We are taught that prayer is about gratitude or asking for what we need.  Gratitude is a great way to be conscious about the wonders that occur in our lives every day and being grounded in the now of what we have and appreciating our lives in a healthy way.  Although it can be a struggle to keep that mindset when things are really difficult, it’s a good practice just like mindfulness practice in Buddhism.  Asking for what we need has been made amazingly problematic through the conflicting messages of being humble, not being greedy, being pro-active about stating our needs and setting boundaries, while asking our angels to provide everything from the best fortune cookie message to parking spots.

There are requests that are so specific that’s it’s amazing anyone actually answers them.  I want a pink polka dot pony to arrive on the Blue Moon of March…  Well, to quote Mal Reynolds,  “And I want to be the King of Londinium and wear a pointy hat.” Asking for help with every small matter is like remaining a small child forever.  It’s Peter Pan thinking.  It’s not that it’s not possible to get that kind of help or wrong to ask, but at some point, you might think about taking a bit more responsibility for your life and how it plays out.  In fact, although it’s a lot of work and not necessarily as playful, it can be amazing and wonderful if you put some effort into it.  We’re here to live our lives, not suffer and survive them.  Don’t like how things are going in your life, take action to change it, don’t ask your faery god-angel to wave their magic wand for every event that happens throughout your day.  Magic happens when we’re living authentically through our own efforts.  Everyone needs help once in a while, but that’s the key.  Once-in-a-while.

So being humble and not greedy can lead people to ask for things for everyone else but themselves, and hoping that the community and their family is doing the same.  And this assumes that what they are asking for is what the people need or want and in their best interest even though we don’t have insider knowledge about that person or their path.  So the one person we do know intimately, hopefully, is the one person we don’t pray for?  This one has never made much sense to me.  I’m not saying being humble is bad, I’m just saying that like anything else it can be taken to extremes.  Like being humble in a way that means you ask for something but are so very, very vague that no one can discern what you really want.  For example, ‘Please make my will Thy will’.  Okaaaayyyyy….well, Free Will means that no one can ‘make’ your will into anything.  That’s up to you.  So what are you actually asking for?  A sign that points the way to ‘Thy will’ that can help you figure it out?  A messenger that will spell it out for you?  Someone to tell you what to do?  That last one cancels out the Free Will so while it can and will happen, it’s less than likely that the message is from ‘Thy’, if you get my drift.

Ok, so you find the sweet spot between not asking for anything and asking for everything.  Excellent.  So what then?  Most people think that the help they get from ‘the other side’, whomever is answering the phone when you call, so to speak, is omniscient, knows your intent even if you don’t put it into any words at all, and has all of creation at their disposal to do whatever it is you are asking.  Right.  Because all of spirit are genii’s that can just magic everything.  Wish it were so and I’m sure they would as well, but it just ain’t.  Beings over there, like beings over here, can be fallible, can mistake the meaning from the message, and can have limited resources to work with in the situation as you have it set up.  So do you have to accept whatever you are given as the only response or answer?  Well, no.  There’s that Free Will thing again.  If you don’t succeed, be humble, be grateful, be respectful, but try, try again.  If you wanted unconditional love from a partner and you got gifted a Love Bird (with cage, a year’s worth of feed, and a subscription to your local newspaper) that’s Grrreaaat……um…however, you might want to try again.  Getting that response means you’re on the right track and your guidance is wanting to help, but you weren’t specific enough.  You might try adding the words ‘human’ and ‘single’ to your request and see if you get someone closer to the mark.  If you are asking for help getting a new vehicle and someone hands you a toy car….yup…try again.  Be more specific. Be grateful…but try again.

Being specific doesn’t mean being rude, asking for yourself doesn’t mean being greedy, and asking for help doesn’t make you needy.  It’s honest, it helps all of us by making you stronger and better able to succeed at being your best self, and it provides a great role model for those around you to see how interconnectivity and good communication can aid in creating a healthy spiritual life.