The Calculated Risks of Prayer (Part 1 of 4)

Virtually all people, all cultures throughout the planet have some form of prayer. Perhaps you are, like me, a religious scientist who uses a form of prayer called “spiritual mind treatment”. Have you ever given any thought to the risk of having your prayers or treatments answered? You might ask how there could be any risk at all? Before I speak to that, let’s look at prayer and treatment.

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There are several kinds of prayer, but most are offered up with the hope of comfort or assurance. Spiritual mind treatment usually involves five steps that are adapted to the reason for the treatment. The more traditional kind of prayer that most Christians use includes the three elements of confession, petition and thanksgiving.

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When we talk about confession, many people think of admitting sins to a priest or coming clean to a law enforcement officer. Confession can also simply acknowledging where we are. Being brutally honest with ourselves about where we are at any given time is the first step to changing our experience. Anyone involved in a 12-step program of any kind will tell you admitting where we are is a key element in recovery.

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To petition usually means to us that we are asking someone for something. Another meaning is “to seek”. In treatment we do not beg God to answer our prayers, but rather seek to understand our circumstances and align our thinking in a more positive way. We are not petitioning Spirit to give us something, but rather seeking the truth and wisdom within us. Treatment positively states what we desire to be and affirms that we are willing to accept it.

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Finally, thanksgiving or rejoicing is the way most people end a treatment and traditional Christianity gives thanks to Jesus Christ. The Hebrew scriptures of the Bible are filled with stories about how the Israelites rejoiced with song, dancing and celebration when the nation believed the God Jehovah had blessed them. It’s just my personal opinion and judgment, but it seems like so many wonderful people who call themselves Christians often fail to rejoice in the blessings God pours out upon them for fear that they are not living up to the appearance of being modest and humble. I think that’s sad….but, I digress….

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So here is Risk #1: We can beat ourselves up if we think our prayer is not answered or that treatment “didn’t work”. If this happens we run the risk of falling into guilt or shame of a toxic nature. The prayer or the treatment did not cause these emotions, but they can easily be blamed for them.

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Spiritual mind treatment differs from traditional prayer because of the power of treatment. It is also dissimilar in the amount of personal responsibility we take for the outcome. A caution in being a religious scientist or any metaphysician is that because we do take responsibility for our lives we can easily blame ourselves when things do not go the way we expect them to turn out. This is the difference between believing in a God that punishes or rewards based on our behalf compared to the belief that we live in a “user-friendly universe” that only says “yes” to our desires. If we believe the latter, we might think that we “didn’t treat right” or it was our entire fault we did not get what we wanted, i.e., if God only says “yes” and something did not work out, then we must have blocked the goodness of the Universe.

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So what do you think of Part #1 in the Calculated Risks of Prayer? Let me know! Email me at: panewthoughtcenter@gmail.com, or make comments here in the blog. Until next week with the next risk: Seeing Ourselves as We Really Are.

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Happy Easter, Blessed Ostara and Good Passover – The Season of Resurrection and Rebirth!

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Dr. Terry

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