commute into work
  • Reading from a daily devotional book
  • Listening to Christian radio
  • Formal meditation
  • Yoga as a form of prayer
  • Chanting and singing prayer

Believe it or not, I’m not sure I listed them all!  In every case, the benefits received were the same, no matter what type of prayer is uttered:  a deeper relationship with one’s Higher Power.  In deepening the relationship, each person reports receiving a deeper sense of gratitude, a feeling of connection, and an overall sense of peace that, prior to a prayer life, had not been experienced.

Most important, not a single person could list a negative side effect to prayer.  There simply is no downside!  Even those who fall on the spectrum of agnosticism did not find a drawback in attempting to pray.

The group did not speak as much on the meditation piece, so it is hard to try to write a consensus.  Speaking for myself, and I know I’m repeating myself from past blog pieces, meditation is a practice I dearly wish to master.  Hell, I’d settle for being able to claim that I am half-assed meditator!  Sadly, I can make no such proclamation.  Here’s what I can say:  when I have been able to meditate on a regular basis, I am able to draw upon a reserve of calm that I don’t otherwise have.  That calm allows me to pause in stressful situations, and thoughtfully consider the best way to react.

Regular meditation also deepens my sense of gratitude, and allows me to be more present in my daily activities.

Finally, I feel a strong sense of accomplishment when I engage in a regular meditation practice.   Similar to when I exercise, I feel empowered by the regular practice of something I know is good for me mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

Maybe, just maybe, now that I’ve written all this out, the fire will be lit, and I will restart my meditation practice!

Today’s Miracle:

Writing a post when everyone is home from school/work.  Usually people around means I am anywhere but in front of the computer!

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Posted on February 20, 2017, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Though apparently falsely attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, I have always like the line “pray constantly. use words if necessary” no matter who said it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I started attending church regularly last year for the first time in my adult life. I was confused how to pray in the beginning but I typically just tell God what I am thankful for and what I need help with in my life. Still not sure if I am doing it right, HAha but it does make me feel better. I figured it can’t hurt and its always great to remember what you are thankful for. I think gratitude is extremely powerful.

    I have struggled with meditating also. I have a calendar on my fridge and I highlight every day that I mediate. Its a good reminder and I love the feeling of being able to highlight a day. Its like crossing something off of a to do list, it gives you that feeling of accomplishment. Plus all of the other great benefits of meditating.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the comment, Michelle! I agree about the power of gratitude. It is possibly the simplest prayer ritual around, and the benefits are felt immediately.

      And so funny, that is the easiest way for me to meditate as well… to feel like I can cross something off and feel that sense of accomplishment! Let’s try to cross it off our lists today!

      Like

  3. I find that praying calms me.
    I still am making that a habit.
    I used to mediate and it helped a bunch, but it was hard to do during the school year when I was teaching.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I start each day with thank you repeated 5 times. To anyone and everything. And to me. I heard this from Wayne dyer.

    Meditation can be many things. I also give myself a full body oil massage called abhayanga every day. In doing it I focus on each body part. It is mediation.
    Then I have a short kundalini yoga practice where I focus on spine movement. This is meditation.
    Any time I notice my mind wandering, or that I’m worrying,I try to consciously return to what is actually happening. This is meditation.
    And pretty much every day I practice or teach yoga asana. Both of these are a form of meditation.

    My mantra, stillness and peace, has come true. My mind can be at rest.

    It can also be scattered and anxious. Because I am still human. Sigh.

    Mediation doesn’t have to be long periods of sitting in lotus pose. It can be anything you focus on.

    Stillness and peace
    Anne

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow, these are all great suggestions. Some are possibly more advanced for my current skill set (kundalini yoga, for example!), but I love love LOVE the simple practice of consciously returning to the present moment. Anne, I am going to attempt to do this one today, and I’ll see how it goes! I’ll just take the morning, and since I’m writing later, I’ll let you know how it works out!

      I love your suggestions, and I am grateful for you taking the time to write them down!

      Like

  5. Hello Josie! I love this topic…it’s such a deep well of possibilities. I do not formally meditate…but I have developed a couple of habits that are meditative for me….1st is that every morning I wake up much earlier than anyone else and sit in my spot with my coffee for about 30 minutes. I sit quietly, reflect, and free-think. After that, I take a few moments to plan my day and prioritize things if I find that I have too much to do…It’s a vital part of my daily self-care.
    2nd, I also LOVE to garden and work on my property…even raking leaves, feeding plants, mowing, weeding…I find myself feeling quite empty-minded, free and peaceful when I’m in that element and often when I’m done I find that the solutions to problems just “pop” into my mind without me even looking for them.
    Jenn

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I love the topic of meditation and prayer. I try to do both daily. I believe that meditation and prayer are critical to my emotional well-being and sanity.

    Liked by 1 person

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