Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Unconditional Prayers

“The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.” ~Walter Benjamin

A few days ago, my father informed me that my best friend of childhood recently lost her dad to throat cancer. While growing up, I saw through her eyes how trying living with an alcoholic can be.

I never quite understood why her mother put herself and the children through all they went through. She was financially self-sufficient and could have moved on to a better life, yet she never left - even after the kids were old enough to move out, she stuck by her vows.

When I called my friend to offer my belated condolences, her mother was at her house babysitting the grandchildren, so we talked for a while. She told me of the suffering her husband went through during the last few months, and was happy he was finally free of pain. There was so much peace and love in her words that I was speechless.

I told her how much I admired her strength and devotion through the years, although I doubt I could have done what she did, had I been in her place. Her reply was a simple one: “I loved him, and he wasn’t a bad man; he was only a sad man.” She went on to explain about his horrible childhood and the way he had changed and found peace in the last few years.

She loved him unconditionally, regardless of his demons. She knew she could not erase years of abuse, and had little hope of changing him, but always prayed that he would find inner healing. She told me that every time she prayed for him, she always did so for his higher good, and wished him to find his light. Not once had she asked to change who he was. Yet, he had changed. By embracing the hardship through her unconditional love she had confirmed something very important: Prayers should be sent for the highest good of the person we are praying for, not for our personal gain.

It is hard to wish well upon those who create strife in our lives, and when we do pray for them, we often ask that they change in ways that make them acceptable in our eyes, thus attempting one final time to control the unveiling of their destiny.

Try this today - whenever you see or think of a person you have issues with, just pray for them. Ask for their healing and nothing more; do so over and over again. By blessing them, you will indirectly bless and heal yourself.

Prayer changes things. It changes US. And our world will change as well, once we decide it is time to change ourselves.

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