Tried & Tested Prayers
When I was first attending AA and beginning to put sober days together I was surprised when it was suggested that I try praying.
I had no reference point for prayer other than in the church of my childhood.
I quickly learned the Serenity Prayer to say at the end of meetings but only because I wanted to fit in. I was saying it by rote but with no meaning.
Then someone suggested I say thank you at the end of each day. Thank you for the roof over my head, the food in my belly, the clothes on my back. And to say it to whatever I thought may or may not be there. I began following this suggestion and found I was slept better! I didn’t think of this as a prayer back then but I do now.
Then I met the lady who would become my sponsor for the next 5 years of my sobriety. She talked about waking up in the morning and talking to god. She told me how she would sit at the edge of her bed and open her arms. I had no idea! I thought prayer was on one’s knees with hands together.
Today I’m open to learning from anyone and anywhere, ideas on ways to pray and words to say, ways to develop my conscious contact with the god of my understanding.
P.104-105 Step 11 from Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_step11.pdf) says…
“In AA we have found that the actual good results of prayer are beyond question…
All those who have persisted have found strength not ordinarily their own.
They have found wisdom beyond their usual capability.
And they have increasingly found a peace of mind which can stand firm in the face of difficult circumstances.”
Are there results you’ve had from praying? Do any of these experiences of wisdom or peace or strength resonate?
Are there any prayers or words that have been particularly helpful? Have you struggled with willingness to pray? Have you doubted prayer could work for you?
I went through one of the toughest things in my life and in my sobriety this year. I was given a suggestion to repeatedly pray just 3 lines of the St Francis / Step 11 Prayer.
It changed my experience of what was happening, it gave me a peace that could only have come from something beyond human, it enabled me to put others first but still look after myself, it opened my eyes and heart to the humanity in someone I’d had a difficult relationship with and gave me the strength to be of use to them.
The lines were these…
God, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
At another incredibly tough time, a few years ago, I was shown how to pray by slowing down the words to say a single word at a time, with a big pause between each word, giving my mind time to feel the word.
I used to use this as a meditation, standing at my garden door, rocking my poorly baby, sometimes an hour at a time until he slept. I felt so alone and so helpless but praying in this way connected me at such a deep level with god, I felt safe and held and that I was being given the strength to get well myself and to be there for my baby.
It gave me such comfort in such a dark time that I knew no matter what came, god would be there for me.
At times of unwillingness to pray I find writing to god really helpful, just getting all my thoughts out.
I am so grateful to AA for showing me how to find a power greater than myself and for continuing to show me how to connect and hear the guidance I need to live a sober, useful, content life. At times it’s not necessarily easy, but it’s easier than drinking!
Thank you for letting me be of service.
The meeting is open for sharing, on the topic of Tried & Tested Prayers or for anything recovery related that you need or want to share.
In love and fellowship, Sophie.