Barriers to prayer . . . and a starter-kit anyone can use


A reader recently reached out to me, responding to my emails on prayer with this powerful statement:

“I have begged and pleaded but haven’t yet found that voice of it *really* being ok to request, or even to be sure if my requests are ‘reasonable’ in the eyes of That which has No Name, Boundlessness herself…and yes feminising for the moment is helpful to me in decapitating the monster patriarchal “God” of the capital G, male, linear, … maybe that God is Patriarchy itself elevated to substitute and obscure the realm of the goddess.”

Wow! Perhaps some of you can relate to her eloquent musings. I can, myself.

She articulates (and I will address) several important barriers keeping her from feeling open to prayer: 

1. Not being sure it’s okay to ask for help,
2. Resistance to the concept of a possibly hostile male “God,”
3. The idea of the Ultimate as a Nameless, Boundless consciousness, not a personal being one can communicate with.

Patriarchy vs Divine Feminine
For some the idea of a personified deity is too redolent of old patriarchal images,
including the suppression (by humans) of the Goddess tradition. Religion has been distorted to be used as a weapon and we see this everywhere to this day.  This has understandably turned many away from religion and has given the ‘G word’ a bad odor as a result.

For many women, especially, the divine that liberates us must be feminine in nature, and may be represented by a female form or by formlessness itself.

Non-Duality vs a Personal Relationship with a Divine Being
For some who have been trained in non-dual and impersonal approaches to spirituality, any idea of a  personal deity may feel suspect and not to be trusted.

Aspiring to a state of Oneness is an ideal in many traditions, although one that is hard to attain and not the be-all and end-all of what we on Earth, living in physical bodies, need to be concerned with.

In fact, the term ‘non-dual’ is commonly mis-used. My understanding is that it is meant to be an inclusive term, embracing the all and the many, the both-and reality we live in, not preferring oneness over duality but including both.

Who we are can go back and forth between oneness and twoness, and we do.

My reader also wrote:
“If I request help to feel That which Has No Name, to sense, to allow my senses to open again, to come to life, the language of ‘asking’ still seems to set me up for a shut-down.”

This is what I wrote back: 
“It is your birthright to ask for help of any kind from that which is your Source. I would encourage you to speak directly to the divine in whatever form feels most comfortable to you.”

Here is a simple prayer I suggested, that encompasses all of these objections: 

“Dear Divine Mother, you who are beyond all form, concepts, words, and categories, and yet who also have ears to hear, help me to know you and experience you so that I feel your realness and your closeness to me.”

You can use this prayer or any other version that works for you.

How to Construct a Simple Prayer
Including the all-purpose words “help me” allows you to layer on additional requests
such as “help my body become strong and healthy” or “help me attain inner peace” or “help me find the strength and courage to speak what I am afraid to speak, including asking for help.”

Is It Okay to Ask for Help?
My reader also shared that her early family experience was of  “not being heard, not being met, of being dismissed. Certainly not helped in ways that met my requests for help, my needs.”

A non-nurturing childhood is true for many of us and may underlie our reluctance to ask for help now.

Can we dare to believe there could truly be a loving and accepting Divine being, and that it’s okay to ask, let alone that our requests might be answered? You mean we won’t be blamed, spurned, or even punished?

Can these painful imprints from our past ever be healed so they no longer hurt and stop us?

I believe most things can be healed and we should ask for that. Some of it may require more than simple prayer requests, but we should start there, exactly where we are.

The Divine encourages us to ask for support, guidance, inspiration, healing, and protection. There is no reason not to do this.

If you feel blocked in your ability to even ask for help, pray to have those blocks removed, whatever they are. You can ask to feel safe and worthy to ask, worthy to be heard and worthy to be helped.

Feel free to ask for whatever you want (including for others), so long as it won’t  harm another.

Just be sure to start by naming the source of power you are addressing, in whatever way feels comfortable to you. This is a conversation and that’s how you open the connection. It’s like dialing the phone number of the one you wish to reach.

You can think of this as a starter-kit for how to assemble a simple prayer request to the highest source you feel resonant with, whether it’s Divine Beloved, Source, Creator, Infinite Mother, Oneness, Creator of All That Is, Great Spirit, God, Allah, or any other name you use. You can even address your Higher Self, if you prefer, for that soul extension that guides your journey is also able to respond to prayers.

In this way prayer can be fitted to suit your personal spiritual comfort zone, and your personal emotional needs, for the divine realm is vast and includes it all.

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