I was never much of a praying woman. As a kid, growing up an Easter/Christmas Catholic, prayers were just something we had to learn by rote in CCD. I memorized them in order to avoid the disapproval of stern nuns (and my grandmother), but I never really felt the meaning behind them. And it seemed to me highly unlikely that the old guy in the sky (who by then I was already doubting even existed) was paying any attention anyway. As I grew older and shed my flimsy second-hand beliefs for atheism, I found the whole concept of prayer disempowering and insulting. I was supposed to believe that some people were somehow more worthy of having their prayers “answered” than others? Come on. If that was true I wanted no part of it.
Then around the time I turned 30, I read a book called A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson. To this day I can’t really explain it, but when I picked that book up I was an atheist, and when I put it down I was not. I experienced a spiritual awakening that continues to unfold and deepen to this day, but it is very far removed from the religion of my childhood. It has led me in and out of various spiritual practices and beliefs and back around again, but I was still having trouble with the idea of prayer. I just didn’t like the idea of supplicating to some remote power outside of myself (and still don’t).
Then along came Tosha Silver. In her book Outrageous Openness, Tosha writes about “letting the Divine take the lead.” This is very different from appealing to a separate, distant, fickle God. This is about aligning and flowing with the benevolent force of Order and Love that permeates all things, including our deepest selves. To do this, she came up with a very powerful way to invite the Divine in: the Change Me Prayer. With a Change Me Prayer, you’re not supplicating, you’re not begging for mercy and favor. You’re aligning and calling forth the spirit of the Divine within…the force for good that resides around and within all of us. Finally, a way to pray that felt right!
In her latest book, Tosha gives many examples of different Change Me Prayers for different situations, and encourages us to write our own. Inspired by hers, I wrote my own that I now recite every day:
Today I offer myself and my life to You.
On this day and every day,
I ask to be filled with Your love, strength and wisdom,
and to be guided in every moment to the next right step.
Where you lead, I will do my best to follow.
Please help me to know deep down
that You are the unlimited Source of all
so that I may give and receive Your blessings
with gratitude and joy.
Help me remember my own
value, beauty and worth without question
so that I may carry Your light without restriction.
Should a challenge cross my path today,
please help me accept it if it cannot be changed,
and calmly act with grace and assurance if it can.
There is no need to fight or struggle.
I surrender and flow with what is.
Let everything that needs to go, go.
Let everything that needs to come, come.
I am utterly Your Own.
I am Yours.
You Are Mine.
We Are One.
All is Well