Offbeat Prayers for the Modern
By Anne Sermons Gillis
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Prayers for the Modern Mystic
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My first experience with prayer was when I was in the fifth grade. The class was studying fire prevention, and each student was given a fire prevention ring. Mine had Smokey the Bear on it. The ring was made of brass, and to me it was beautiful. I loved wearing it, even though it was a little large for my finger.
One day, during recess on the school playground, I lost my ring. It was a large playground, and it would have been easy for a small ring to be ground into the soil. I was crushed. The ring was nowhere to be found.
Still, I remained optimistic, and I prayed: "God, please help me find the ring." Not long afterwards, I did find it. I was sure God had answered my prayer.
As a teenager, I was very active in my church, attending Sunday school and church services every week. I loved it. One Sunday, my belief system was shattered by my Sunday School teacher, who challenged my concept of God. She said, “If your concept of God is still a man with a white beard sitting up in heaven, you had better start looking.”
A shooting pain went through my heart. The teacher had pegged me and my view of God. I felt silly and naive. Inside, I said to myself, “If God isn’t a man with a white beard, then I don’t have a God.”
That day, at seventeen years of age, I became an agnostic. Although I still attended the classes and services, I carried a deep wound of solitude. My God no longer watched over me. The man who had listened to years of, “Dear God, bless mommy and daddy...” was dead.
After graduating high school, I was admitted to a Presbyterian college, went to vespers, and attended church. I married in 1968. My husband and I moved from town to town so that he could climb the corporate ladder. I joined church after church, looking for a place that felt right, but I was fast reaching my emotional bottom.
My husband’s skyrocketing career in the mortgage business came to an abrupt halt when he was fired. We had a four-bedroom house in a countryclub subdivision, with a matching house note. To fulfill my husband’s dream of becoming a home builder, we moved to Memphis, bought a small house, and put our dream home on the market. It was 1973. The economy was undergoing a recession and real estate sales were at a standstill. We had a small baby, two house payments, and no income. A year later, our big house still had not sold. The financial burden was overwhelming.
Around that time, I began attending a Sunday school class for adults. My stringent spiritual regimen already included meditation, breath work, health food, yoga, and the study of Eastern religion. Despite some strange spiritual experiences, I had not yet developed a personal relationship with God. Who or what was the Divine, anyway? The question was still a mystery.
When the Sunday school teacher started the first class by announcing that the group would pray for anyone who had a request, I was really taken aback. As an adult, most of the praying I had done in church was impersonal. I recited the Lord’s Prayer or read responsive readings. No one ever offered to pray for me. I was filled with both awe and skepticism at the same time. Part of me found the idea exciting; the other part thought it was pure silliness.
I overcame my doubts and asked the class to pray for our house to sell. There hadn’t been a nibble on it for a year. Later that week, the real estate agent called about a prospective buyer. I was astounded. The offer was finalized, and my personal relationship with God began. An odd twist to the story: The house was located nearly a hundred miles from where I grew up - a great distance in the South - but it sold to one of my former high school classmates. That was evidence enough for me of God’s signature.
My next phenomenal experience with prayer occurred in the mid-’80’s. By then I had developed an awareness of the source of my being. My prayer style was more in terms of affirmations than requests.
I was going through relationship hell. The love of my life was leaving me, but at the same time, he wouldn’t let go. I was clinging to him and in the throes of relationship-withdrawal symptoms. It hurt so much that I called my mom for help.
This in itself indicates how desperate I was, because my mother had some severe mental problems. She had started losing her memory, and sometimes her reasoning was mixed-up. This day, however, her mind was clear. She recounted the story of her breakup and divorce with my father, that sounded exactly like my situation, down to the smallest details.
I asked her how she got out. Mom said that when she wanted to quit smoking, she had prayed to God to take away the desire. The very next day, all of her desire for cigarettes was gone, and she quit cold turkey. My mother believed the same power could release her from the attachment to my father, who wanted a divorce.
“I didn’t want him to go, but it was hopeless and I knew it,” she told me. “I was in great pain, so I prayed, ‘God, remove my need for this man. Please give me the strength to let him go.’” Within days, she found herself able to detach herself from my dad. Mom was ready for a divorce; her pain was gone.
