Everyone makes mistakes, even me with my blog, and the things I post here. You can read about one such mistake here, if you're curious.
It's not my place to judge people, but I think that if we want G-D to give us something, we must pray the right way, and to try avoid making some mistakes.
Several years ago I decided I should be more spiritual, to pray more, be kinder, less negative. I took a notebook and wrote in it some guidelines for "how to pray." Surely I found this guide somewhere on the internet, but for the love of what's good, I can't remember.
This entry is an adaptation of that info - simply because I didn't agree with everything in there, and I also think some other stuff should be added.
Matthew 6:7-8 New International Version (NIV)
7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Prayer is a highly personal experience
For me this is true, as you could probably tell from this blog entry. Everyone whose prayers have been answered will probably tell you the same thing. This is not something that can be explained.
What I can say is that the prayer is a tool helping us to attune and communicate with G-D - or whatever other Higher Being or Creator you believe in.
Don't pray just in time of need
I find this to be wrong, though it can be effective if you pour all your soul into it. I think that if you want to live a more peaceful and fulfilling life, trying to pray on a more regular basis is [or works] better.
You can compare this to a person whose teeth look perfect - surely they visit their dentist quite often, brushes and flosses their teeth twice each day.
Be thankful while praying
Forgetting to thank G-D for everything positive in our lives is something many are guilty of. Including those that pray on a regular basis.
What can you be thankful for? The clothes on your body, the house you live in, the neighborhood you live in [if you like it there and feel safe], the food on your table, your job [especially if the income is acceptable], for having people that care about you in your life, for being able to have pets [if you have them], and so on.
These were just examples and are the things I'm generally thankful for while praying. Every little thing does matter and you should be thankful for, including your health, looks [if you consider yourself pretty, or you particularly like something about yourself like your eyes or hair], talents [like cooking, baking, drawing, fashion style, applying make-up].
Some of these attributes sound vain to be thankful for, but I can guarantee there is at least one person out there that wishes they had what you have - material or not. You can walk, talk, see, read, sing? Be thankful for all of those since there are folks that can't perform these actions.
What to pray for
You can pray for everything or anything, including for world peace. For better and higher chances of the prayer to be answered, just ask for small things and one thing at a time.
For instance, you lost your job [or were forced to quit?] when praying, thank your Divinity for all the jobs you had in the past and ask Them to help you find another suitable one quickly.
We can even ask for help in becoming mentally stronger, better people [less negative, less critical of others], in finding a new hobby, a new partner, in overcoming problems that seem very complicated, or even forgiveness.
We can pray for forgiveness for ourselves or for others. Maybe you lied to someone and now you feel bad, but still don't have the courage to confess to them? Ask G-D for forgiveness, but try not to lie anymore in the future. If someone did something hurtful towards you, you probably can't let go of those negative emotions so easily. Ask the Divine to help you with that, and ask the Divine to forgive that person's mistakes. [I did this and it felt liberating.]
not my quote not my picture
Acknowledge you're wrong or sinful
This segment goes against Christian teachings of confessing and stuff. We all do things we're very ashamed of later on [what? it's just me? hmmm]. Sometimes those actions feel too heavy, and we're too embarrassed to confess them to a priest [if that's part of your belief system].
Telling G-D during a prayer about those things can be liberating. Not many people know what you did, but G-D DOES know. The Divinity knows everything about you. Admitting that doing this or that was wrong and asking for forgiveness can help. [It did help me, I felt less tormented].
When and where to pray
You can pray at any time, in any place. It is however better to find a quiet time and place to do so. For instance, you could pray while showering or taking a bath, right before falling asleep, when everyone else is asleep or away.
The most important thing to try and remember is that you should not be disturbed. You should silent your phone too, if you receive too many texts, calls and notifications. You don't have to be in a church [or similar type of building] to pray. You don't even need a picture of your Deity around you.
Faith is crucial
No mater who you pray to or what for, you must be certain 100% that They hear you and that They will answer. It's not enough to say "Oh, my god's name is this, and they DO exist... blahblahblah." No! You must feel with every cell of your body that that Creator exists and that They love you and will send you what you ask for.
When you start communicating with Them, you have to be aware of Their presence in and around you: you wouldn't be here without Them, and you wouldn't have everything you own without Them.
May God look over From His Holy Dwelling and may he strike all those who hate His People with a wink of an eye
Behold here is the Lord rising and standing on a plumb-line Giving them a cup of poison but not wine
Yash'kef Elohim mima'on kod'sho veyach kol sonei amo keheref ayin
Hineh Hashem kam venitzav al anach yash'kem lechos ra'al aval lo yayin
I have no words to express how much I like this song, and how well it helps me get into a praying state of mind. It also helps me be more aware of G-D and His presence in my life.
©Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved. The song and lyrics belong to Sagiv Cohen.