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When Prayers Aren't Answered (And What to Do About It)

Cristina, a participant in a workshop I facilitated this Saturday, shared that, while growing up in Italy, she was taught to pray by imploring a God outside herself. She would pray with fervor and intensity hoping God would answer her, but to little or no avail. I suggested she consider an alternative approach to prayer; rather than pray to an external God, she should pray from the consciousness of God she holds within. Since God encompasses everything we could ever want, hope for and desire, and all the qualities of God are also inside us, our prayers speak more to what we already possess than anything that exists separate from us.

Prayer is one of the greatest tools of transformation that we have. Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of the Unity Movement, noted that effective “prayer is the most highly accelerated mind action known.” Yet Jesus reminded us that one must believe in order to receive what they are praying for. We are often left to wonder why a prayer is not answered or why something that we visualize does not manifest, but, as referenced in James 4:3, “you ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss.” The concept of praying amiss becomes understandable when we realize that we cannot receive anything beyond the concept we have of ourselves. If we have a limited perception of who we are, it is impossible to expect anything that lies outside the confines of what we’re able to see. Our prayers are answered only within the boundaries of our awareness.

Put another way, it is not what we pray for that is important. It is the consciousness with which we pray that is key. While our limited beliefs are often based on stories we have told about ourselves that we have accepted as true, we know through the Law of Mind Action that a lie we believe acts as truth until it is neutralized by The Truth: We are original blessings of the Spirit, we are inherently good, and our nature is divine. If we are to receive the ever expanding good of God, also known as heaven, we must break free from false perceptions of ourselves and contemplate our lives from the utmost perspective. This, according to Ralph Waldo Emerson, is what true prayer is: “the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view.”

The spiritual growth opportunities available to us through classes, workshops, seminars, lectures and books are meant to raise our awareness to such a degree that we are constantly contemplating ourselves and the world from that highest point of view. When this becomes the content of our consciousness we have become the answer we are praying for. We may then learn how to ask aright and receive the blessings we seek.

Peace & Blessings,


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