Micro-managing God: How We Pray Matters
By Norma Gentile
Soprano and Sound Shaman
I find that the lessons my guides like to share with me are often brought to my attention in my normal waking life. Recently, I noticed that not only is the media reporting on the events they usually cover, such as natural disasters and political upheavals, but they are also covering the resulting prayer gatherings and peace rallies. Likewise, with each unfolding situation, my email box fills with announcements of group meditations and prayers. I’m betting yours does too.
The invitations for most meditation events I receive include notes that the intention is to “heal” or “bring peace” to a person or situation on the planet. Other emails request me to “send light and love” or good thoughts, prayer and energy towards curing illness for someone or helping with a difficult family matter.
Certainly I feel a sense of compassion for those who are suffering. Yet the underlying intention of this sort of goal-oriented prayer has never felt accurate to me. This morning as I was wrestling with how to address another round of these emails, I heard a sentence being formed out loud in my head.
“The more unencumbered by personal intentions your prayers are, the more effective they are.”
While I attributed the sentence to one of my guides, the idea was not new to me. Growing up as the eldest granddaughter of a minister, I heard again every Easter the Bible story of Jesus’ overheard prayer “…Not my will, but Thine, be done.” As a mystically inclined seeker of the Divine, I know it from passages in the Bhagavad Gita, the Emissaries of Divine Light, and the teachings of Yogananda. And in the world of energy healing, I immediately recalled the ways in which several teachers have shared this same philosophy with me.
Spiritual healer and teacher Ken Page points out that whenever we send energy, even “love and light”, we are opening ourselves to an energy exchange. Something will come back to us from the person or situation we are targeting with our prayers. I would add that the more our intention is to change a person or situation, the more the energy that comes back to us will also try to change us!
Drunvalo Melchizedek, author and originator of the MerKaBa Meditation, points out that we live in a polarized world. In this world where there is both good and evil, right and wrong, we create both aspects of whatever we wish for, even though our intention is to create only one aspect. When our prayers are formed “for the good” by our mental capacity, an equal amount of our energy is also creating the opposite effect.
I find that Newton’s Third Law of Motion, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” applies to how we pray. If we indeed pray for what would appear to be a “good” outcome to any situation, then we are also unconsciously putting an equal amount of energy into praying for a “bad” outcome.
How can this be? My metaphysical answer is this: Because we live in a world that is based on Free Will, we as a group of souls decided to create polarity. On a practical level this means that what appears to me as “bad” might actually be the catalyst for a much larger movement of Spiritual growth.
A friend recently reminded me of how much we as humans do not know about the larger plans of God and Spirit. “If prayers for peace had been answered in 1861, there would still be slavery in America”. Likewise, if peace had been the result of prayers offered at the outset of World War II, Hitler may have ruled much of the western world.
In our human form, we are not able to see the larger picture of events that are working themselves out. It is only natural for us to pray for that which makes one more comfortable, happier, and healthier. But our soul’s journey is to explore how we, while in human form, create comfort and ease, generate joy and find balance in our physical bodies.
While our personality would prefer to jump to the end of our soul’s learning process and enter into a life of perfect comfort, our soul want to learn all that is possible while here in human form. And sometimes that includes the experience of discomfort in order to motivate useful changes in our lives.
In a study done in the 1990s, hospitalized cardiac patients were prayed for in directed and non-directed prayer, and compared to a group that received no prayers. (this was a small study, probably funded as part of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Studies, and most likely related to a university hospital. If you know this exact study please let me know as I have lost the original published article)
Unlike many similar studies which divided patients into only two groups, this particular study divided patients into three groups. The group that received no prayers did the least well in terms of their physical recovery. The second group received prayers of directed healing: “Please heal the heart of _______,” for example. The third group of patients received non-directed healing. “May God’s will be done in the life of ________.”
Not surprisingly the third group of patients had the highest recovery rate.
In similar studies, Spindrift Research showed that prayers for the healing of living beings such as mold, yeast, and soybeans helped them recover from injuries and grow significantly more than those same plants that did not receive prayer.
In the study involving soybeans, one group of soybeans was oversaturated with water while another group was not given enough water. Both groups of the soybeans were set out to receive prayers. Most of those praying did not know whether the soybeans they were praying for were too dry or too wet. Some soybeans received directed prayers (“God let the soybeans have more moisture in order to sprout well”) while other soybeans received non-directed prayer (“May the soybeans receive whatever they need”).
As their report states: “With non goal-directed prayer, the group of over-soaked beans gave off water and moved down toward normal, and the under-soaked beans took on water and moved up toward normal. The different needs [of the soybeans] were met.” The group of soybeans receiving directed goal prayers remained either over saturated with water as well as too dry. The potential within the soybeans receiving non-directed, non-goal oriented prayer to bring themselves into balance was activated by the energy of the prayers. This same inner potential to achieve balance was not successfully accessed by those soybeans receiving directed or goal-oriented prayers.
This is a strong lesson for all of us, whether or not we consider ourselves to be healers. Letting ourselves honor, especially during times of great need, the innate intelligence of God that lies within each person or situation allows the power of Spirit that is already present within each person or situation to shine more brightly. Telling God how to heal a person, bring peace to a situation or fix a perceived problem actually constricts the movement of Spirit, and thus the potential healing that God would desire to bring through that person or situation.
I have no doubt that it is easier to pray for a soybean to follow its own inner intelligence than to find within ourselves a space of neutrality and compassion from which we can pray without a fixed goal for those we know or for painful world situations. This is perhaps one of the most difficult lessons we, as humans, have decided to learn. Healing and prayer are not about results. Healing and prayer happen when we allow our own compassionate heart to open and simply be with another’s pain. In this way God is awakened from within, and Love is remembered.
Norma Gentile, sound shaman, is an intuitive healer and channeler. She incorporates her training as a professional musician into her meditation albums and recordings of healing music. Many songs, meditations and group consultations are offered freely through her website’s newsletter at healingchants.com.
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