meditation: quiet thought that helps you relax or that is intended as a spiritual or religious exercise; thought that takes all your attention for a long time. Thought, consideration, deliberation, contemplation, reflection, rumination.
prayer: act or practice of speaking with God; strong hope or wish for something. Entreaty, appeal, plea, request, desire, hope, wish.
Ever since man could think, various forms of meditation and prayer have been practiced, collectively and individually. These ancient and modern practices are found in holy books, including the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
Some believe that meditation and prayer is one and the same thing. Someone told me that they are embarrassed to say they pray, and to avoid questions they use the word meditation instead. Perhaps that makes sense if you don’t know the answers to why, what, where, or to whom you pray or meditate about.
Studies have been conducted by scientists enquiring as to whether prayer heals, or is just another type of placebo. There are medical doctors who testify that prayer certainly heals [earlier post]. And there are people from all walks of life with their own stories of healing as a result of prayer.
People actively learn how to meditate and pray for all sorts of reasons. There is no shortage of courses on meditation these days. Reasons could be to find peace (stress is a huge health issue), to ask for help, to beg forgiveness, to give gratitude, to tune in and hear inspiration – spiritual sense as opposed to physical senses. This is an infinite subject!
Melissa Lahoud reports on meditation and a clinical trial conducted on 178 full-time workers, in The Sydney Morning Herald, “There’s nothing to it and science agrees – meditation works”: ”Within the context of meditation and stress, it’s the largest study in the world … and we’ve applied some rigorous conditions,” Dr Manocha said.”
But what’s next? When said mental silence is achieved, is there a deeper need to understand the mental process achieved? It seems so, because scientists continue to research through clinical trials. But how can spiritual sense be measured? From my experience, the proof must lie in being well – healed.
Going beyond a fuzzy, feel-good factor, it’s the simplicity of one account of healing I heard that comes to mind as I write. A single mom in Latin America was called by the school to say that her son had accidently broken a school window, and that she needed to have it fixed immediately. She had no money to do it, and her only resort was to turn to God for help, because she couldn’t think straight. She then trusted completely that both their needs would be met – the schools and hers. Not long after, she was walking down the street and saw a discarded sheet of glass on the side of the road. She felt sure this was an answer to her prayer. The sheet of glass turned out to be the same size needed for the windowpane. I’ve left out the obvious bits about the stress this woman felt – you can imagine the angst she had to overcome to “be still” – shut out all the fear and doubts, and then go one step further… trust that divine Love (God) would help her.
In my own experience, I pray daily, but not to an “unknown God”. I’ve realised that it’s imperative to understand the W.W.W.W.H. of prayer (as follows). You create your list; here’s mine…
WHO? I pray to the Creator (God) who never was a man, but is eternal, divine Spirit, Love, Truth, Life, Soul, Mind, Principle (those synonyms are unique to Christian Science teachings: citations). I am not insignificant to the Creator who knows and meets my needs.
WHAT? Prayer is tuning in to what God is telling me about the situation (ANGELS. citation), and acting on the answers I’m given.
WHERE? I can pray anywhere and anytime, according to need.
WHY? It’s my right to be well. I’ve had consistent healing results with physical ailments, relationship troubles, finding and keeping meaningful employment, and things most people deal with on a daily basis.
“Are we benefited by praying? Yes, the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not return unto us void.”
News article ‘Plea, gratitude, ritual: the many shapes of prayer’
Listen to 2-minute podcasts on prayer “Daily Lift”
News article ‘A prayer for safety for the children of the world’