Do Prayer or Meditation Work?
What is prayer? What is Meditation? What is the difference? Here is my viewpoint that some agree with, others disagree with and some may consider to be outrageous.
As I grew up in the small BC community where the Church was part of the Sunday ritual, prayer was introduced to the Sunday School children. We were taught to memorize prayers, like the Lord’s Prayer, but we were never really taught anything about prayer except that if we didn’t pray we were not good people. This was the beginning of my experience with organized religion that lasted for about ten years.
As I grew older, I moved away from the Church structure which included what I had learned about prayer. My life up to that point had convinced me that there wasn’t a God who did good things for desperate people because I was still desperate, and I tenaciously clung to the belief that I was good – somewhere in my soul! I stopped praying.
When I found a book by Shad Helmstetter in the early 80’s entitled The Self-Talk Solution, I was introduced to the world of affirmations. Shad describes an affirmation as a “positive statement in the first person present tense” that can be used to change the dynamics of current challenges. I began practicing using statements like “I am safe and I deserve love.” In fact, you create the statement that will mean something to you and is designed to create a better outcome for you.
I got sporadic results, which were more obvious when I remembered to repeat my chosen affirmations on a regular basis. So, repetition was a part of the affirmation process. The idea is that we can change negative thought patterns to positive ones through repetition of positive statements.
I was then introduced to the study of Buddhism where prayer was once again a practice, but prayer and meditation were intertwined. Repetition was encouraged as was focus and passion. I finally got it, and since then I have been using prayer – meditation and affirmations to create and maintain a positive life.
So – lets take a look at prayer in the Western Culture. Often prayers are memorized and repeated by rote, without focus or passion. Meditation on the other hand, requires moving to the Alpha state so focus is essential. Affirmations are the same statements we use when in sincere meditation and also when we engage in sincere prayer. In fact, all three require the same things. They require sincerity, focus, passion, desire, love and integrity to reach out into the Universe – God – Source etc. to be effective.
The energy of the mind we use and the thoughts we think are powerful. We draw back to ourseves exactly what we think about the most, and with the most sincere passion (or fear) focus and desire. In short, we create our very reality with our thoughts and feelings.
Prayer then, can be extremely effective, especially in groups. Many Churches and spiritualist centres have prayer groups who join in common thought for the well being of ourselves, another or the world in general.
Meditation can be used to still the mind and create the space required for clear thought and focus upon the same things – well being for another or others and well being for ourselves.
Affirmations are the statements of gratitude we extend – knowing the Universe – God – Source etc is listening and will assist us.
To wrap this up, I don’t think any of it works unless you include sincerity, passion, desire, integrity and focus. Not prayer, not meditation nor affirmations. On the other hand, I know without a doubt that all of them work if the intention is clear and integrity is at work.
Bring your heart and soul together when you pray or meditate or repeat affirmations – the results just may amaze you. The honoring of your true self is a step towards a happier more fulfilled life.