Prayer has been the one true spiritual constant in my life. My first prayer was “Now I lay me down to sleep” and even as a child, the words seemed so powerful to me. In my innocence, I always knew that God was listening to me and I trusted him to take my soul if I died during the night. Some thing in me always knew I was going to heaven and would be safe. I slept well. The constant prayers of a child kept me for the past 47 years. It is rare that I have a sleepless night.
Eventually, the nightly prayers lessened and the prayers became prayers of need and assistance. Praying for guidance, praying for help, I became very good at asking God for help. Early in my spiritual growth, I don’t remember my prayers being answered. Still I survived, so I am sure many of them were answered.
As I matured, into my spiritual growth, I was taught to pray in gratitude. This was an important shift; I learned to be grateful for everything — waking up in the morning, the air that I breathed, my friends and family, for babies, for my work, for others. The prayers became more and more frequent. There was so much to pray about. Praying to be grateful, praying for my self and others, praying for assistance, for guidance, over my food, for my body, for other people’s bodies. It was not long before I realized I was in constant prayer.
I would wake up praying and go to sleep with prayers on my lips. I began to whisper prayers for strangers and when I passed by accidents. I would pray for police officers and abused women and children and for rape victims. I would pray for the children while I was substituting in schools.
Eventually, my whispered prayers became silent prayers — silent prayers that no longer needed a “Dear God” in the beginning or an “Amen” at the end. My constant prayers one day melted into stillness. Complete and utter stillness. There were no longer two people having a conversation. My prayers turned into an awareness of God’s constant presence in my life and in the life of others. There was no longer a separation. To me this awareness of God is a fullness, a warmth that fills my body, a still and tangible presence. There was now no place God was not.
My awareness of God’s presence in my body became instantaneous. Now, there is no separation, only an awareness. My constant prayers have become constant awareness of God’s presence in all things and in all situations. That is where my joy comes from.
Now when something happens and I am seeking God’s understanding. I quiet myself enough to hear God’s still voice and I am granted understanding, and my fear and pain go away.
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It has been my practice to appreciate and understand “thy will be done.” It is in constant prayer that I have become one with God’s presence in my life.