I wondered: Does God really answer such simple prayers? In the abstract relationship that I had developed with the Divine, God the Father seemed like an invalid concept to me. But there was so much pain inside me. I began to contemplate the question, “Does God answer simple prayers?” I heard a word bubbling up in my mind - Ishmael.
There was a man named Ishmael in the novel Moby Dick, but that didn’t seem to fit, so I looked up the name in my Bible. Sure enough, the story of Ishmael was there. It was about a man who prayed to God, and his prayer was answered. When I checked a metaphysical dictionary, the definition of Ishmael was, “God hears and answers prayers.” I felt a power rise up within me.
The phone rang. It was the man I wanted to release. My mind was a blank, but God spoke through me. I heard my own voice, filled with conviction and power, tell him: “I am addicted to you. You are like a drug to me. Every time you call or we speak, I go to pieces. I need to get sober. I do not want to see you or talk to you for thirty days. I need you out of my life.” Once again, prayer had moved me beyond ordinary reality into a land of miracles.
Prayers come in so many forms. There are prayers of faith and praise. When speaking these, we accept and glorify the power that brings peace and joy to our lives. There are prayers of affirmation, where we speak statements that help to manifest our dreams and desires. There are also prayers of petition, which comprise most of the prayers in this book. In petition, we ask God to help us out of a jam, restore us emotionally, or take our burdens away.
I do not believe that God is a bearded man in heaven who helps us out of jams. Nor do I believe that God is a woman - although discovering a feminine face of God in the Goddess has brought me great joy. Still, there is a helpless part of me. That part needs to pray to a power greater than myself that can restore me not only to sanity, but to my original state of innocence, well-being, and abundance. I pray to God as if that source is very personal and as if it responds to me with much greater love and power than a loving parent would give to a child in need.
When I pray in that manner, when I get honest and humble, I always am released from the worry or anxiety and restored to sanity.
Some sentences or phrases are used in more than just one prayer. These words represent some of my favorite thoughts. I feel that good thoughts are worth repeating. A wise teacher once told me that if I kept hearing the same things over and over, it was a sign to pay attention.
When I read the Psalms, the inner stirring I received
was amazing. After that, I prayed for two things on a regular basis:
for wisdom and for the ability to write like the Psalmists. This book
is the result of my prayers. In some small way, I believe that I have
become wiser, with the ability to write prayers that can stir others. I
hope that in reading this book you can be released, uplifted, and (in
many cases) amused. God bless you.
Celebrations to Start the Day
Our mind set in the morning can determine the kind of day that we will have. Every morning I pray for those I love and for some I don’t love so much at the time. Next I set my intention for the day. “My intention for today is to live a joy-filled and abundant life.” Setting the intention is like rolling out the red carpet of desire. Intentions pave the way for the day. It’s a powerful custom. Brain wave activity slows at night. When we wake up, our minds are still operating from a lowered frequency. We go through an almost hypnotic state as we emerge from sleep. The mind is very vulnerable before and after sleep. Whatever we see, hear, and even think, goes directly to the mind without protection. Our minds need protection.
If you want to develop a state of consciousness that supports peace of mind, you will not want to listen to radio or TV during these times. Reading the newspaper before prayers or meditation is also a detriment to a firm state of mind.
The morning time is the ideal time for spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, exercise, inspirational reading, dream work, and journaling. These prayers are suitable for early morning prayer and contemplation.
God's Good Day
I thrill to the possibilities of life today. I plan on unexpected and unlimited good. I am prepared to meet my good. I am filled with enthusiasm, and I have an enthusiastic outlook on life. The outer world is a reflection of my inner world, so I keep thoughts of peace, health, abundance, and gratitude in my mind.
Since my thoughts are creative, I keep pictures of success in my mind. Even though I walk through the valley of the most embarrassing thoughts, I will fear no evil, because my intention is to live in love - and I can count on grace to deliver me from retribution. I believe that unconditional good showers my life and I am prepared to live in my good. AMEN.
