Often times we look at the subject of prayer as something we resort to in times of trouble or heartache. In those times we may resort to heartfelt words and a crying out to God for his help on a matter that is weighing heavily on our minds and life. Other times we look to formal prayer, those prayers such as The Lord’s Prayer as the only known way to “converse” with God. What we fail to understand is that there are multiple ways of praying. One of the most effective and easiest ways is through the Prayer of Relaxation. In her book, The Dynamics Laws of Prayer, Catherine Ponder covers this method of prayer quite extensively. I will attempt to cover the three key steps in the Prayer of Relaxation. Please note that this should not replace your own personal style of prayer, but can be an additional method to use. What I love about the Prayer of Relaxation is that it quiets the mind and body and prepares us to understand an even higher prayer method – that of meditation. In fact, most practitioners would call the prayer of relaxation a sort of meditation technique. Whatever you wish to call it, you will find as you practice this type of prayer, a more calmer peaceful existence will follow. I don’t know of anyone who can’t use a little more peace in their lives, do you?
Here are the three steps to the prayer of relaxation: Step one, Quieting the mind. This is more effectively done when sitting or lying down because you will be speaking to your body and mind and telling it to relax. Do this in a quiet environment – no television or even soft music in the background. A quiet environment forces you to focus on you, not on the external noise. When you are comfortable and ready say, “You now relax and let go. You now relax and let God. You now relax and let go all tension, stress and strain. You are now relaxing in mind and body.” Then declare in a more personal way, “I now relax and let go. I now relax and let go all tension, stress and strain. I am now relaxing in mind and body. Yes, I relax and let go. I relax and let God.” Turn your thoughts inward into your body. Begin to feel the physical strain or muscle tension you may be experiencing. Gently instruct your body to let go, to relax. You may have to instruct your body to “relax, let go, let God” a number of times. Relax all you can, then relax some more. This relaxation process may take a bit of practice on your part before your body will begin to respond to you. This is especially true if you are not use to sitting quietly for any period of time. Don’t give up if you find this hard at first. But don’t try to force it either.
Step two: Breathing. Breath is very important in prayer. “There is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty giveth them understanding” (Job 32:8). It is through the breath that you make contact with the spirit. The God within (immanent) and the God without (transcendent) are united by breathing! This is ancient belief whereby your breath is vitally connected with your happiness. The ancients believed that all despondency and depression could be overcome by breathing in and out words of praise. To quote Ms. Ponder, “When you speak words of relaxation to your mind and body and then deliberately breathe deeply, you unite your spirit, soul and body. You unite your conscious mind (located in the front forehead), your superconscious mind (located in the crown of the head) and your subconscious mind (located in the chest and abdominal region).
“When you relax and take a deep breath, this unites all three phases of your mind power, bringing them together at the top of the lungs, where the conscious and subconscious mind activities meet in prayer. As you bring these mind activities under your thought control in the area of the breath, you then have real power for prayer and meditation, for it is in that area of the body that you literally ‘feel’ the activity of spirit as it works to dissolve problems lodged in the subconscious mind, thereafter producing peace”. I suggest that you drop your head to your chest and as you release the breath, imagine letting go of the feelings of strain you may feel in your chest or abdominal area. Imagine that constriction leaving you through those external breaths. You are literally letting go of whatever constriction you may be feeling in your body. Don’t try imagine what might be causing it — just feel it being released.
Step three: The Peaceful State. When you have relaxed your body and mind and begin to focus on the deep breathing, you are now ready to speak the word of “peace” to your mind and body. Saying the words, “peace, be still” will help to rid you of any unwanted thoughts or emotions that keep wanting to be raised in your mind that have not yet been released. Recite: “I feel the peace of God. I rest in His Peace. Peace, sweet peace”.
As Ponder states, “The peaceful state of mind is the powerful state of mind. It is the healing state of mind. In the word ‘peace’ is every element of good. In the consciousness of peace is released all the blessings of life which man seeks: health, abundant supply, a full and replete life, talents, strength and happiness. Peace includes every good thing that is possible to the human being. If you can get into and remain in a peaceful state of mind, you become a receptive channel for every other rich blessing in life”.
I have found through this marvelous prayer of relaxation that a lightness appears in one’s life that continues to grow. This Prayer of Relaxation, I believe is what is practiced in the Releasing Technique, and other prosperity-type courses that are offered to those seeking greater abundance in their lives.
I hope you will try this prayer practice and see if you don’t find life becoming a little easier to deal with, and an inner growing of peace in yourself. I would caution that you try this practice for only a few minutes each day. You can’t force the prayer of relaxation to work for you. You’ll need to easily ease into the practice. As you do you’ll find it easier and easier to maintain longer periods of prayer.
Good luck and Happy New Year to you, dear reader!
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