Beliefnet
Q: Dear Carolyn, I was recently in discussion with someone who recommended that when praying for another, it was essential to add, 'but only if it is in accordance with Divine Will.' My question, which I hope you can give me some insight on, is this: What is the purpose of prayer, if you give your intention to Divine Will anyway? How can I possibly influence God?

A: We mature into the manner in which we pray. Most begin in some way begin their prayer life as 'stuffologists' -- God, give me stuff, bless my stuff, where is my stuff?, can I have more stuff?, don't take my stuff.' God is manifested through 'stuff,' and along with that are prayers that people say in which they request that God grant them what they want: Please let my business succeed, please let me... give me...

Now, this is ground level prayer -- which is, in effect, not unlike saying, 'I will believe in you IF you give me... and do what I want.' It goes without saying that always people who pray in this manner are disappointed, as they should be. We ain't got what it takes to command the cosmos or to bargain -- can you imagine what life would be like if everybody got what they wanted? Given the nature of the species, everyone would want the planet and all its power to revolve around them -- so much for the sun.

The next level of prayer is directed toward guiding your inner life. People will naturally evolve -- like it or not -- to a place where they have to begin to approach life from within their own being. Introspection and self-examination become the priorities, and prayers mature to requests for directives to understand the nature of one's soul. That maturation process automatically challenges the demands of the ego, which shall always desire control of the world -- your inherent polarity of the spirit is to release the world -- hence the nature of the archetypal theatre of life.

Finally, the most mature level of prayer is transcendent: prayer without request -- to enter into a state beyond request, needs, or demands. A state in which you dwell, even for a moment, in the single perception that all needs are met; you are where you should be; guidance pours at all times; a prayer of power is beyond words, where dialogue is unnecessary. The mystics dwell in a sensation of divine intimacy that is created from within.

God bless,
Caroline

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