“The youth don’t recognize their own strength.”
Mr. Evert is a young, married man who ministers to our youth with discussions regarding healthy sexual relationships. I was struck by this statement during one of his YouTube presentations about healthy dating. My response, though, was the power of this statement for all of us: We do not recognize our own strength.
When I review the many ‘spiritual’ statements that many friends post on Facebook each day about how our words cause pain to each other, this statement is amplified. Our words and actions have such great, painful power. Likewise, I sit in recovery meetings and support gatherings and experience the opposite. I observe the healing power of our words and actions. You have heard me express gratitude to many people in my past who have said things that have made huge changes in the way I interact with my wife Ann, our children, and friends. Often, these people never know the power they have shared with me.
Our words and actions have power. Those of us who have suffered from painful, abusive words and actions know this power. We carry scars of these traumatic experiences. Often we are crippled by these experiences. Likewise, many of us struggling to heal these injuries find amazing comfort and peace in the presence of those with similar, painful stories. Why do we find the power of comfort from each other?
Again, my Facebook readings reveal frequent statements about the power of prayer. Yet, we often hear or say, “Well, I guess all I can do is pray.”
WHAT!!!!! I scream with anger.
Ok, I’ll curb my anger at this statement because it has just been over the course of the past few years that I have come to realize that I, too, have spoken these words zillions of times.
Today, Ann and I had a very similar conversation, reminding each other that the most powerful action I can take is to engage in the power of prayer. During this discussion today, I recognized that my usual response to someone’s pain is to try to fix it. Ann has frequently reminded me over our decades of marriage that she has no need of me fixing her. So I humbly admit, is she so broken that she need me to fix her? No!!!!
So what is the power of prayer??????
For me, prayer is an act and experience of humility. I often turn to the Christian prayer, the Lord’s Prayer. In this prayer, we ask “Thy will be done”. So as I munch on humble pie, I realize that “Thy will” is rarely the same as my will. This request of the help of my Higher Power is an admission that my will just ain’t so helpful after all. Ann will certainly agree with this revelation.
Last week, Ann was reading a Native American author who shared a prayer she refers to as “Words That Come Before All Else”. Prayer is not a very good description, though. It is more of a statement of gratitude. Many Native American schools are using this rather than the Pledge of Allegiance. The power of the words is in the humble expression of gratitude and connection with all beings.
Ann and I have shared this statement together for the past three mornings and will continue to do so. Each time we share, I am reminded of the power of prayer in a couple of statements: First, we are asked to turn our thoughts to a specific focus of gratitude. Second, we end each statement as follows: “Now our minds are one.”.
Rest with these thoughts for a moment:
Today we gather to turn our thoughts to ………………….
And now our minds are one.
When we collectively turn our thoughts, our spiritual energy to one focus with our Higher Power, WOW! We have power. Our minds and spirits become one with our Higher Power.
This offers the power to share our trauma, share our pain, share our joy, and share the intention of our Higher Power to live life to the fullest.
I believe that our 12 Step programs offer us this kind of focus and power. I believe that our spiritual ceremonies and gatherings offer us this kind of power. Even more, I know these to be certain as I have experienced this power. These occur in formal church services and organized gatherings, AND they occur each day or week when we engage with each other in the sharing of our joys and pains.
We turn our thoughts, our energy to each other. We enter into these experiences as one. We come to know that power of humility and love. Jason Evert is right that as children, we don’t know this power. Those of us who have lived beyond our childhood are coming to know these powers.
Let’s enter into a practice of turning our thoughts to our mutual healing and joy. This can be done in our homes, our communities and our nation. This is our power to claim and practice.
Two, three, or more at a time, we will gather beside the restful waters and continue with humility and love that will change our world. The water is ready. Dive in.