What is Prayer?

We can define prayer as an endeavor to behold what is real. It is an endeavor to connect with reality. What does this have to do with psychotherapy and healing? If we have reverence for truth and we appreciate spiritual values, then our life becomes a prayer. Life is then lived in the consciousness of what is true, beautiful, and good.

If we are just reciting words and using affirmations we are on the level of magical thinking – that someone “up there” will hear us and reward us for saying words. This is the religious approach. The other way is the seeker’s meditation that is sincerely seeking to attain an understanding of our self as a non-personal spiritual divine consciousness. Then we can reach a point where we are aware that all our thoughts come from the Divine Mind and not from our head.

Did you ever consider how it is possible that so many people all over the world pray in the context of various religious systems with so little to show for it?

The fact is that we do not really know how to pray. But we can aspire to it and endeavor to grow in understanding. We can become so vitally interested in the nature of reality that eventually we can improve our ability to pray. It is just a matter of evolving spiritually. We can reach a point, for at least short periods of time, when we can be beyond words and thoughts, in a state of complete openness. The Zen master puts it this way: “God speaks to us in the space between two thoughts.”

The world is constantly intruding on our consciousness and endeavoring to create disturbances there. As the Zen Master says, “The wind creates ripples on the lake and distorts the image of the moon.” This is unenlightened consciousness that doesn’t know how to pray. Enlightened consciousness remains peaceful and calm like a lake on a windless night and reflects the moon perfectly. The right prayer is to remain peaceful and undisturbed in the midst of panic, confusion, and fear . . . or even a “football game” . . .

Student: So when a hurricane draws our attention, we seek to know that there is no danger, no threat.

Dr. Hora: Right. We are not allowing hypnotism to create ripples on the peaceful lake of our consciousness.

Student: And that would exercise a beneficial influence all around?

Dr. Hora: We are not concerned with exercising a beneficial influence because that would mean that we are trying to influence someone or something. The lake isn’t trying to straighten out the moon. We are not thinking about exerting an influence on anybody or anything. A beneficial presence is a place where God is working in His own way. We cannot direct God in the direction that we choose. God is not here for us. We are here for God. We are exploring the deepest form, the most powerful form, the most valid form of prayer, which in Metapsychiatry we call “The Prayer of Glowing.” The reflected moon glows from the lake.

Student: I was riding in the car recently, and I was quite worried about something and had been praying to find peace. I would take some idea from the Eleven Principles or the Four Ws and try to relate it to the situation, and that was very helpful. The fear and worry passed, and I did become peaceful. But I became aware that I was initiating all of this; I was talking to myself silently; I was doing it. Really, it was not glowing. It was just something I was making happen. It seemed eventually that it wasn’t really good enough, because I had not stopped to listen for anything—I was listening to me. So I thought, “Just be quiet and still, and let’s see if God has anything to say.” And it was just wonderful! I be­came aware of PAGL [PAGL is an acronym for Peace, Assurance, Gratitude, Love, and Its Presence in consciousness informs us that we are in tune with the One Mind]. Not talking about it and not thinking about it, it was marvelous. It was very still and very quiet, and suddenly I just knew everything was fine. There were no doubts; it was like getting a glimpse of Reality—where we know that everything is always at the standpoint of perfection. I knew I didn’t have to continue.

Dr. Hora: You moved from prayer into meditation.

Student: And it is wonderful because now I know what that glimpse is.

-compiled from the writings of Dr. Hora