Our part in helping prayers work

It’s nearly impossible to stand with a large group of women, and some men and children, who care deeply about how mankind is treated and not be deeply touched.

The friends and family that I spoke with on Kauai, New York, Vermont, Washington, D.C., Honolulu, Rhode Island, and Colorado all felt touched by their experiences of standing for kindness, respect, loving and equity for all.

On Kauai, there were so many of us that we were on both sides of the road, and then there were the hundreds or thousands that drove by and waved, honked, or took photos. They also joined us. I heard that there were between 1,500 and 2,000. That’s roughly 3 percent of the total population of Kauai.

Women would say, “I hope this makes a difference (in our new administration’s policies),” or “This has got to make a difference!” and “Do you think this will really make a difference?”

I believe it did. At the least women and girls could see that there was a strong body of women whom they could rely on the speak up for fairness and respect for their rights and treatment.

And at the most, I believe that there was a collective prayer to our One Creator through different faith pathways that will result in a change in how people are treated in this beautiful blue planet.

As a young woman in my 20s, I became hungry for spiritual experience. As a child, I had built a firm Christian foundation, but I had a universal understanding of it. If God is our Creator then He is the Creator of all. He loves us all. I became mentally curious and learned about different faiths. I was blessed to find a church called the “Fellowship of the Inner Light” (FIL). They believed that there was one God, but many pathways. Most of our scripture was Christian, but others were used to make points as well.

Prayer was an important part of FIL. Our founder was a Baptist minister who had had a profound spiritual experience, and he attempted to teach us what he’d experienced. Think about that now, isn’t that how most religions are founded? But that’s another story … prayer was our speaking to God, and meditation was our listening and receiving time.

Forty years later, I am still humbled and in awe of the fact that The Source of the Universe receives our requests and responds to each of us, immediately if we have the eyes to see, and the ears to hear. We have the love of God. How can we not succeed? Because we don’t receive it. We block it with our own doubts, judgments, and limits, and lack of understanding. No blame.

The men and women who brought God’s teachings to the world prepared themselves, purified themselves and reached out from the holy part within themselves to The Creator. In the FIL, we were taught the Law of Zen Archery: “Direction of aim, plus steady release guides a projectile to a selected destination.”

When a prayer is created in the heart and mind of the prayer, it must be held firmly toward the heart of God. A tiny slip of the finger on the arrow, a little doubt that creeps in, can cause just a small change in the trajectory, but can be enough to not reach the target.

Now God is loving spirit, formless, and knows our hearts, but if there is doubt, or anger, or confusion, the universe, which would manifest the form for the prayer to be received, is stalled.

The Hindu religion may be the oldest religion and is the root of others. From Hinduwebsite.com I found an article, “The Bhagavadgita on How God Answers Your Prayers,” by Jayaram V. The scripture is Chapter 4-Sloka 11, “In whatever (manner) they approach Me, in the same manner I reward them. O Partha, human beings follow My path in every way.”

The commentary on it states, “This verse gives the assurance that you can approach God in any way you want and you will be rewarded suitably. God is like a mirror. He is unconditional love, who reflects your thoughts, desires and attitudes exactly as you want. He will not decide what to give you, what you should want or what you should choose for yourself. That responsibility rests with you. It is up to you whether you approach him for material rewards, for spiritual liberation, or for removal of obstacles and difficulties. Whatever wants you express to Him, He will manifest that for you.”

There was also a statement about how what we ask for will result in consequences relating to what we ask. We are responsible for our lives.

It’s our responsibility to receive what we ask for. So just as we prepare ourselves for our prayers, we also must prepare ourselves to receive what we pray for. We have built in receptors. Anyone can do it. We have a spiritual core. Without it, bodies die. But it can appear to be sleeping in our lives. That’s because we don’t offer it food and exercise.

Physically, we eat and exercise. Mentally we read, observe, and feed our minds, share ideas and create projects. How do we feed and exercise ourselves spiritually? Prayer, meditation, loving God and others as ourselves, and forgiving others and ourselves.

Feeling guilty is a huge block to receiving God’s response to our prayers. We need to remember that God forgives. Yom Kippur is a Jewish holiday that offered a ritual of two goats. One of the goats was offered as a sacrifice to God. Over the other, the High Priest confessed the sins of the nation on it, and it was taken out into the desert, cleaning Jerusalem of the sins of the people. Hence the derivation of the term “scapegoat.”

And in James 5:14-16 we read, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

So just ask to be forgiven, but also forgive others. If we don’t forgive them, then we’ve judged someone. We’re angry about something. It’s another obstacle that could block our good from coming to us.

Or maybe if many find that they are without medical insurance, a whole new movement of healers will rise from the masses, out of the contrast.

My prayer is that we will rise up to the ideals of humanity our forefathers believed in when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and that we live the Golden Rule.

I fully believe that this is our destiny as a nation, and as individuals in that nation. Many others share that. If we hold these values, the laws will follow. Care to join us?

•••

Questions?

Hale `Opio Kaua’i convened a support group of adults in our Kaua’i community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Please email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at aatkinson@haleopio.org For more information about Hale ‘Opio Kaua’i, please go to www.haleopio.org

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