Prayer, Words and Power

This was inspired while talking to [Uncle Sam] about his Jabez experience.

Edit: Sorry I forgot the cut!

It was just a simple prayer from the Bible (1 Corinthians, chapter 4 if I’m not wrong), asking God to expand his (Sam’s) territory to do God’s work. Several hours later, he got a call requesting Sam to counsel him. Sam took it as a sign that the prayer worked.

Being the skeptic that I am (and not really helped by the NLP workshop I attended a few months back) thoughts about the power of words used in prayer and meditation immediately came to mind.

During the NLP workshop, we were encouraged to set aside a few minutes a day for meditation, to clear our minds and prepare ourselves for the day to come and the day’s end. The meditation’s exercises were simple, and involved stating your goals, your desires, and then “releasing” those desires to the Universe. Then you would be asked to empty your mind, to silence it and clear it for the day.

Sound familiar?

Christians and devout religious followers would recognise this. Morning prayers and devotionals to God/Gods help focus and prepare for the day, and formulaic type prayers are often a great focusing tool. They help you frame desires, wants and needs so that you know exactly what you’re getting into, even if you never really paid attention to the words.

Yet, I can’t help but feel that this has a negative effect at times.

In ancient days, Gods/Divine Beings were available only to society via an intermediary who knew how best to cajole, placate and demand said beings. This meant that power was in their hands and that only they knew the “formula” to get the most out of the Gods. In this day and age, I can’t help feel that the use of formulaic prayers, while useful in stating desires and wants, are reminiscent of that. It makes me feel like to get the answers/demands/fulfilment you desire, you will have to say certain “magical” words to get them.

I’ll admit that Uncle Sam’s comment above struck a chord with me. He seemed to imply (this is only from my POV, and has nothing whatsoever to do with him except that it inspired this post) that to unlock God’s power, you need the right words. It spreads the idea that God is not accessible to just everyone; it’s he’s accessible only to those who know the right words to unlock him, regardless of religion.

Then I couldn’t help but wonder, is it really that, or is it more of the human desire being reined in? Humans think in words, in concepts, in visuals. I’m sure some of my readers here are familiar with the saying that the media doesn’t tell the people what to think, but rather what to think about. There’s a huge difference between the two. One dictates that our thought process are controlled by the media, the other simply sets our thought processes off in the direction desired by the media/people who set the agenda.

Perhaps it’s not so much that we need the right words to unlock God’s power, but more that we require the exact words/image to express our desires and the outcome we want. NLP taught me that besides just hard work for success, we should envision what it allows us to do, what WE want to do, what we are aiming for. And this must be a tangible thing (for the younger ones and less spiritually inclined ones like me, at least), something we can see, do and touch.

The power of prayer is nothing compared to the power of words in the human minds, for it is ultimately that which breathes life into our actions, desires and motivations.

What do you think?

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