For centuries people have engaged in the activity of "prayer", the action of speaking to an unseen force, often in the hope of some tangible benefit from doing so, but also to simply "give thanks".
It is a shame therefore that almost no one truly understands what prayer and therefore praying really is, and in particular how to approach prayer.
Most prayer is performed mechanically, for example by repeating words uttered by the leader of a church congregation.
Now there is nothing at all wrong with this per se, but the only benefit it will yield, at best, is the feel good factor.
True Prayer, as originally taught by the person known as Jesus, is extremely powerful.
This is what the Master Himself said of true Prayer:
"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him". -- Matthew 5:5-8
These are profound words indeed which we should discuss further.
The first part of this teaching speaks for itself:
"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men"
A Synagogue is of course the equivalent of a church in the Jewish culture, but the same applies to all "places of worship". It is hypocritical to stand in a church and pray for the sake of it or in the hope of gaining some favours from a benevolent God.
The words of Jesus, not myself, although I do of course agree.
The same applies to praying in this manner anywhere. Jesus used the example of "the corners of the street", but it could apply to any situation or location whatsoever.
The next part of this teaching is probably the most misunderstood:
"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door pray to thy Father which is in secret"
Most take this to mean that you should go in to a room, e.g. a bedroom, close the door and then utter the words to God.
What this teaching really means is this:
"Closet" means our inner silence, and "shut the door" means to shut out all awareness of the physical surroundings. This in fact is very similar to a state of meditation. Indeed a state of meditation is an excellent place from which to engage in true prayer.
Before anything worthwhile can be achieved, we must retreat from our normal state of consciousness that we use to interact with the physical world, and enter into a much deeper state of consciousness to be One with Source Energy, or at least closer this state.
This is absolutely crucial. In order to manifest our desires, whatever they may be, we must do so by realising and expressing Source Energy, Universal Mind, God.
Jesus taught this truth when he said:
"Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
-- John 14:10-12.
Here Jesus is stating the truth that it is not him that produces effects in the outer world, it is "the Father within us", the same Divine Father that we all share and express, that delivers our wishes, needs and desires.
This is why we must enter into a altered state of consciousness, within, and to "shut the door" on all outside distractions, before we can establish that inner connection with Source Energy, God, Our Father.
So having accomplished this how should we then pray?
True prayer should not be recited mechanically other words it is almost completely meaningless, not to mention completely ineffective.
The power of true prayer is in fact in the connection with our Father, God, the feelings invoked during the prayer, and in particular the Faith in knowing that whatever we pray for we already have.
We have discussed true Faith before. By Faith we do not mean "blind faith" in some sort of benevolent deity God "up there" in Heaven, we rather mean true Faith that whatever we ask for God, Divine Providence has already delivered beyond any question of a doubt.
This is what Jesus taught about the process of prayer:
"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." -- Mark 11:24
This then shows the way to the power of true prayer.
These are the fundamental steps:
1. Find somewhere quiet where you will not be distracted.
2. Relax, empty your Mind and enter into a meditative state within.
3. Feel and know that you are an expression of our "Father", God.
4. Pray, using words that invoke a feeling of Belief that you already have whatever you are praying for with absolute Faith in our Father and the truth that you have already received.
5. And this is very important - feel the gratitude for this truth, and give thanks for it.
Note: 5. Does not mean that God actually requires people to be grateful to God in a human sense, but rather that the gratitude reinforces the truth that you already have what you asked for through the power as an expression of God.
Jesus always gave thanks:
"And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me". -- John 11:41
Thus reinforcing that absolute, unshakable Belief, with absolute Faith, that Source, Divine Providence, God, of Whom we are all immortal aspects and channels of expression has delivered our request. All we must do then is to receive by remaining in vibrational harmony with the object of our desires.