Our Father, who art in the Heavens, hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in Heaven, so upon the earth. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6:9-13
WHAT IS PRAYER?
In my last post, I developed a task: to become aware of and refrain from giving in to my temptations, no matter how subtle and "minor" they may seem.
How do I plan to stick to this task? What is my action plan? Simply, my plan is to pray. Then attempt to act with that prayer in mind. I have to admit, I don't feel like I pray enough. I have plenty of moments throughout my day, when I wish someone well, or say, "Lord, bless so-and-so and keep them safe..." But I don't often pause in the middle of my day to quiet my internal dialog and thoughtfully pray, just for the sheer joy of praying. Is that necessary for a prayer to be considered real? I wonder, are my mini-prayers throughout the day any less prayerful than when I pray in quiet contemplation? Is there a correct or right way to pray? What I'm really asking is, "What is prayer?"
Regarded in itself, praying is talking with God, while taking an inward view of the things we are praying about. In answer we receive a similar stream of speech into the perceptions or thoughts of our mind, so that our inner depths open up to God, in a way. The experience varies, depending on our mood and the nature of the subject we are praying about. If we pray from love and faith and focus on or seek only what is heavenly and spiritual, something resembling a revelation emerges while we pray. It discloses itself in our emotions in the form of hope, comfort, or an inward stirring of joy.
~ Secrets of Heaven 2535
I've witnessed some pretty soul-stirring prayers over a few Sunday morning congregations—acclamations of praise and gratitude, followed by an echoed AMEN from the back pew. I've prayed with friends whose prayers are nothing short of poetic and brought me to tears. But it's not how eloquently I speak or the vernacular I use, but the intent of my prayer that makes it heard. When my prayer comes from an affection of what is heavenly, my prayers are heard—not just by the Lord, but by all the angels of Heaven. This is what is meant by taking an inward view of the things we are praying about—praying from love and faith seeking only what is heavenly.
These prayers are not only heard, but answered...every time. We receive a stream of similar speech into the perceptions or thoughts of our mind. We enjoy a revelation that emerges in the form of hope, comfort, and joy.
With the intent of my prayer, I open my mind to receiving ever-present influx from Heaven. And this is what the Lord wants—Really wants from us all. He is speaking to us all the time—through influx and The Word. Prayer is simply speaking back to Him. And He wants our conversation to be continual, so much so, He gives us the very words to say. Our only responsibility is to intend + feel while speaking those words the heavenly thoughts + affections that breathe life into them.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
The Lord's Prayer* is really the only prayer we need to know. It encompasses everything:
- praising + glorifying the One true Lord;
- giving over to His will;
- forgiving of our sins in the same manner by which we forgive others;
- overcoming + delivering us from evil temptations;
- praising + glorifying again!
The Lord knows what we need. He also knows what we want. After all, He is God and God knows everything! Sometimes He even allows us to get what we want, just so we realize it's not at all what we really want! But He isn't giving us what we want because we asked Him to. Basically, there is nothing we can say that will sway the Lord, or convince or persuade him to our desires. This kind of prayer, says Swedenborg, is pointless.
But to You I have cried out, O Lord, and in the morning my prayer comes before You.
In the morning...I know from my Logopraxis reading that when conjunction with the Lord is attained, it is like the dawn in my mind—the understanding part of my mind receives light...like the experience of waking up in the morning from sleep, when dawn first sheds her light and starts off the day. When I pray from this understanding, my prayers are heard and answered.
My Logopraxis task is to recognize and acknowledge temptations as they reveal themselves—and at that moment, intend His will with genuine affection. Keeping it simple + sure; KISS. Did I manage to accomplish this task? Let's just say, failing miserably is an understatement.
I spend an incredible amount of time having an internal conversation with hellish influences who seek to distract me with self-deprecating thoughts and ideas about "doing Logopraxis" correctly and my inability to accomplish my task. My self-importance is threatened and fighting for it's life.
Staying on task is proving difficult. I feel distracted by work, and have difficulty focusing on all levels. But when I do manage to bring my mind around to my task of recognizing, acknowledging and overcoming temptations, I notice how quickly I work to convince myself that I'm making mountains out of mole hills—that the Lord doesn't concern Himself with the minutia of my life. When thoughts like this prevail, I feel the need to pray, but to pray effectively—to understand how my prayers are heard. I try to open my heart to the intent of heavenly pursuits—Thy will be done. But I don't trust myself and question my true motives. I question whether cutting myself some slack is just my self-importance making excuses or whether it's genuinely the Lord comforting me in my distress.
I realize it's not just in brief moments throughout my day I should be concerned with heavenly thinking and communicating with the Lord, but all of my internal dialogue, in every moment of every day—to be in a state of prayer.
Being in Prayer.
Vindicate me, O Lord, For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip.
- An explanation of The Lord's Prayer according to Swedenborg on SwedenborgStudy.com