A Not So Common Prayer

common prayer

“A Green Prayer” by Muller Davis


A few years ago, while walking around the streets of Santa Fe, New Mexico, I glanced over and this piece of art caught my eye. I was drawn to it. The simplicity of it. The colors: green for Life and Nature, a hint of yellow for Happiness. The prayerful hands, the serene, closed eyes, and the head ever so slightly bowed in prayer.

I flipped it over and read the title: “A Green Prayer.” Next, I glanced down at the artist’s name: Muller Davis.  Green—my last name.  Davis—my son’s first name. A HAPPY, PEACEFUL feeling overcame me. Sold!

Right before going into the hospital for a bi-lateral mastectomy (following a breast cancer diagnosis), my “Sisters” on so many levels held a sacred evening of love for me and my family. There were many beautiful rituals performed that evening, which wove together to present a complete ceremony, marking the healing journey I had just begun. One of the rituals was a prayer circle. Going around the circle, one at a time, each person offered up a one to two word prayer for me (presented below). As each person said their prayer, I looked them in the eye, felt their love and sincerity, accepted their profound gift and blessing, and offered gratitude.

As the last person spoke, I realized that their prayers made up “A Green Prayer”…not your common prayer, but a visual prayer that appeared to me in a piece of art. With their heartfelt words, my Sister-Friends had embodied the same simple, beautiful, circular flow the artist had portrayed in the piece of art I’d been so drawn to. And once again, I felt Happy. Peaceful.

My prayer for you today is this: May you feel the sense of happiness and peace in your life that you so deserve. Claim it…even if yours doesn’t look like a common prayer…CLAIM IT.

Here are their prayers:


Susan:  Comfort

Christian:  Trust Life

Brady:  Trust

Davis:  Confidence

Anne:  Agape

Kathleen M.:  Happiness

Janna:  Wasah

Robin:  Admiration

Jo:  Bravery

Tracy:  Love

Alice:  Light and Healing

Amy:  No Chemo

Kathleen Z.:  Perfection
Jessica:  Divine Light

Nancy:  Letting Go

Kathy:  In The Moment

Alison:  NOW

 And so it is.  Amen.

How To Have The Faith Of a Child

Like many of you, I held my children extra close this weekend.  Adults and children alike, none of us can make sense of what happened on Friday.  We discussed.  We prayed.  We focused on being together.  Before bed, my boys asked if I would tell them stories of when they were younger.  This one came to mind:

Swooshed Away

Two years ago, exactly three days before school let out for Christmas break, I received a call from school.  On the other end of the line, all I heard was sobbing.  The sobbing was so gut-wrenching, I couldn’t even tell which one of my sons it was.  Once I was able to determine 1) exactly who I was talking to and 2) that neither child was hurt or in danger, only then was I able to listen and begin to process what in the world had happened to create such a reaction.

As my then third-grader was on his way home from school that afternoon, he was clenching a piece of artwork with its accompanying contest ribbons to the handlebars of his scooter, and attempting to contend with a very windy day.  Recipe for disaster.  The wind came “swooshing in,” as he said, and he managed to keep his grip on the artwork, but lost the ribbons that were paper-clipped to it.

He was heart-broken.  Devastated might be more accurate.  As soon as I hung up the phone, I grabbed the dog, jumped in the car, and arrived at the trails behind his school within minutes.

Since he saw the ribbons swoosh away, we knew they hadn’t fallen off inside the school.  That left the bike trail or possibly the creek below.  We combed every possible inch for his three missing ribbons, backtracking several times to double and triple check; the wind was not letting up a bit.  I knew at any second we would spot the red, yellow, and rainbow colored ribbons he had described.  Long story short, we looked and looked, and found n-o-t-h-i-n-g.

Spontaneous Prayer

Defeat set in.  The tears came back.  Shoulders slumped, he turned back and we headed for the car.  It was apparent, we had done all we could do.  In that moment, I remember thinking, And when you’ve done all…stand.  So, I reminded him to have faith.  And he asked me if this was a good time to “trust life?”  As I nodded, he said a quick prayer out loud.

Moved by his spontaneous prayer, I felt moved myself to talk to him more about trusting life — to remind him now that he had prayed, it was time to let goTime to let go of the worry and to trust the ribbons would find him.  I reminded him that the ribbons could come back to him in many different ways.  They might blow past his path tomorrow on his way to school, or maybe he would find them at recess later that week.  “It doesn’t matter how they make their way back to you,” I explained.  “That’s not your concern.  What matters is that you believe they will.  You know they will find you.

Just In Case

The next morning, I called the school and explained to one of the school secretaries what had happened.  I asked if it was possible to replace the ribbons (just in case…).  She said she really didn’t think so — the art competition was district wide, and because it wasn’t done at the school level, replacing the ribbons would be difficult.  I went ahead and emailed the art teacher to see if there was anything she could do (just in case…).  No luck.  She wouldn’t be back until school resumed in January.

