I recently read a quote from Osho:
Pray like a lover, not like a beggar.
I realised that while a beggar might say “can you spare some change“, a lover would not hesitate to request their heart’s desires. A lover would never request leftovers or spare change but instead asks to be wined and dined. Your beloved seeks to be loved, wholly and completely.
Much like the faith of a child.
Before Christmas, I went to the pharmacy to pick up something, and little miss 6 begged me to take her upstairs to see toys. She insisted that she wouldn’t ask me to buy her anything, but rather, just wanted to look and to tell me what she wanted for Christmas. As we walked around the toys, I took my phone and photographed each one that she pointed out she wanted. I later sent all the photos to her dad, her aunts & older cousins – making sure that everyone had an idea of “these are the types of toys she’s interested in this year”.
She never bothered me again about Christmas presents, although throughout December she kept telling me what she was getting. She had absolute certainty that the things that we’d looked at that day would be under the tree! Because that’s what she had asked for.
On December 23rd, when I went to the supermarket, she hand-picked 8 carrots for the reindeer, and then stopped to pick up chocolate chip cookies for Santa. For her, there was no doubt that Santa would come – so it was apparent we needed to have ready the snacks.
At six years old, she sees magic in life that I have lost touch with – become cynical about. She stops to smell the flowers and notice the details. It’s possible to embrace the possibility of the impossible. She simply believes it to be so – and we make it happen!
The power of prayer
How do I describe the importance of the words that we use without ascribing formality and strength to the words that they don’t have? The power lies in my faith of the all-present Divine to fulfil. There is no magic in eloquence or wordiness.
And yet words are essential: we speak reality into existence, first as thoughts, ideas, and then we put it into words and actions.
We are told to have the faith as small as a mustard seed to move mountains.
Nonetheless, in various passages, we are chided to ask according to Divine purpose and will, rather than according to our own desires. And when we pray with this certainty of Divine purpose, we know that we already have it! Even in the Lord’s Prayer, we find “Thy will be done”.
When we know our purpose, and that what we are thinking, speaking and doing is aligned with our mission and Divine Plan, the certainty that our prayer has power comes more easily. The power of our prayers is then released by the choices and actions that we take.
Do you believe that Santa is coming tonight – enough to buy carrots for the reindeer?
What actions are you taking after you pray? Do you pray for rain and then carry an umbrella or a raincoat?
Are your prayers ordering from a menu?
I cannot count the times my prayers were like a patron ordering from a menu: “I’ll have the daily bread, some patience, and could you please take away these trials that I seem to be having at the moment?”.
Thy will be done be damned! I’m not interested. Please just remove this plate and this trial from me, because I have other plans for my life. Can we skip the vegetables and go straight to dessert?
Can our prayers be simply a request for ourselves – from a place of desire – because we want it? Or do our appeals need to align with our purpose and passion?
How do I exercise the faith of a mustard seed – of a child? Can I command the Divine power that we have been given? To influence events and situations, we have to connect with Divine Love, and rest in knowing that we can command “this or better”. If the Bible is at all valid, then we have the power to calm a storm, ordering it to be still.
When we tell our dog to sit, we simply expect it to sit. So why do we not expect the same from other elements of life? Do we educate the dog – or are we training ourselves to believe that the dog will sit when told to do so?
Perhaps we need more training in faith and prayer.
I don’t believe prayer is begging and pleading
God, can you spare some change?
I hope that Divine Love is so much more than just spare change by random passersby.
My daughter would never ask me just for leftovers. No. She would dare to ask me for the food off my plate, for my dessert. While she loves sharing, she also has no fear in asking.
Of course, sometimes we are like spoiled children. We ask, and we are told no. Or our parents say “later”. Then we start with the begging and pleading. We try to negotiate a different response because we didn’t like the answer we received.
How often do you tell a child “no” for their own good? We protect our children in all kinds of ways, not always giving them what they ask us for.
Are you listening for the answers to your prayers? Can you sit in silence and hear the still, small voice that says “I have something better for you.“? Unfortunately, there have been many times in my life that I have been the child, throwing a tantrum. I fail to see the look of love in the eyes of the Divine. The noise that I am making is too loud for me to hear the stilling and calm voice that says “wait”.
