Seven Keys to Effective Prayer

Copyright 2006 Ada Porat

If prayer is so powerful, then why does it seem like the more we pray, the worse things seem to get?

Perhaps what we see as a world of chaos is simply the Field, mirroring our belief that peace is missing — our “please, let there be peace” echoes back to us as chaos! If so, then this understanding of how the mirror works can encourage us to change what we say to the Field.

Effective prayer is based on this understanding that the energy underlying all of creation is a malleable essence that accurately reflects what we put out.

For many centuries, indigenous shamans have taught that we need to pray the results and not the problem. They exhorted people to focus on the outcome as if it is already a reality: to pray healing instead of praying for healing; to pray rain instead of praying for rain. Praying for something reinforces our perceived lack; praying the desired outcome visualizes it from a place of inner faith as if it is already there.

Our abundant universe always contains sufficient peace, health and happiness in some form. Effective prayer is hones in on these positive qualities, viewing the world as if the perfect outcome already exists, with appreciation and gratitude. By doing so, we open the door to greater possibilities and more of the outcomes we hold in mind.

When millions of people pray for world peace, for instance, their collective focus on the desired outcome has a profound effect. In 1972, 24 cities in the United States with populations over 10,000 experienced meaningful drops in crime rates when as few as 1% (100 people) in each city participated in prayer.

During the Israeli-Lebanese war of the early 1980s, researchers with the International Peace Project in the Middle East trained a group of people to “feel” peace in their bodies rather than to simply pray “for” peace.

At specific times and days, participants throughout the war-torn areas of the Middle East focused on feeling peace in the midst of conflict. During each such time period, terrorist activities stopped, crime declined, emergency room visits dropped off, and traffic accidents decreased. When participants stopped their experiment, the statistics reversed.

From the findings of these studies, researchers extrapolated how many people are needed to share the experience of peace before peace is mirrored in their world: the square root of 1% of the population. In a city of one million people, this is about 100 people. In a world of 6 billion people, it requires only about 8,000!

Collective prayer can be a powerful force to change the Field to that which is collectively held in mind: the more people focus collectively on a desired outcome, the faster such an effect is created. Here are seven keys to effective prayer:

1. Clear Focus. Clarity of focus serves as a coherent organizing principle to align the energy fields we focus on. In quantum physics, this is referred to as the Heisenberg principle, where random particles behave in orderly fashion when observed. The more clarity we bring to this act of observation, the more effectively the Field responds. Before prayer, decide exactly what it is you desire to accomplish and keep your focus on that intended outcome.

2. Intention. Ask yourself why you desire the specified outcome? What is your deepest intention or desire? Why? Keep drilling down until you get to the core of it; then address that core need instead of the superficial symptoms. Instead of desiring a new relationship because of the need to feel loved, would it perhaps be more effective to pray about learning how to love yourself?

3. Silence. In any conversation, silence is a valuable component that allows for comprehension and processing to facilitate meaningful feedback. Prayer is no different: It is your conversation with the Divine or the Field. Valuable insight can arise during those times of silence.

4. Listening. There is also a need for listening when we pray. So often, we blurt out all our requests, grievances and fears; thinking that such a one-way conversation constitutes prayer. In the quiet listening of effective prayer, you may find solutions arise as inner guidance and a subtle inner re-contextualization of circumstances.

5. Surrender. When a child brings a broken toy to their parent, they have ultimate confidence and faith in the parent’s ability to fix the problem. Well, prayer is no different! In this Divine conversation, you are simply aligning yourself to the Field to facilitate the desired outcome. With childlike trust, we can surrender the situation, detach from it and leave it there. That means no obsessing over the situation after you have let it go!

6. Gratitude. The power of gratitude is enormous. It helps us focus on the desired outcome rather than the perceived problem. As earlier scientific studies proved, focusing on the desired outcome has a powerful effect on aligning circumstances with what is held in mind. Since we are subject only to that which we hold in mind, why not give thanks for the solution rather than focusing on the problem? Your body will thank you with lower blood pressure, reduced stress and a greater sense of peace!

7. Be flexible. My grandfather used to say that we often pray wrong, but the Divine always hears right. We may be convinced that the solution to a financial shortfall, for instance, should come in the form of a raise. However, it may show up as a new job offer or an opportunity to refinance the mortgage. After you have prayed, keep your eyes open because answers may arrive in a way quite different from what you expected!