From the SevenMinutes Archives
The article below first appeared in our March 2012 issue.
As a child I was taught to kneel, close my eyes, and angelically fold my hands, then recite by rote the prescribed prayers of my church. When I rejected that God as a teenager, I drifted away from the church and naturally also stopped praying.
When I got into recovery, there seemed to be a lot of praying going on. We open and close every meet-ing with a prayer. We have a Se-renity Prayer. There’s a Third Step Prayer and a Seventh Step Prayer. Throughout the 12 Steps there are admissions and askings expected to be made, all some sort of praying? Prayer is one of the tools of recov-ery. If I wanted to stay free of mind and mood-altering chemicals like nicotine, it was obvious I had better figure out to whom to pray to, how to pray and what and what
not to pray for.
Most of the answers came to me when I began to understand Step Eleven: Sought through PRAYER and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, PRAYING only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. So instead of praying for a new car, or world peace or a promotion at work, I could ask God (who I had by now learned was my Higher Power and the sole target of pray-er), to be granted only two wish-es. First, to know what His will was for me, and second, for the strength to do that will. It simpli-fies our prayer. We don’t have to worry whether we’ve asked for the right things in the right way.
The purpose of prayer is to get to know God, to commune(icate) with God. It’s a reunion with our Higher Power. Through prayer we link up our soul and mind (and will) to God.
With practice, prayer became easi-er for me. I pray at the same time every day, in the morning upon rising and at night upon retiring. I ask for His will for me in morning prayers and thank Him for all my blessings in evening prayers. It brings me power for daily living and provides me a spiritual re-serve. There is no right or wrong way to pray, there is no formula but to make it a habit. When I’m alone, I pray out loud. Some peo-ple “act as if” to learn to pray. The basis of prayer: Thy will be done in me and through me today.
To me, prayer is one of the many gifts I’ve received from Nicotine Anonymous. Although I do pray for willingness, serenity, courage, wisdom, love and a host of solely spiritual things, I believe they all represent what my Higher Power wants me to have — His will for me.
Kent B Florence, AZ