"I declare with perfect faith
     That prayer preceded God
      Prayer created God
      God created human beings
      Human beings create prayers
      that create the God that creates human beings"

-Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai

Prayer is a concept that baffles and beguiles, if we spend any time thinking about it. When someone says, "I'll be praying for you", it can fall anywhere between, "I'm thinking of you" and "I'll bake you a cake and cookies." Benevolent intentions embodied in words.

Yet, in its most common form it is a petition for all kinds of purposes.....but always for God's special providence.

From my personal experience and all that I have read on prayer, Elkhart Tolle's words resonate deeper....

"A friend asked me if I pray for anything. My response was yes, but not in a conventional way. I pray for intervention in my mind - that's where I need the most help.

Behind every person is the recognition that we don't have the power to change things ourselves, if we did we would simply get on with the task. But we beseech a higher power to intervene on our behalf.

We want the possessions, the opportunities, or experiences we think will make us happy. We also believe that if only things were different we'd be at peace.

This is the ego's way of thinking. It is founded on the belief that how we feel inside depends on our circumstances. Disappointment, frustration, impatience, it takes various forms. Yet the root of our discontent lies not so much in the situation but in how we interpret it.

When I catch myself feeling upset in some way, it makes sense to ask, not for a change in the world, but for a change in my perception. So that is what I pray for. I settle into a quiet state, then ask with an attitude of innocent curiosity, "could there, perhaps be another way of seeing this?" I simply pose the question. Let it go. And wait.

Often a new way of seeing then dawns on me. It comes as an actual shift in perception.

One memorable shift happened a while ago when I was having some challenges with my partner. She was not behaving the way I thought she should. After a couple of days of a strained relationship, I decided to pray in this way, just gently enquiringly if there may be another way of perceiving this. Almost immediately I found myself seeing her in a very different light. Here was another human being with her own history and her own needs, struggling to navigate a difficult situation. Suddenly everything changed. I felt compassion for her rather than animosity, understanding rather than judgment.

The results of praying like this never cease to impress me. I find my fears and grievances dropping away. In their place is a sense of ease. Whoever or whatever was troubling me I now see through more compassionate and loving eyes.

The beauty of this approach is that I'm not praying to some external power. I am praying to myself for guidance - to the true self that sees things as they are, without the overlay of various hopes and fears. It recognises when I have become caught in the ego's way of thinking, and is ever willing to set me free."

 "God's change up in heaven, God's get replaced, prayers are here to stay."

                                                                                                     -Yehuda Amichai

Until next time!
Ritu Malhotra.