Dear Pogue,There’s a verse in your Bible that has Jesus telling his followers, about prayer, “Whatever you ask in my name, believing, will be fulfilled”. That’s the Wic paraphrase version in case you are wondering but it gives the gist. You’ve read it? Thoughts?
So, is this some sort of magic solution to all my deepest wishes? Have I just found the mother lode? You see I really want a new…Porsche…in Jesus’ name. In Jesus’ name please give me…and you can fill the space. Is this the qualifier for the Law of Attraction par excellence? Guys, have I just cracked the code?
You see, as you are aware, I’m not without some experience when it comes to prayer. In my time I’ve sat in prayer meetings and heard numerous prayers offer up that subscribe to this formula. The best will be a sincere request, coming from seeking hearts, finished with a quiet “In Jesus name”. Then there’s the shopping list, the “We ask for this, and we definitely need that and we…” which builds and builds to a crescendo and a loud declaration of “In Jesus’ name”. The sure seal of affirmation that all will be as requested. The thing is, I’ve returned to these meetings a week or two later and, the list is still being run through! All this, despite the magic affirmation.
Then there are occasions when the prayer just dribbles off the participants lips because the original conviction has worn thin and the shopping list is now presented with a little desperation.
This isn’t limited to any one religion. I think I’ve been around the block more than once down the years and seen what prayer can look like in varying scenarios. I suppose I should add fanaticism to the list. The working up of emotions into a frenzy. But even that seems to fall flat. You can probably think of other payer types and maybe we should compare notes sometime. But for now lets agree that for most people the whole act of prayer is a mystery often perform because “I ought to do it because God expects me to. The Minister (or whoever) said so”.
SPOILER ALERT. God doesn’t expect you to. Religion expects you to. It’s part of the training.
AND. When is someone going to stick up a hand and admit “This isn’t working”.
Like in the fable of the King’s New Clothes.
Remember that one? No. Did I neglect your upbringing so badly? Don’t answer that.
So the King, a vain and stupid man, is sold a suit of magical clothes by a pair of devious tailors. The thing is, they tell the King that only the wise can see the finery of the clothes and the dull and ignorant, well they can’t see them. The King in his vanity admires and gushes about the fine suit, which he actually can’t see because there is no suit, but to admit he can’t see it would be to admit ignorance, so he’s never doing that. He pays them the price and they leave. Then comes the day when he parades in his new suit and the crowds see the king in his underwear but no one will say because it would be tantamount to an admission of stupidity. Finally a child who doesn’t know about the magic of the suit says out loud, “The King has no clothes on” and the spell is broken. The crowd takes up the declaration.
So, let’s break the spell and I’ll go first. Guy’s this isn’t working and my evidence, well the world would look a whole lot different if it was.
You need more convincing? Try this. Ask a religious person about an occasion they prayed and it happened. Now I would be surprised if they can’t immediately call to mind the occasion. Maybe two or three. Now ask about the occasions their prayers weren’t answered and, silence, excuses, a rationale. But God answered their prayers once, even twice. It’s like following a sports team and saying, “We won in November 2019. I clearly remember”. If you are a praying person and that’s what your prayer life looks like well, “the King has no clothes on”. Please own it.
I know you’ve been told that sometime God says “No” and that’s an answer. Actually it’s a coverall! What I think God says is “Oh no” as God, the Universe, despairs over something so unaligned with Divine intention, or the frequency of all things.
Return with me to the beginning of our letter. Take another look. It says “anything” and that just doesn’t tally with what I’ve been describing. For those that use a different language this principle can equally be applied to the Law of Attraction, the rule that the Universe will fulfill your desires. Again, I know that there are those who read the material on this, and there is plenty out there, yet remain unfulfilled, so I’m thinking the same principle made to look different by the language used.
So what is going on?
Let’s look at what is being said. The condition of fulfillment is to “ask in my name”, that is Jesus’ name, “believing”. Interestingly the Law of Attraction says whatever you can hold in your mind consistently, without doubt, you receive or become. The Law of Attraction adherents would say you generate a vibration that resonates with that which you wish for. Whatever, the consistent principle is belief and that takes work, for most of us. And that belief stems from relationship, relationship built, tested and proven, be it with God, the Universe, the Great Spirit, you choose the term you are most comfortable to use for the infinite entity.
For you, Pogue, that is Jesus.
Relationships are built in terms of time and experience. There exists a membrane of trust that strengthens and as it does we move from unknowing to knowledge, to belief as we grow in strength and conviction until we reach a point where we know that what we ask for and focus on will come to be. No room for doubt. Again, the Law of Attraction talks of a stage where we live as if we have that which we seek and I guess that our original quote was saying the same. Having made the request the experience of our relationship assures us it will be. The knowledge that no good thing is withheld if we would but realise.
Now there are a raft of things that are not going to come to be no matter how persistent we are in asking. Why? Well there is the qualifier, “in my name”, and that isn’t about attaching Jesus’ name to the request much like you place a stamp on a letter. Think of an ambassador who represents a country and is an expression of the will and values of that country when abroad. Or a policeman, who, having put on a uniform can stand in front of an oncoming car and by raising a hand bring that car to a stand still. Does he have the strength to stop a moving car. No. It is the authority, represented by the uniform, that bring the car to stop.
Our ambassador, our policeman, act as agents of a greater power. Should they act outside of their authority their ability to bring to bear the necessary power will begin to falter.
Likewise with “anything in my name” behavior. The character of God is made clear in literature and experience, so much so that certain requests are patently not in keeping with character and as such will fail. We’re back to relationship and understanding what is in keeping with the entity being addressed. Our authority is an extension of that character as revealed in our relationship with the same. Here the crux, as I see it, of meaningful prayer or attracting the thing desired. It needs to be done in keeping with the character, the essence of the Divine. It needs to be done within the knowledge of the love and desire that is extended towards each of us. There needs to be a basis for making the request and that basis is built over time spent with God or the Universe. Much like people form bonds and, in a deep relationship, seek the others highest good and well being as they come to more and more understand and appreciation of each other. You understand those around you, what delights them, what annoys them, because you’ve been with them and observed them. Exchanged views, humor, fears, wishes. You feel far more strongly towards them than you ever did the day you met them. If you buy them a gift you have a good idea what will bring delight. And it all took time and effort. It took a willingness to let them into your space and to set aside time to inhabit there’s.
You want to live in that place where your prayers just get answered? Well, here’s the key. It’s not magic, but then again, a good relationship can be magic in this world. It’s putting in the hours and making the effort. You want to resonate with the Universe? It doesn’t just happen one day, you have to learn what causes you not to resonate, what hampers relationship, and sacrifice those things. You need to spend time in silence, meditating, exposing yourself to things that raise your personal level. “What so ever things are pure…” we wrote about recently. That verse is there in the Bible for a reason, to clear the way for the relationship that we require.
I think there is a prayer meeting where request are made once and an assurance rests on the participants. Where more time is spent in silence than in speaking and the world is being changed.
I’ve said before, I say once again, if your prayers aren’t being answered the issue isn’t at God’s end
Yours, off for a bit of silence,