After I had done everything I could think to do as a mother, I heard myself say again, And when you’ve done all…stand.  So I stood.  And I waited.  And he waited.

A Note Appears

By Friday, I was hoping my son was starting to forget about the ribbons, the prayer, trusting, all of it.  When during my morning workout, the phone rang.  I never stop a workout for the phone, but at the last second, something told me to run and grab it.  On the other end of the line was Cathy, the same secretary I had spoken to earlier in the week about the swooshed ribbons.

She said, “Leslie, you’re never going to believe this!  Let me read you this note I found on my desk this morning.”  She read:

Good Morning Dee,
Mae found these ribbons outside of school — before they blew away.  Don’t know if there is a way to get them back to the person who earned them?
See you tomorrow!
Jacqueline C??? (I can’t make out the last name)

Faith of a Child

(By the way, I never found out who Dee, Mae, or Jacqueline were.  Angels??)  😉

The Faith of a Child

My smile broadened with every word.  Who would have thought?  How did the note end up on Cathy’s desk?…the same secretary I spoke to about the ribbons.  Why not one of the other two secretaries who wouldn’t have had a clue?  Who may have just tossed them in the trash.  And with it happening on the Friday before Christmas break, one of Cathy’s busiest days of the year, checking in tons of parents for holiday parties, why didn’t the whole thing just fall through the cracks somehow?

Because my son trusted.  He trusted in prayer, in life, in something bigger than he.  He trusted that it was being taken care of.  And he knew he didn’t have to be the one to figure out how his ribbons would get back to him — all he had to do was let go…and trust life would take care of the rest.

Faith of a Child

How fortunate I am to be surrounded by teachers of Trust.  Teachers of Life.  Even if he was only eight-years old at the time.  (And even if we put the ribbons in SUCH a special place we’ve misplaced them two years later, no matter, we still have our memories of the event, we still have our bedtime story, and hey, we still have the piece of art.)

faith of a child

This might be the exact story someone needs to read today to be reminded of Trust, and how it works.  Please share.  Love, Leslie


Offering and Unwrapping Prayers


My older son praying, after walking the labyrinth. New Mexico.

What “They” Say

It’s often said there’s no “wrong way” to pray.  Just as long as you’re praying, you’re doing great!  At least that’s what they say….

I once knew a girl I considered an expert pray-er.  She could request her desires and beg for what she wanted with the best of them.  And if, what she was pleading for, wasn’t delivered by the “due date,” well, then she knew the remedy for that: she’d just pray harder.  She would shut her eyes tighter, form her hands into more perfect ‘prayer hands,’ and most definitely, she would crawl out of her cozy praying spot in bed and get down on her knees.

Once, at age 17, as she was exiting her high school parking lot, she turned her car in the opposite direction of home, and headed to a Catholic church to pray.  As she looked up at the forlorn expression on the face of Jesus in the stale-aired setting, she knew this time, her prayers could not be refused.  Given she was Episcopalian, wasn’t she making a statement by entering a Catholic church?  That is to say, she understood the hierarchy of churches: Catholic trumped Episcopal any day of the week in the Holy Department.

Life, time, and experience have stripped away much of her ego over the past two and a half decades — which is one reason I’m not embarrassed to share with you that yes, that girl was me.

Stop Your Begging

Begging, pleading, and bartering (please God, if you grant me this, I promise to that…) are a waste of your time.  Each of those techniques shows a lack of understanding about how prayers work, and frankly, it’s lazy.

But that doesn’t mean that prayers have to be complicated.  Quite the opposite.  Prayers can be as simple as having positive thoughts.  And the more we are able to live and breathe these positive thoughts, without defining the outcome, yes — having no attachment to the outcome, the more we offer our trust and faith in the Force of Love who is known by many names.

Mixed Message

When we approach prayer by requesting (pleading, begging, and bartering are all forms of requesting, just more desperate) something of God, the energy behind the request says, “Do this for me.  Grant me what I want.”  Which translates into at least two branches:

Branch 1:  Although I say I believe in God, and it is God who created me, I do not see the magnitude in the creation called My Life.  I do not understand that because God dwells within me, as me, I am able to take an active role in prayer, to participate and co-create with God.  So instead, I will beg and request, leaving it up to a giant force out-there-somewhere to grant me my desires.

Branch 2:  Yet given I’m operating from a place of non-participation, by using this request-only method of praying, I simultaneously communicate the exact opposite, which is, “I know what I need better than you do.  Here, see, this is my request, and here is the outcome I want.”

When you try to drive the outcome of your prayers, placing your focus and attention on how you want things to go, to be delivered to you, to manifest, to end, you are in essence not trusting that there is a force, greater than you.  By requesting a specific outcome, you are expressing that your perspective, the very narrow perspective of one, is more aware of the infinite possibilities of goodness that come with:  God Perspective.

