The act of cutting off our own hands is a powerful image; the sacrifice of the flesh may appear gruesome, but it symbolizes overcoming physical attachment to attain spiritual consciousness. The Bible does not really mean for us to cut off our hands. The mes- sage of this passage is that we must make absolutely sure that nothing in our lives is out of sync with Spirit, which expresses through us as love for all living creatures and certainly for all people. We are being asked to cut off and cast away from us, to move through, pass over, or release whatever or whoever is not in our best interest. We may have attempted to release the situation or person many times before without success. But the process of releasing a thing or person and moving on is a journey in and of itself. Sometimes we need to center ourselves in Spirit to more clearly understand what or whom we need to release. Sometimes the person has departed or the situation has ended and we do not even realize that we are still holding on. No matter what form the attachment takes, we become conscious of it when Spirit calls us to move outside of our comfort zone and let go of whatever is keeping us from moving forward in our lives.
Forgiveness is important for prayer to work. In Matthew 5:22–24, Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment … Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has some- thing against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” The gift that we bring to the altar is prayer. We must first reconcile with those who we need to forgive before offering our prayers. This does not mean that you have to have someone ask for forgiveness or even that you must provide a verbal forgiveness. It means that in your heart, you must forgive them. Prayer without forgiveness does not work.
When we pray, we are not asking God for anything; we are realizing our oneness with God, with Spirit. We cannot realize our oneness with Spirit when our thoughts are being tainted by harmful, negative, unforgiving thoughts. It is difficult to become centered in the consciousness of God if we are angry, resentful, uptight, afraid, spiteful, or envious.
Whatever the challenge, we need to let go of the past to open the flow of our ultimate greatness. By releasing what is not in our best interests, we free ourselves to move forward: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The most important lesson I learned in the past decade is that forgiveness is not for the person I need to forgive; forgiveness is for me. When we hold resentment against anyone, we bind ourselves to that person; we give that person power over us, so much that the blockage interferes with ou rspiritual awareness. In Romans 12:2, Paul said, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The more we change our level of thinking from being limited to what we believe we can do in the physical world, the sooner our prayers can be answered. There is no question that God can answer our prayers by God’s grace, despite our failures or refusals to center ourselves in Christ consciousness. But when we realize that Spirit is always allowing us to manifest our desires through the right state of consciousness, we relieve our sufferiing and begin to manifest our goals with greater ease.
In Jeremiah 29:11–14, the prophet tells us that God said, “For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” True prayer, then, is the act of seeking God with all of our heart, which is seeking Spirit without the baggage of hurt or resentment that we all love to lug around. True prayer is the process centering in divine love by releasing and letting go. John said “God is love.” (1 John 4:16) True prayer or communion with God is the realization of the love that expresses as us; we are made in the image and likeness of God. When we truly pray, we embrace that image and likeness.
Prayer is not about trying to reach God or inform God about our troubles. Prayer is the act of centering in the consciousness that God is the infinite source of all within and without. We do not pray to God; we pray from the consciousness of God. God is already praying through us. We are already one with God. All we need to do is acknowledge our oneness. When we acknowledge our oneness, we open our minds and hearts to receive God’s blessings. Prayer is the opening through which we enter into this acknowledgement of our oneness; it is the portal through which we embrace our relationship with the Divine. We are like prodigal sons coming home to the Father who has always been there for us.
When we believe that God is blessing us, we realize our oneness with God. When we realize our oneness with God, our desires manifest. We do not get what we ask for, but what we believe we will receive. When we believe we will get what we ask for, we will receive it.
THIS IS PART ONE OF A SERIES ON FORGIVENESS
THIS WAS TAKEN FROM REV. LOVING’S BOOK,
PRAYERS FOR THOSE STANDING ON THE EDGE OF GREATNESS
available on AMAZON.