This question popped up in my Twitter feed recently. At first I thought “wow, what an awesome question, very cleverly crafted” (being a coach, I love cleverly crafted questions!). Immediately thereafter I was struck by this sudden realisation; our prayers always come true and sometimes that’s the very problem!
Allow me to explain…
Typically a prayer is a petition to a higher being(s) for assistance or blessings to be bestowed upon the petitioner. There are many ways to pray; through formal prayers in a book, by meditating or by performing a physical act such as a yoga pose. All of these forms of prayer however require the same thing, the holding of a particular thought at the centre of the prayer.
Thoughts have power.
We know, thanks to studies in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and coaching, that by changing our thoughts we can change our levels of energy, healthfulness and motivation. We can reduce anxiety and lift depression simply by having different thoughts. Thoughts direct our attention and, in neuroscience, terms when our attention is focussed on one thing, it cannot be focussed on another.
We simply cannot hold two opposing thoughts at one time.
What this means is that we only see the results of one of the thoughts manifest in the world, even in the presence of evidence of a different result out there. (You can read more on the principle of ‘priming’ in David Rock’s work “Coaching with the Brain in Mind”)
How does this relate to prayer?
When we pray, especially when we are praying a plea for release from the tough situation, the predominant thought in our minds is the tough situation, not the ideal alternative. We are so overwhelmed by the current circumstances that we hold that circumstance in our mind’s eye while we pray.
Without realising it, when we pray in this way, we reinforce the exact circumstances that we want to be removed. For example, I may pray to be released from financial worries. By repeating that prayer over and over, my mind remains focused on the financial troubles and my brain becomes primed to see more of the same in my world.
While it sounds counter-intuitive (and it is not always easy to do), a more powerful prayer, in the midst of financial troubles, would be a prayer of gratitude for abundance. This forces our minds to focus on abundance and shifts our energy into a more motivated and empowered place. Since we have primed our brains for abundance, the likelihood of more abundance coming our way is dramatically increased.
Thus, our prayers ALWAYS come true, and that is the problem; when we are unconscious of the true content of our prayers, we are surprised by the results we see in our lives. We believe that our prayers have gone unheard when in fact, they have been answered, verbatim.
What if all of your prayers do actually come true?