Prayer Practice

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father 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, for ever. Amen.

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Prayer for Awakening

Prayer is a very powerful practice that plays directly on intention.  Prayer is a direct way to confront the unconscious driving forces that are more powerful than our free will, bigger than us. We are a part of the same process as the universe, and because of that, from one perspective, a higher knowledge or a higher intelligence, or a higher power, or a higher order to things that we don’t understand, may exist. We can call it God, or Truth, or Source, or whatever we call it. The mental development outlined in this book has no bearing on religious beliefs and does not require beliefs of any kind, only the willingness to try a new way of relating to God. If we are asked to believe anything in this book, it is that we are directly responsible for our relationship with God, and through habit and practices done diligently, we can draw closer to God and experience His presence in every moment of the day.

This system takes a more Gnostic Christian perspective to prayer and the relationship to a higher power. Many Christians believe that they don’t need to do any practice or good deeds because they are saved by grace alone. The Gnostic practitioner instead assumes that they have the faculties to know God on a personal level and through practice and devotion they can do so. I am not making any claims to truth or religious authority here, just explaining the methods.   

Ideal prayers are simple, authentic, and true as possible. They can be done in the exact same way as metta practice, by synchronizing the words with the breath, and enjoying any sense of peace and stillness. You want to get in touch with the deeper wish behind the more superficial wish.

Prayer practice #1

“God, please grant me the judgement to make good choices, for the benefit of myself and those around me”

This is a powerful prayer that can be used in direct conjunction with any other practice and is especially useful in times where we are focused on cleaning up our behavior. 

The key aspect of this prayer is that it brings in responsibility yet acknowledges that we are not ultimately in control. We need the help of some guiding power that is wiser than us, almost necessarily- in order to fully put down our selfish tendencies and see a different way of being. This conscious statement and intention plants the seeds in our mind, and by continuing to cultivate the intention, it leads to more and more instances of that intention, and the mind begins to construct a pathway from the intention, leading toward the actions.  This is a powerful weapon against vices and addictions.

 We notice that in every moment where a harmful decision is about to happen, there is an extra space around that, to decide whether to ignore the selfish impulse and continue with the unwholesome behavior, or remember our prayer, and in that moment, say the prayer again, genuinely. Don’t worry if the unwholesome action happens again, just don’t judge, but also watch the mind before, during, and after. With the continued prayer for God to give us the power to make better decisions, we will eventually, without will power or strain, begin to loosen our grip on those objects and activities that are harmful.

“God, please grant me knowledge of Your will, and the power to carry it out”

This is the traditional prayer of a Brahmacharya. The prayer above is especially powerful and can be done as a natural blossoming of the practice of the previous prayer. We learn that the mental representation we have of God or whatever higher power we connect with, that mental representation, with mindful awareness, become known as a tool that the practitioner can use and it can be framed in a pragmatic way. We can draw closer to God by asking for the knowledge of what is Divine, Godly, wholesome, and what is not.

And we can pray to have God show us, in actual symbolic synchronous events, that we are on the divine path or not. The practices and discussion of magick will elucidate this. People who develop the awareness and attentional skills in the preparatory practice, will begin to see symbolism and what’s called “synchronicity”- events that seem like poetic sort of coincidences, that give use the sense of a higher power or order to things. We can become able to perceive subtle phenomena and when the synchronous events start to happen, it is really the mind beginning to tune into a higher level of consciousness where we can directly perceive the interconnected nature of reality and the universe. 

“God, please relieve <insert name> suffering”

Simple, direct prayers like this are more effective than specific detailed prayers concerned with things of the world. We can similarly take the perspective of wishing well for others, but it will almost always, in this practice, be a specific mental state for the beneficiary. When we wish for another person to be relieved of suffering, or to experience happiness or peace, these are Divine intentions from God. These are intentions that have arisen by Grace in the heart of the practitioner, due to Divine forces that are much bigger than you or me.

We have to balance that with the fact that we keep revisiting the intention and cultivating this experience. So we do something, and not do anything- paradoxical, but can be clearly and efficiently practiced. Speaking directly from compassion- we see the problem is the person and their experience. The person is suffering – we want that to stop. In this type of prayer, we can settle the mind appropriately using the practices developed in the preparatory section, and then introduce a few rounds of this prayer.

The prayers above can also be verbalized as a mantra, and this increases the power of the practice quite a bit. For people who are self-conscious doing mantra-type practice where other people can hear them- well, these practices are quite powerful when done as a mantra. The key with mantra practice is to make the experience of saying the mantra genuine, authentic, and deliberate. So the prayers above, for example, could be spoken, paying attention to the way the words come out, and the mental state as the words are coming out, and the physical vibration of the vocal cords as the words come out, and then resting in the stillness after saying the words, paying attention to the subtle buzzing or pulsing or shifting of body sensations, and paying attention to any kind of urges, thoughts, and emotions come up. Mantra practice is very powerful because spoken words have a specific region of the brain associated with learning, different than the parts of the brain that are employed in silently paying attention to the breath in the body, or jhana factors.

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