“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”Philippians 4:6
When I was little, I did not understand the point of praying. Especially in church, people would say the prayers very quickly, for example the “Our father” or the “Hail Mary”. I sometimes had the feeling there was a competition ongoing, as if you had to prove to each other how well you know the prayers by heart. Further, I found repeating the same verse boring and my mind kept wandering.
One day I tried to pray slowly just silently for myself. I tried to realize the meaning of the words and visualize them in front of me. Over time, I also learned that the point of repeating the same verses is to immerse yourself in a kind of contemplation and meditation.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.Mark 11:24
I find this Bible verse highly interesting. It tells us that we should believe that we have already received what we want. Further it promises us that if we do so, we shall receive it. I personally think that we humans do not know the full picture. Sometimes what we want might not be good for us or others eventually. In my view it is good to pray as indicated in this verse, but also to release afterwards and trust that God knows what is best and that whatever is best for us will happen.
When I pray now, I focus and try to ensure to keep the following in mind:
- Be in the here and now: focus on each word and visualize it. If I realize that my mind wanders off, I start from scratch and I do it as often until I manage to say the full prayer in full focus. Sometimes I manage it immediately, but often I need to start over multiple times. I don’t mind and I do not give up as I hope that God never gives up on me.
- Be thankful: As stated in the verse above, if I want to receive something, I feel thankful that I have received it already and fully go into the feeling of how it feels that I have it. I can tell you, it worked countless times for me. Prayer helps me to organize my thoughts, become aware of what I even want and visualize this – the first step towards achieving it.
- Smile and thus equip your body and mind with positive energy and emotions.
Sometimes I let my prayer follow a personal mental discussion with God about the day and things that seem important to me. It is conversation with God in the end.
I always pray the ‘Our Father’ before going to sleep. Usually I lie in bed already, I fold my hands and pray silently. I further pray when necessary, e.g. out of gratitude when something super nice happens, when I want to ask for something or when thoughts come that I don’t want to think. As I am sometimes distracted during prayer, prayer helps to distract me from thoughts that come to me and that I do not want to support. When I then start to pray, the thoughts disappear. Prayer helps me get behind the steering wheel. I want to decide what I think – which thoughts I want to allow and which not!
In prayer we can also become aware of how small we are, that we cannot influence everything. So little is in our hands. We shall give our fate into the hands of God, who only wants what is best for us. Our Creator is always there for us and only wants the best for us. In some of the things that are initially bad for us, there is often a great deal of good. For example, I was very shy as a child and therefore I was not always treated well by my classmates, it was a tough time. Today I am happy about it and thank God for it, because it made me strong inside. It made me want to improve, to become more confident. Those who used to be the most popular in the class are no better off than me today – I even dare to say that I have developed more than some of the people who went to school with me at the time. For me, prayer means trusting that for everything that happens – the aim is to teach me something, to make me stronger – no matter what it is.
Prayer also reminds me that I am only temporarily in this world. I only manage what God has granted me and I ask God for the grace to be very close to him in Eternal Life.
Here the Christian prayer of prayers. If you know it by heart, close your eyes and say it very slowly and visualize every word. Otherwise, read it very slowly and pause after each line and visualize equally:
which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory,
- If you prefer to listen to reflections and prayer, try this daily 10 minutes podcast