Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. I picked up Elizabeth Gilbert’s book that I’ve been reading called Eat Pray Love. In the “Pray” part of the book, she chronicles her experience of going to an Ashram in India and learning meditation and the ways of Spirit under the guidance of a guru. She is refreshingly honest about her struggles throughout the book. What I read last night struck me. She was speaking about asking God for things in prayer and she realized how timid and generic she has been in her prayer. Becoming aware of this, she began to ask specifically and boldly for what she wanted! Here’s a bit of what she says. “If I want transformation, but can’t even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I’m aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don’t have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift” (from Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Penguin Books, copyright 2006, p.177).
I was struck by how I am not specific in my prayers. Added to this, I‘m also timid in my asking. I lack boldness and, frankly, I lack faith in my prayers. There’s something in me that still feels guilty for asking, a part of me that still feels like I shouldn’t ask, or that I definitely shouldn’t ask for too much. . . . After all the God of the Universe, who created all things from the farthest reaches of space to the farthest reaches of an atom, the God who is limitless – can only handle so much! . . .Where the hell did I get the concept that God can only handle so much? Who the hell am I kidding? This is God we’re talking about! You know? . . . The “all things are possible” God!!
Perhaps I’m afraid to be bold and specific because I don’t really know what I want. If that’s the case, being bold and specific in my intentions is a good exercise in becoming clear about what I want in life and in the world!
Perhaps I’m afraid to be bold and specific because I’m afraid that it won’t happen – that this person won’t be healed, or peace won’t come. Boy, does this point to a lack of belief or what? I guess I’ve still got a long way to go!
Do any of you experience a timidity and lack of clarity in your prayers?
This morning as I meditated, I began to take time to ask, to REALLY ask. I asked for EVERYTHING and perhaps for one of the first times in my life, I wasn’t afraid to ask for everything. This sense that God was too “busy” or too limited in resources was gone!! It’s as if God was there saying “Come on, don’t be afraid, ask away! And don’t be afraid that I’m some how going to run out of good things to give to people and the world! After all, I’m God for heaven‘s sake!” And so I asked, and asked, and asked, BOLDLY and specifically, . . . the prayers, the intentions just came tumbling out of me (and my mind became a little more clear about what I want in a few cases!).
What do you want for those you love, for the world and for yourself? Ask. Be bold! Be specific!