Perfect Day Prayer
Today is my perfect day because I choose to create it as perfect. I choose peace by allowing Your will to be in my life today. Dance through me, God. Breathe through me.
Today you are my speaking and my listening. I know that you go before me, blessing each moment and smoothing my path. I take delight in participating in your Divine Plan. I am surrounded by inner feelings of fulfillment, abundance, and freedom.
Today is a turning point. Miracles meet me wherever I go. I accept your indwelling presence. My mind opens to your wisdom. I feel safe and innocent. I give myself permission to relax, take breaks, and to have fun.
Your voice calls out to me when I forget, and I fall gently into your loving arms, finding a peace so deep and still that I am no longer disturbed by the world.
Your inner Presence provides an energy blessing wherever I go. My friends and family are profoundly touched by your love as it flows through me. Today is my perfect day because I choose to create it as perfect. AMEN.
Have You Made Your Leap Today? Celebrate Leap Day
Today is an adventure, God; I had forgotten. I have looked upon today as if it was going to be just like all the other days I have created. No more. I will not chain this day to my past beliefs. I set it free. I free this day to be unknown. I free this day to be a LEAP DAY, a day I leap from the past into the present. I am willing to let go of my humdrum thoughts and to release my mind to hum.
I am willing to concentrate more on my “can do” list than on my “to do” list. I am willing to concentrate more on my “want to do” list than on my “should do” list. I am willing to be downright peaceful in the face of my recycled drama. I am willing to hold back more with my criticisms and to more freely share my compliments.
To make it short and simple, God, I am willing and ready to change my thoughts, attitudes, and belief systems... today, tomorrow, and every day. I am willing to take that leap of faith every day and to be open and expecting of my good. I am willing to take that leap of faith every day by expecting life to be free, fun, and easy. Today I leap into your love. I won’t look back. Now is enough; Leap Day is here. AMEN.
Prayer for Today
God, I seek your wisdom. Give me sanity, so that before I do and say things I regret, I might stop to think and make a meaningful decision to keep my mouth shut and do nothing. Give me the wisdom to not jump to conclusions, and get upset over meaningless mental mania... especially when it’s the same old stuff.
Help me not to freak out over things that my mind has imagined. And God, when there are emotions that need my attention, help me to feel the feelings necessary for relief. Keep me out of emotional denial. Teach me to grieve and to feel anger, fear, and sadness. Keep me from blaming others or treating them unmercifully when I am upset. Help me to allow others to feel their pain without me showing them the “bright side” or spouting some metaphysical sweetism that really means “Shut up and don’t feel that; I can’t handle your feelings.”
Give me the wisdom to know the difference between someone who genuinely needs my compassion and someone who is milking the same drama for the umpteenth time. It takes a lot of listening to know when to speak to or when to listen to others.
Give me the patience to stay tuned into your will in all situations. God, there are so many bugga-buggas in our culture. It’s not OK to feel certain feelings or to talk openly about sex, money, mental illness, AIDS, or alternate lifestyles. Give me the wisdom to know when to break the rules of denial by speaking out for sanity and openness. And beyond all, Lord, teach me to feel the intoxication of your love. AMEN.
Prayer of Splendor
I praise this day and make it holy. I give thanks for another day during which I depend on God. This day, God will light my soul with passion and pluck my heartstrings until Divine music floods my everything. Today God bestows my encounters with wisdom.
God’s smile flashes before my everything, inviting me to a path that is gentle and loving. I am swept through this day with support and affection. This morn I focus on the light within that moves my body, feeds my mind, and provides for my every need. I receive the abundance God offers me and rejoice in all of its manifestations. I accept God’s love in my life by receiving God’s inheritance.
God’s light is speeding to all areas of disease and discomfort in my body. Thoughts of health flood my body and make it whole and holy. I take comfort and rest in the house of the Lord. I praise this day and make it holy. AMEN.
Anne Sermons Gillis | 52 W. Tallowberry Dr. | The Woodlands, TX 77381
Phone Number: 281-419-1775
Email: email@example.com Website: www.annegillis.com