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Question about prayer

Old 03-28-2011, 01:30 PM
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Question Question about prayer

Hi there, im new to the site and I have a question. I am in Al-Anon for about 2 months, im on step one and doing the steps with my fantastic sponsor. In the beginning I was very hesitant about the higher power part but through my recovering boyfriend I am seeing how much good spirituality is doing for him and have become alot more open to the idea. I am starting to get epiphanies and alot of god shots lol.

When I comes to prayer I am just lost. I am a very literal person who learns best when its spelled out. I just dont know how to pray. I mean I talk to god and do the best I can. I have heard you shouldnt pray for yourself, just guidance and I feel like Im doing it all wrong (if thats even possible) . Does anyone know of any good daily readers with prayers or some other kind of literature that goes over how to learn to pray or just some morning and evening prayers to get me started?
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Old 03-28-2011, 01:54 PM
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Ah, prayer. In some ways, it really is difficult to start, when you haven't done it in awhile. It's funny, because as long as your intentions are good, they're no wrong way to pray - but getting started is the tough part.

If you're looking for some sort of format, I try to use something along these lines:
Greeting
Thanks
Requests

It can be as simple as, "Dear God, thanks for all your help yesterday, I'm really going to need a lot more help today." Although of course, the more specific I am about things, the better I feel afterward. (You can also add in intentions for other people, as well. "Please help julienamana today, as she's learning how to pray," or things of that nature are great! Whatever you want to say, like I said, if your intentions are good, then there's no wrong way to do it. Just speak from your heart.
Sometimes, when I'm at a loss for words, I just send feelings instead. I figure God's a lot smarter than me, he can figure out what I need when I don't know what to ask for, so I'll just do my best and let him sort it out. *Grins*


Then there's the really popular "formula prayers," if you feel more comfortable with them. I'll list a few that I use more often, a Google search will locate millions more, whatever you feel most comfortable with starting.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Angel of God, our guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule, and guide. Amen.

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. If I should live for other days, I pray the Lord to guide my ways. Amen.

(And adding "God Bless..." and a list of intentions after any "formula prayer" is okay, as well.)

These are just a few, there are trillions out there, or you can make up your own.

And of course, one of my favorites. This one isn't quite so reverent as the others, but nonetheless, it's so true.

Dear God,
So far today, I've done all right.
I haven't gossiped, I haven't lost my temper,
I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or over-indulgent.
I'm really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed, and from then on I'm probably going to need a lot more help.
Thank you. Amen
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:01 PM
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haha I like that last one the best, thank you so much! I will try to come up with one to start me out and one to end the day and maybe I can figure out the rest in between I think I saw some pretty good ones in the big book too, I have so many damn books now I cant remember where I read what I liked lol
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:03 PM
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Are you familiar with the Serenity prayer?

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to tell the difference.


That's always a good one.

(And yes, that last prayer is one of my favorites.)
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Old 03-28-2011, 03:25 PM
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The book of Psalms is full of good prayers. And you absolutely can pray for yourself. There is nothing wrong with that. OF course God is not going to answer prayers that are illegal or imoral. Just talk to Him like he is your friend. The Bible says that He is. Hope this helps,gina
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:37 PM
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I've known a LOT of people
who say they've never prayed
who are helped tremendously
by learning meditation first.

It seems to be a kind of 'middle ground'
that can help introduce people
who haven't prayer experience
ease themselves
into the mindset
and they also benefit

from learning about 'mindfulness'.

just a thought ... (pun intended)
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:12 PM
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@ barb, yeah im finding that is true just started on meditation so maybe it will help, thanks! I dont know if big time religious prayers are going to work for me either I dont even know what they are trying to say lol, I think there were some in the AA big book or maybe it was my alanon book that sounded pretty good I will search them out
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:42 PM
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Another nice one to set your intentions is the prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:35 PM
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I LOVE the prayer of St Francis, however I feel it is not always appropriate for us "codies" who put our A's feelings before ours.
My friend shared this one with me and it has been helpful as well as the serenity prayer.
It is a prayer to the Holy Spirit but it you can substitut anything that makes you more comfortable. HP or creator ...

Holy Spirit, enlighten me, guide me and console me.
Help me to know what to do and compel me to do it.

I usually say it a few times and really focus on what it means.

Good luck.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:04 PM
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@ jamaica I really like that one, simple and straight to the point!!!
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jamaicamecrazy View Post
I LOVE the prayer of St Francis, however I feel it is not always appropriate for us "codies" who put our A's feelings before ours.
Good point, you're right. It sorta depends on where you're at for that one to be helpful.
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:01 AM
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I just went to a Lent program last night where the presenter (a Catholic nun) showed us a video of Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now). The thesis of her program was that prayer is recognition of Divinity that arises between thoughts. If you ARE new to prayer and thought of HP, seeking for that space will allow you to pray without judging even your HP.

So I agree that meditation is a GREAT place to start. Read Thich Nhat' Hanh's Miracle of Mindfulness, or any other book that will guide you into a meditative state. CDs are often a great place to start.

