How To Pray To God -
Faith and Doubt
...Continued from Page 1 of How To Pray To God, including A Prayer For Faith
It is amazing how someone who has not believed in prayer all their life expects the first prayer to be answered. We can seem to toggle between no belief in the power of God to belief that God can and will intervene at the first request.
This can happen.
If you really believe it will happen, it will happen.
But for most of us faith and doubt live side by side. In both fear and faith, we are willing to believe.
I think of faith as a muscle. Like any other muscle, this faith muscle is simply a part of who we are:
“God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
(Romans 12:3 , KJV, quotes about faith)
On some deep level, we know how to pray to God. We know how to open our minds to this beingness of which we are a part.
However, if we don't exercise our faith, our faith muscle has atrophied (wasted away).
Do we go down the gym, do an exercise, look down and expect to see a visible change in muscle tone?
Do we give up and say: "This isn't working."
Instead, we acknowledge that something must be happening because we are taking the necessary steps.
We have faith that the exercise must be doing something, and we commit to doing it, until we see results.
In fact, the more confident we are in the process, the less likely we are to focus on results.
Many of us fall so in love with the process of exercising our body that it is rewarding in itself. We just notice and enjoy the results when they come.
We need to develop the same faith that when we pray, we consciously exercise our thoughts and words, and we thereby influence our world.
We fall in love with the process of communicating with God and we just enjoy the results when they come.
You may say:
"When I pray, it feels like I am talking to myself.
Let us consider this possibility.
Of course it would not be the same, but would it be harmful or beneficial to talk to yourself in this way?
We are infact talking to ourselves most of the time and much of it is unconscious programming, and not necessarily helpful.
When you pray, however, you are making a conscious choice.
- You are choosing the thoughts with which you fill your mind
- You are clarifying what you want
- You are stating what you want
- You are willing to believe change is possible in yourself or in your world
- You are focusing on the solution
Suppose for a moment there is no God. Aren't these still wonderful steps towards resolving a problem?
Interestingly, these qualities are the same as those now adopted in the modern, non-spiritual practice of
NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming).
Suppose prayer is a way of sending a message to your subconscious mind to come up with answers and alternatives to your problem, isn't it still a positive thing to do?
By the way, there is God, and when you pray you are doing much much more than this. :-)
Go here for a poem on talking to God, which explores faith and doubt by addressing the question: what if talking to God is talking to myself?
Go here for
tips on positive self talk.
If there is an all-loving, all-powerful God, such a God will not punish us for having doubts by keeping something back.
However our doubts about prayer do imply or state a belief in something other than a God who loves unconditionally and provides all we need.
We learn how to pray to God not to change God, but to open our minds to something other than our past and present experiences. We open our minds to an experience of the love and abundance of God.
Does prayer work better the greater our faith? Yes.
And we can build our faith muscle through prayer.
For some of the years when
I was living with chronic illness,
one of my carers was a devout Christian. She could be quite irritating in her insistence that some of my own Christian beliefs were categorically wrong! But I certainly regarded her as a person of faith; I saw that light in her eyes as she talked of Jesus, of God and of her spiritual experiences; we used to pray together.
One day I asked her: "Do you ever think that prayer might not work?"
She looked me straight in the eyes and said:
"Katherine, sometimes I don't think my prayers go any higher than the ceiling."
I loved her honesty about feeling doubt about prayer.
So just to say, when you are asking yourself how to pray to God, know that it is normal that faith and doubt go together. Like the parable about the tares of wheat, our doubt lives with us until it is gone.
Allow yourself to doubt.
Allow yourself to think prayer may not have the power to change your life.
Set your doubts to one side and pray anyway.
In this article on faith, and the page before on
how to pray to God for faith to believe in God,
we have seen how we can learn how to pray to God in the way we can learn anything else.
No matter how much faith and doubt we have, to pray powerfully in a way that transforms us... we need a level of commitment to regular prayer or spiritual practice
we need patience as we build our faith muscle.
- we need willingness to communicate with God
This site gives ideas for different forms of prayer you can use, but everyone learns how to pray to God in their own unique way.
If you have little or no belief in God, and want to experiment with the idea that God exists,
is another good place to start.
The next article continues on the theme of how to pray to God and what to do when it seems too difficult.
Move from How Pray To God to the next page - What To Do When Too Sick Or Too Stuck To Pray?
Return to the Contents List for What Is Prayer?