Meditation is about letting go, allowing everything, wanting nothing, having no preference, and simply being. It’s about resting in the presence of consciousness itself, transcending all separation, abiding in union. There are no words in meditation, but if there were, they would simply be “I AM.”
Prayer on the other hand is much messier and much wordier. For example:
God, I don’t know what to write about. I hate trying to sound clever or coming up with wisdom. When I try to do it on my own, it only produces garbage. I need you. All true insights come from you. Everything else is wasted energy. I see myself even now putting on a show. Help me, Lord. Show me how to pray. I come before you with all my anxiety, all my desires, whether wholesome and God-ordained or not. Show me the error of my ways. Draw out the good that you see in me. I don’t know how to live life. I need your help. I so badly want to awaken. Don’t I?! Lord, what am I even doing? I don’t know how to do this. You HAVE to show me how. I am completely hopeless without you. Show me the way!! Lead me. Comfort me. Guide me. Give me hope. Give me joy. Give me energy. I can’t manufacture this stuff on my own. I need you.
I am so confused without you, and so anxious. Give me a word, Lord. I need a word for today. I need a word to sustain me. What can my anxious, hungry mind latch onto? Throw me a bone. But don’t stay far away. I don’t want to spend one moment apart from you. I drive my life into the ground when I do. Yes, Lord, make it even more painful to spend even one moment in separation. Let it drive me back to you. Make it unbearable. Drive me to you. But how can I even tell who you are? Who are you? I haven’t the slightest clue. Show me yourself.
Lord, I choose to believe in you. I believe you hear me and that you love me. I believe you are watching over me, guiding me, keeping me safe. My life is in your hands. I affirm this today. I am not alone. You are with me. I take comfort in your presence. I receive your peace. I rest in the knowledge that you are with me. I will wait patiently for you. You have shown me your face before. I take comfort in trusting in you. I choose your timeline, not mine. I would only screw it up. Help me to receive the gifts you have for me today. Open my eyes to your presence, open my ears to your word. I will walk with you today. I will abide in you today. No matter what happens, I will look to you. Help me to trust you to carry me through every experience, every challenge, every decision.
Thank you Lord for your peace and your presence. You mean I don’t actually have to change anything? You mean I can have peace right now? But I was in such turmoil and I was WANTING so much just a moment ago. You won’t forget about my desires, will you? I know better than that. You who made me, who formed me in my mother’s womb, who breathed me into existence—how could I ever doubt that my deepest desires come from you and that they are meant to be fulfilled? You mean I can and should just settle down and live in harmony? I don’t know, Lord. I don’t want to give up on my dreams. If I don’t hold onto them and pursue them with all my might, how will they ever come to fruition?
And then there is listening. When one person talks to another, it’s only a conversation if both people speak:
My son, I hear your pleas. I hear your cries. I know your desires better than you do! Your desires run far deeper than you even realize. I will show you how deep they go, and I will fulfill them beyond your wildest imagination. But you must trust in me. You confuse matters by opposing action to trust. I will guide you to take action when action is appropriate. Until then, yes, you can rest and live in harmony. Fulfill your duties, knowing that I am always with you. I will show you the door; you need only walk through it. You don’t need to find the door, but you will miss it unless you keep your eyes open. The only way you can do this is to completely trust in me. How can I guide you if you are always looking to the left and to the right? No, just look straight ahead. I have never left you and I never will. Rest in my love for you. This is my gift for you right now and always. You can commune with me now and know to the depths of your soul that you are loved.
I encourage all three practices, as they allow you to traverse the depths of your being, from the pettiest concerns and tantrums of your ego, to the highest wisdom that is available to you now. These practices will enable you to live a deeper, more fulfilling life, accomplishing the purposes for which you were born.