Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Putting Our Passion Into Prayers & Intentions

Intentions matter. Words have power.

Prayer is the place where we talk to something larger and yet not necessarily separate from ourselves. For me it is about coming into alignment with the divine that lives within me and yet is so much more than this one small human. In that place of alignment, my intentions, my heart-song, catches the wave of creative power that creates this reality and moves with that power.

So, I am very careful about how I pray and declare my intentions if only to myself on the page.

Some feel that prayers should exclusively express gratitude. Many of my prayers are ones of thanks for the life I have been given. I offer thanks not as an imagined cost of admission (life is given whether or not we express gratitude) but because doing so helps me to fully receive and savour all I have been given.

But what of our intentions to create, to build, to contribute to the world, to act alone or with others? What of our desires for ourselves, for those we love, or for the world? Is there a place for these intentions in our prayers?

Over the years I've heard hundreds of prayers offered by men and women in the Sacred Sweat Lodge Ceremonies and circles. A prayer that has power, a prayer that makes your breath catch and hair stand on end, moves beyond the seen and into the unseen and is fuelled by the heart-force of the one who prays. And human heart is most easily and powerfully engaged by the particular and the real.

And herein lies the dilema: I’ve lived long enough to know that my ability to see what is truly for “the best” is limited. I may really want a certain job, but I have no idea if not getting that job might lead to something else that fulfils my deepest soul’s desires or serves the world better. I can do a prayer simply for “the highest good,” or to do the will of that which is larger, but this general expression is unlikely to fuel my prayer with my heart’s passion. On the other hand, I don’t want God or the Mystery or the Universe to be tied to and limited by what I can imagine in any given moment, however passionately I do so.

So this is what I do: I pray and set my intention for the specifics AND for the essence of the soul longing beneath my specific intentions: for the words to flow in the book I am writing AND for the healing I hope this book will offer myself and others; for my own or another’s health AND whatever is needed to participate fully in the world and life- with whatever health we have.

And then, after I have prayed with all the passion and longing these things evoke in my heart, I pause and add these words with full intention and sincerity:

“According to free will and for the highest good of all.”

That’s my rider, my exception clause in all prayers and declarations of intent. It recognizes how little I know about what is truly for the best and yet allows me to pour my passion and love into my small, specific human prayers for myself, for those I love and for the world. It reminds me that, despite my knowledge of our human fallibility, I do not want to curtail another’s free will (or my own.) And it reminds me that that which is larger may have something else in store completely, without denying or denigrating my very real small human desires and concerns.

So, if you've have an intention or a prayer right now that is full and real for you, I invite you to share it here. Make it specific and real, something an ordinary human being could be enthused about with their whole heart. Articulate the essence of what you hope that form will bring and then, if it feels okay to do, in your own heart and mind add the rider that reminds us of how small our knowledge is and how the possibilities within the Sacred Mystery are infinite. Blessed be.

Oriah House ©2014


  1. I pray and set the intention for living an authentic, loving, healthy, generous and grateful day. May I show up and create magical moments that bring myself and others peace, love and joy.

    According to free will and for the highest good of all.

    Thank you Oriah, this is beautiful.

  2. Understanding that we are all inherently good, I pray that I'm aware of this more in my daily encounters. Another's actions/words towards me may not be personal. I pray to 'Honour the place in you where the universe resides, honour the place of love light truth and peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one.' Namaste.
    Thankyou Oriah.

  3. I pray that I might open my heart, and open my mind, to all the as yet unseen ways that I might be able to offer my soul's passion in my teaching AND for my and others' receiving only that which I/they most need to know. I pray I might find clarity by seeing, receiving ideas and help, around the how I can rest long and easy in my beautiful home AND that I am where I need to be for my soul's purpose. I pray for the cherishing companionship and partnership I so long to have, AND so long to give, AND that I am with those I need to be with at any given time on my journey. According to free will and for the highest good of all.

    Thank you, Oriah, for this beautiful blog and its stimulus for me to really sit with my intentions and wishes and find more clarity, simplicity, and heart connection to my 'worries' than before. Wishing you peace, love, and joy. Annie.

  4. Open my heart
    Open my mind
    Allow "what is"
    To Be
    What I accept
    With Gratitude
    & Surrender

  5. I pray that I may run free...with the wind in my hair and the earth beneath my feet. I pray that I may embody the gift of flight...and that I may sore with my heart bursting with joy. I pray that my heart and mind may continue to align so that I may become a true lover...true teacher...true healer. I pray that I might be paid well for my passions...that they may support me both on the earth realm and in the sprit realm. I pray for the willingness listen to my spiritual guides...and to accept light in the darkness...and to choose joy and serenity above all else.
    According to free will and for the highest good of all.
    Thank you, Oriah, for inviting me to share my heart here.

  6. I pray that I am being heart opened, loving, peaceful, feeling the well of my heart, and following my joy. I pray that I am being in the loving and mutual relationship and making all my dreams come true. I pray that my loved one is knowing his worth, his possibility, his freedom, feeling the peace and power with a lot of smile, and being able to follow his love and joy. I pray that all my family and friends, all people visit here, and the world and the earth are being well and peace.
    According to free will and for the highest good of all.
    Thank you, Oriah.

  7. I was concerned I wasn't praying enough and now realise I pray on and off all day to God. I am blessed with his goodness xxsusanJOY