4 + 1 = 5 Modes of Prayers

In the West, there are four modes of prayers that Western prayer researchers typically acknowledge.  They are either used exclusively, or in some combination with one another.  They are:

  1. petitionary prayers, or requests — as described above
  2. informal prayers, also called colloquial prayers — where we simply talk to God
  3. ritualistic prayers — these prayers are repetitious in nature.  For example, “Now I lay me down to sleep…”, “God is great, God is good….”
  4. meditative prayers — they have no words.  This is where we become aware of the presence of God around us, within the silence.

The +1: Co-Creating with God

A fifth mode of prayer, the one most recently introduced to the West, is a feeling based prayer.  With this prayer, you focus on the feeling of what you would normally have requested in a petitionary prayer.  You feel the feeling as if your prayers have already been answered.  You visualize an outcome, not requesting that it be so, but rather, visualizing it in the present tense, as if it already is.

For example, if your desire is to be healed of something, instead of saying, “Please God, let me be healed,” which puts you in the non-participatory position, this fifth mode of prayer spins it on its head, allowing us to feel as if we’re participating in that healing — as if we’re co-creating with God, which is a powerful position.

Common characteristics of colloquial, ritualistic, meditative, and this fifth mode of prayer are 1) the ability to co-create with God and 2) each type uses positive thoughts as their common denominator.

Shifting from Knees to Feet

As I mentioned before, your prayers can be as simple as holding positive thoughts.  Along with that, however, comes an important aspect of prayer:

“When you pray, move your feet.”  African proverb

As you offer your positive thoughts to Our Creator in the form of prayers, remember to keep your feet moving.  In this context, keeping your feet moving looks like this:

  1. feel what it feels like to receive the positive outcome (not what that outcome is, or how that outcome will manifest)
  2. acknowledge that action is probably necessary (hence, the moving of your feet) —
  3. however, you will not need to struggle to solve what may seem impossible (in terms of ‘solving’ your problem — what you’re praying about)
  4. rather, know you will be led to follow the appropriate steps
  5. know that when the time comes, you will have the courage to follow where you are being led —
  6. — confident that the outcome will accommodate the wholeness and wellness of all people involved

Unwrapping Your Prayers

Throughout this post, I’ve shared with you different types of prayers.  And although there are strong arguments to use colloquial, ritualistic, meditative, and the fifth mode of prayer over petitionary (request) prayers, let’s be honest, petitionary prayers are the most common form of prayer in the West — we go there out of habit and don’t even realize it.

So, next time you find yourself begging, pleading, or bartering out of habit, remember the saying, Be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it.  Let’s say you pray for more courage — you’ll be given the opportunity to be courageous, a package which can be unwrapped to behold a beautiful relic or an uncanny challenge.  Or, let’s say you pray for more love in your life.  You may unwrap a package containing the most loving life partner you could ever dream of, or you may be given the opportunity to love someone who is extremely difficult to love.

It all boils down to this:  the offering and unwrapping of prayers is mindful business.  Set your intention, create your positive affirmations.  Pray with purpose.  Pray like you mean it!

prayersDid you enjoy this post? If so, visit me on my Trust Life Today Facebook page, where I’ve started including my daily positive affirmations — a way of setting intention by putting my prayers down in writing, sharing with others — a way of praying with purpose.

Continue On One’s Path, Move Forward, Journey

In the Native American Yuman language, Mii Amo means:

To continue on one’s path, moving forward, or journey.

During a recent trip to celebrate our health, a girlfriend and I visited the Mii Amo Spa, located in Sedona, Arizona.  What an ideal location to Celebrate-Self!

As we were getting settled into our room, we noticed scrolls on our beds.

Their contents set the tone for the quiet introspection that would follow:

Everything is as it should be and I recognize the perfection in my life daily.

Today, I will do my best and trust that is enough.

I am responsible for my attitude and I look for the good in everything.

I create my own reality, and I focus on what is good and right in my life and the world around me.

My positive attitude reflects in the people I come in contact with today.

I release my need to be a victim, realizing I always have a choice.

Opportunities abound for me always.

I release the need to please all of the people all of the time, and recognize it is enough to please myself.

(These intentions are to help guide your discoveries and the transformations you may make during your journey.)

Eight short lines.  Eight deep intentions.  Eight meaningful prayers.

What a beautiful way to start a journey.

What a beautiful way to Start. Each. Day. of your Life.

Love, Leslie

I hope you enjoyed today’s Friday-short and find it useful in your life.   I’m still incorporating this as a new habit — repeating these words each morning to set my intention for the day.

In order to dedicate more time to write a book, I’ve decreased the number of weekly TLT posts by one.  Please subscribe above, that way you won’t miss a beat!