If we are ever to achieve peace and harmony in our lives and the lives of others we must begin by working from the outside in. Prayer and meditation can influence our state of mind, which then have an effect on our state of body. It can help with anxiety, sadness, blood pressure, sleep, digestion and breathing. It also can influence thinking and change the brain activity and ultimately the subjective and objective experiences of us in the world. People who engage in prayer or meditation on a regular basis have a change in the frontal lobes, the area that controls concentration and focus. When one is in a state of deep prayer, the parietal lobe's power goes down, which can contribute to a sense of transcendence.
There are different types of Prayer. The major religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam, prayer is more focused on something "outside of the self," so they pray to God. Mystical traditions of these religions like Gnosticism, Kabbalism and Sufism, are more focused on the "inside of the self" aspect of the prayer, believing that we all have a divinity inside of us. And Eastern traditions like Buddhism and Hinduism, focus on mediation rather than prayer.
Engaging in Prayer
If you feel like prayer or meditation may be beneficial to you, a few points that you may want to consider while praying:
Set specific times and a safe and clean place that makes you feel good and helps you concentrate.
If you are doing a personal or an individualistic prayer, focus and work on connecting to your higher self rather than functioning from your ego. Be clear with your intentions and why you are praying so there are no disappointments.
The more self aware you are, the more aware of your intentions you become and the more profound the result of your prayer would be.
Expand your experience with mixing different methods of prayer and meditation that seems closer to your heart. As always, you have to learn the content of your heart by knowing who you are before you know what may work for you.
Twelve Step Prayers using the text from Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Serenity Prayer written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr
God grant me the serenity to Accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things
Right if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
Third Step Prayer:
God, I offer myself to Thee –
To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them
May bear witness to those I would help
Of Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy Way of Life.
May I do Thy will always!
11th Step Prayer/Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love where there is injury, pardon where there is doubt, faith
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light where, there is sadness, joy.
0 Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled. as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.