If you want to go right to Scripture-based prayer, I LOVE the daily podcasts from pray-as-you-go.org. They're 20 minute daily meditations that start with music, then a scripture reading, then a guided meditation on that reading.

@jamaicamecrazy, I know what you're saying about the Prayer of St. Francis, but it's still one of my favorite prayers. When I pray it, I don't meditate on just my AH, I think about all the people I come in contact with and pray to be able to give and love freely to them with no strings or baggage--which is a pure love. The problem with codies is a lot of times we are loving with baggage.
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:26 AM
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Thank you julienamana, for introducing this thread about prayer. I hope you've found some useful suggestions. I know I have. Like you, I have recognized the power of spirituality through a boyfriend in AA. I began attending Al-Anon as well and have found much peace, comfort and enlightenment in those rooms. Lately, I have turned to my Higher Power for wisdom and guidance to deal with a situation causing me great pain. I have never considered myself a religious person so prayer definitely does not come easy for me either. But I do believe there is a power or force greater than all of us looking out for our best interest and bringing us life lessons when we are able to receive them.

The Serenity Prayer is one that I repeat often, particularly the last phrase about "the wisdom to know the difference." It's not always easy, but jamaicamecrazy, than you for also sharing this one.

[Higher Power], enlighten me, guide me and console me. Help me to know what to do and compel me to do it.

I have added it to my spirituality journal.
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:10 PM
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Sometimes you don't know what you want, or how to say it.

When that happens to me, I just sit in a quiet place, close my eyes, and try to open my heart. My Higher Power knows what I need even when I can't express it. Sometimes that is enough. Part meditation, part prayer I guess. Often when I quiet myself, my true needs come to the surface and then I can put something together if I need to say it in words.

I don't think prayer has to be words, though. You could draw a picture, or write a poem, burn a candle with good wishes attached, watch the sunrise with strong cup of tea. I think all those things can be prayer.
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
Another nice one to set your intentions is the prayer of St. Francis:
I was going to suggest this beautiful prayer as well.

If you are weirded out, or not committed to the God idea, you can omit the word, "Lord". You could also scratch the last one or two lines and I think it might work really well.

I like the Lord's Prayer - again, substitute for the first phrase - because it is all about our basic needs, and placing our will on the back burner. Which is what we gotta do, hard as it is.
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:29 PM
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I heard this early in my recovery and it helped me a lot:

"Trying to pray IS praying."
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by PurpleSquirrel View Post
I don't think prayer has to be words, though. You could draw a picture, or write a poem, burn a candle with good wishes attached, watch the sunrise with strong cup of tea. I think all those things can be prayer.
Thank you for this reminder. This past summer I often found my "prayer" was walking around a beautiful lake and stopping to admire God's beauty. It gave me the serenity I desperately needed.
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:49 PM
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Someone posted on the AA forum recently about a prayer I only heard about for the first time about a year ago. It's called the "Set-Aside" Prayer, and it can be customized for whatever use you want to make of it:

"Dear God, please set aside everything I think I know (about myself, my disease, the Big Book, the 12 Steps, the Program, the Fellowship, the people in the fellowship, all spiritual terms, and especially about you God) so I may have an open mind and a new experience (with all these things). Please help me see the Truth. Amen."

It's often used when beginning a session of Step work or a BB study or working with someone else (a sponsor or sponsee).
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Old 03-29-2011, 08:15 PM
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OK, so, I have lots of different ways of talking to God (and I'm saying God because that's how I refer to my Higher Power. I know someone here used a HD as an HP. Whatever works for you. ).

I grew up in the church and the formulaic prayers for me have their place.
But I also talk to God. A lot.

If you've seen the movie "The Apostle" with Robert Duvall, I kind of relate to God like he does. There's a scene when he's been hit with something really awful and he's up in his mother's attic talking loudly to God, saying "I know you're God. I know you know what you're doing. But right now, I DON'T CARE FOR WHAT YOU'RE DOING! I'm HURTING! I'm ANGRY! I trust you and I love you but I don't understand this!' I did a lot of that while I was still married.

At other times, I just talk to God like I talk to my best friend. I do this a lot when I'm out walking, I say, "Well, I have no idea how this is all going to come together, but I'm just trusting that you're going to point me in the right direction and let me know when I need to act and how, because I'm pretty useless right now" or "God, tell me to breathe deeply and slowly because I'm about to lose it right here."

But I find that when I just quiet myself and focus on God as I perceive God, there is a communication that takes place in complete silence. And that's the kind of prayer or meditation that really calms my spirit and feels like deep prayer.
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:46 AM
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"Dear God, please set aside everything I think I know about________"

I was just exposed to the "set aside" prayer on a recent retreat. I woke up the next morning and thought and thought. Then I thought some more. It didn't make sense to say to my self "set aside everything I think I know about what I need", but that is what came to me. So I said it. Later in group, I reflected that although I went to the retreat with a vague agenda, what I truly needed was revealed to me while there. It was sort of amazing
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