How often do we put in the effort to talk to God in prayer, asking for help to obtain something important to us, for understanding or for peace? For me, until recently, it was practically every time I prayed. All I found myself doing was talking. In contrast, how often do we allow ourselves the chance to listen, to receive the information God sends us back in response to our prayers? That is why I have come up with a new word, META-PRAYER (kind of like a mega-prayer), that encapsulates both MEDITATION & PRAYER.
To me, prayer is the easy part. It is when I practice meditation that my spiritual-self is forced outside its comfort zone; where it’s given the chance to grow. Meditation requires me to sit silently with my thoughts; with my true self. This is a real stretch for me a lot of time, especially in the beginning of my practice. The last thing I wanted to do was to look introspectively at my three “F’s”…fears, faults and failures. I tend to define myself – and feel others define me – by these three things. The good thing is that God does not.
Instead of getting caught in the cyclical negative self talk, I strive through meditation to instead develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness toward others. Prayer doesn’t change God’s attitude toward me; it changes my attitude toward God. That is why I combine my quiet time to listen and my vocal prayers to talk into one META-PRAYER.
Here is the great Prayer of Saint Francis that is simple to say every day
The Prayer Of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
Here are a few related resources I recommend:
Against the Stream Nashville – Buddhist Meditation
Relax Meditation Music – Video on YouTube