“Prayers are the thoughts foremost in your mind, which may not necessarily be your desires or dreams.” – Rev. Seicho Taniguchi
We’ve all heard “what you think about, you bring about” and “where your attention goes, energy flows.” St. Paul said, “Whatever you sow that shall you also reap” (Galatians 6:7). And it was the Buddha who said, “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”
In addition to the religious quips and quotes, transpersonal psychology, quantum physics, and process philosophy all remind us that our world is more than matter; in fact, matter and mind are not the dualistic opposites we once believed. Matter and mind are part of the same process. More and more we are discovering what the mystics have always known: we are creating our world with our thoughts and attitudes and when we change our thoughts we actually change our world.
Our habitual thoughts are made manifest as experience. We may say formal prayers where we ask for blessings, but the prayers that are constantly being answered are the ones we pray without ceasing. When we focus on a thing we are actually calling that thing into existence. Fear, anxiety, and regret are actually ways of focusing on what we don’t like, and the focus contributes to the undesired thing. So, while we may say “God, please bless my finances,” if our constant thoughts are about lack or limitation, the result is likely to be more lack and limitation in our lives. What we think about, we bring about. What we sow, we reap. Where attention goes, energy flows.
This teaching can no longer be dismissed as the “woogie” beliefs of the overly optimistic. We now know and can demonstrate consistently that mind-power can create or influence almost anything. Anxiety tends to attract things to justify more anxiety. Fear, regret, frequent complaints all seem to produce more things to be sad or angry about or afraid of. But it works for the positive thoughts and attitudes as well. People who focus on success tend to experience success. People who focus on happiness tend to experience happiness. People who look for what is right find more that is right. People who are thankful for their Good wind up with more Good!
If we think our prayers aren’t being answered, it may be that only our “formal” prayers aren’t producing much. The silent, ceaseless prayers of focused thought probably are being answered in and as our daily experience. If we don’t like the answers, we can change the prayers (the thoughts). What we think, we become. So let’s focus on the Good that we want rather than on the discord that we don’t want. What we focus on, we receive. So let’s train ourselves to focus on the Good. The seeds we plant and nurture will one day bear fruit. In fact, the seeds we’ve planted are already bearing fruit; if we want different fruit, we’ll want to plant different seeds. The thought we hold foremost in the mind is the prayer that will be answered. Let’s focus our thoughts only on Good.
--Rev. Durrell Watkins