This is one of the more difficult posts to write. Not because of any hesitation, but because of what the topic is about.
There is a better way to pray than how some of us are praying, so far.
About Refugees, the debate rages on and as we all know, many are enraged. We Americans, like others in our world, are people who pray, but how? On the whole, we haven’t been starting at a good spot. There are too many people praying “God bless America first before everyone else, if ever anyone else at all.” There are some praying, “God, take away the freewill of others, or turn them into [people that we are not afraid.]” There was a movie some years back with a character running for President who’s slogan was “God bless America and no one else.”
Unfortunately, real life seems to be imitating cinema art. This is no longer a movie line, but is closer to becoming a reality of how some pray, if not already here.
These are common prayers, coming from people tired, frightened, and in pain. Yet, are these the prayers that God asks us to offer for anyone going through disasters or horrors?
Whatever and whenever we pray for someone else, we are saying the exact same prayer for ourselves without realizing it. What we pray for others, we are praying for ourselves. God sees us as all in this together, equally. What is available to one person from God, is available to all. What is prayed for one person, is prayed for all people, without us always aware of this.
Consequently, we might consider a better way to pray than the examples above.
We easily see the differences in our American lives and those in other nations. We see the differences in our nationalities, our religions, our ways of life, our skin color and many other areas. From these differences, it is easy to take on the “Us vs. Them” state of mind. Even when there are also many similarities.
But, other options are available. There are possibilities in the way that we can help them with our prayers. These possibilities come from reducing our similarities down to that one common quality which we humans all share. We only need to distill down to that one thing which ties people together, which no one can dispute and which both the “us” and the “them” share in common.
Individually in our lives, and as a collective, we, Americans, know human suffering. We know real pain and real sorrow felt deep within us. We know fear of the coming of even more suffering, pain and sorrow. In truth, there is no human being on the planet that doesn’t know human suffering in some form within each individual’s self (and what it is – is known only to God.)
If we distill our prayers down to what we can pray for those suffering – we can then pray very real and helpful prayers that God asks from us. These prayers:
“God, please help all who suffer.”
“God, please help all who are under great pain and great sorrow.”
“God, please help all of us who have lost someone we love through violence or through any means.”
“God, all of us need Your help and only You know the true and real help that each one of us needs. Please, help in whatever ways we need.”
“God, please, help all life.”
“God, please, do not limit Your help by our beliefs, our thoughts and our feelings.”
Thank you and Amen.
“Those prayed for will have more of God’s loving, patient, merciful and healing presence available to help than those not prayed for.” (the Rainbow Cards, 1994-2015, ©, Jodie Senkyrik)
A few of the many helpful prayers that have changed things through the Ages.
God, help the Hebrews under the thumbs of Egypt’s Pharaoh.
God, help slavery end for black people.
God, help stop the massacring of Indians.
God, help stop the murders of Jewish people, and all other people at the hands of the Nazis.
God, help stop the killing of people in Rwanda.
God, help the people under Soviet Communist oppression.
God, help end Apartheid and the suffering with it.
Prayers that are still needed.
God, please help people find peace both within and without.
God, please help heal all people, everywhere.
God, please, help.
God, give us wisdom to know better. God, give us patience so we don’t react from panic and fear. God, give us kindness in our hearts. Thank you for these. God give us the willingness to put these to use with each person in our lives.
Instead of praying to God for anything…WHY are we not praying FOR GOD? Looking at this Earth which he made, looking at the filth his wonderful children do and have become…his heart must be breaking. Maybe we are not worthy of his love anymore…so maybe our only prayer needs to be: Please God help me be worthy of your love again, as I was at the moment you created my soul.
Perhaps there are things we don’t know about God.
My understanding is that God does not see human beings as human beings see human beings. God, the Infinite Consciousness of God, sees with eyes that are Infinite. This means that God sees with Infinite Understanding of human beings and what motivates us, what pains us, what suffering we go through, what we hunger for, and what we wish and hope for life. This means that God sees with Infinite Patience giving us all the time in eternity to find the spark of Love and Christ within our own hearts, which He put there.
God sees with Infinite Forgiveness, knowing that this spark of Love/Christ which God has created within our own hearts and minds, will not fail, because God does not quit or get discouraged even when things take millennium after millennium. God sees also with Infinite Possibilities which means that there are things in life, in this Universe, in existence, in all events of our lives, that have potential for something far, far, greater which we don’t know about – potential for all human beings, even before we are born and after we die.
“With God, all things are possible.” Or said another way, let’s let God decide what is possible for every person and all life.
What I’m trying to say is, “God is far more than that which we hold in our own minds, thoughts and beliefs.” God is far more than the sum total of what all human beings hold in our minds, thoughts and beliefs added together, as well.
If you’re wondering whether we’re worthy of His love, remember, God is also Infinite Love – the Love that has no boundary or limit. God’s Love goes beyond even death, goes beyond our behavior, goes beyond our understanding and goes beyond our beliefs. God knows everything about every life form that exists, including that which we don’t even know about ourselves. God’s Love even goes beyond our ability to understand all this about God.
In praying, we are asking God to help us connect more with this Infinite Love that is God. And then manifest this love in all forms and ways in life.
“My understanding is that God does not see human beings as human beings see human beings. God, the Infinite Consciousness of God, sees with eyes that are Infinite”
Jodie, what profound words!
From the Dharma talks I have heard, Buddhas see all other people as Buddhas. Moreover, their perfect wisdom and virtue causes them to see and feel only the bliss and perfection of the Pure Lands at all times,no matter they are, even when they manifest in this world of ours. Buddhas have unlimited compassion and even those who scoff at the Buddha are still loved by the Buddha, who will even manifest in whatever form the scoffers can accept to help them leave the misery created by their own sins and find happiness.
The reason we, as humans, see imperfection and ugliness in this world is because of our own karmic obstacles and habits of greed, hatred and delusion. In fact, our reality reflects our karma and our handicapped level of virtue and compassion.
According to the Shurangama Sutra:
“When their thought and emotion are of equal proportions, they neither fly nor fall, but are born in the human realm, where the brightness of thought leads to intelligence and the darkness of emotion leads to dullness.”
Thus, we are reborn in this human realm because we are around fifty percent virtue and fifty percent sin. Therefore, we will naturally see a world full of uncertainty, scarcity and imperfection but not so bad that it should be unfit for habitation or completely without beauty.
Therefore, the key is to steer our thoughts towards that of the Buddha and away from the three poisons of greed, hatred and delusion. We can certainly improve the world by praying and meditating (i.e. reciting Buddha names such as Namo Amitabha with utmost sincerity).
The evils we see is due to our own karma and evil habits, however, with prayers and single-minded Buddha name recitation, we can wipe away our defilements and drastically improve our environment.
We are certainly not lost or unworthy. We have a glass half full, and it is up to us to fill it up.