Faith does not beg and plead.
I might beg and plead. But faith doesn’t. My begging and pleading typically come from a place of fear and lack.
Like a child, I might be attempting manipulation – I’m going to make you do what I want. Do I really think that I might be able to shame the Divine into doing what I please?
Don’t get me wrong – prayer changes everything. Typically, in these moments, I find that prayer changes me. If I stay there long enough, begging and pleading – I start to see Truth. I begin to recognise where I am coming from and the state that I am in.
The divine purpose has not been changed – but my relationship with it has been.
“You’re going to be happy” – said Love – “but first I’m going to make you strong.”
Certainty, belief and faith
The only certainty I have is that everything is for my good and aligned with my Divine purpose. That doesn’t always mean that I am confident of the next right step forward or of the outcome.
The only certainty I have is that when I know the next right step forward, it becomes my responsibility to take it. The onus falls upon me to move my feet.
I’ve wasted time over the past decades waiting to see the whole path before me, before daring to take the step that has been revealed. Unfortunately, we often never get to see it all with that kind of clarity!
Life is a mix of prayer, answers & insight, faith and action.
“Just as courage is persisting in the face of fear, so faith is persisting in the presence of doubt.” (Julia Baird)
It’s not that we doubt that this is the right path – it’s that we doubt our ability to carry it out! Faith is not about convincing myself to believe – it’s having that deep inner conviction that this is my purpose and path, in spite of doubting my own fortitude and abilities. It’s trusting that the Divine within me is sufficient to make up for my own weaknesses.
Therein lies the magic that my daughter sees.
If God is all-powerful, why would my doubts and uncertainty be able to undermine the outcome? All that is asked of me is to step forward in my purpose, trusting that the parts beyond my control will work out by Divine plan. I am only responsible for all the elements within my control.
What is within your control?
A few weeks ago, I was coaching a friend about her life journey, as she finished her Licensed Unity Teacher training, and was taking up a role in her local church. Before we started our coaching session, she shared with me a precious moment of her Sunday morning service.
Sunday, sitting in the centre chair – as the speaker that day, and realising that she had fulfilled a life dream.
As a child, she had wanted to be a priest – obviously not an option for a little girl. That was abandoned, and she went on with life. Now, almost at retirement, she began studying for a new career – that of a licensed teacher. And because her pastor had a family emergency, she was asked to stand in for him.
The building their church is in was taken over by the City, about forty or more years ago, when it was abandoned by the Catholic church which could no longer run it as a school. Her church eventually acquired it. And so, here she sat, in the seat that once might have been occupied by the priest. About to give the Sunday sermon. She could never have foreseen the events that would lead up to this moment.
But, when the still small voice called her to study, she studied. And when her pastor asked her to stand in for him, she said “yes”.
Do you have faith that you are aligned with your Divine purpose?
Prayer is simply a conversation with God. It’s a moment in which to regain clarity and focus, remembering what is truly important. Do you use your time in prayer to align your purpose and priorities for the day?
The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays. (Soren Kierkegaard)
Prayer is that place where you find the strength, courage and wisdom to understand “Thy will be done” is the biggest blessing that can happen in your life. It’s connecting with something much more significant than just your ego self and daring to ask for the best for your life journey.
To pray is to require of your Lover – that you be blessed and be a complete blessing to others. That your cup overflows so much that everyone around you is touched by the grace. It is daring to ask the Divine to be the Divine in you – to request for God from God. Could you ask to be loved so thoroughly that you never doubt it for a moment?
Could you have the faith of a child? Can you believe you are loved and cared for by the Divine – in you, for you, and through you?
2 thoughts on “How to Pray: learning from a child’s faith”
God is a loving father that listens with a big smile, and yes he knows the right dose, although sometimes we would like it different.
At the same time I always say that my daughter came to my life to show me why this is worth living. As she believes in me, I should believe in the holy father.
What a beautiful post…in so many ways. The innocence of a child and their believes is such a beautiful thing. I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you.