Pray Rain (by Gregg Braden)
Back in the early ’90s, I was living in the high desert of northern New Mexico. This was during one of the worst droughts that the Southwest had ever recorded. The elders in the native pueblos said that as far back as they could remember they’d never gone so long without rain.
David, a native friend of mine from one of those nearby pueblos, called me one summer morning and asked if I wanted to join him in visiting a place his ancestors had built, where he would pray for rain. I agreed, and soon we were hiking through hundreds of acres of high desert sage. He led me to a place where there was a stone circle that reminded me of a medicine wheel. Each stone had been placed precisely by the hands of his ancestors long ago.
I had an expectation of what I thought I was going to see. But my friend simply removed his hiking boots, then stepped with his naked feet into the stone circle. The first thing he did was honor all of his ancestors. Then he held his hands in a prayer position in front of his chest, turned his back to me, and closed his eyes. Less than a minute later, he turned around and said, “I’m hungry. Let’s go get a bite to eat.”
Surprised, I said, “I thought you came here to pray for rain.” I had been expecting to see some chanting and dancing. He looked at me and said, “No. If I prayed for rain, the rain could never happen.” When I asked him why, he said it’s because the moment you pray for something to occur, you’ve just acknowledged that it’s not existing in that moment—and you may actually be denying the very thing you’d like to bring forward in your prayers.
“Well, if you didn’t pray for rain just now when you closed your eyes,” I said, ‘what did you do?” He said, “When I closed my eyes, I felt the feeling of what it feels like after there’s been so much rain that I can stand with my naked feet in the mud of my pueblo village. I smelled the smells of rainwater rolling off the earthen walls of our homes. And I felt what it feels like to walk through a field of corn that is chest high because of all the rain that has fallen. In that way, I plant a seed for the possibility of that rain, and then I give thanks of gratitude and appreciation.” I said, “You mean gratitude for the rain that you’ve created?” And he said, “No, we don’t create the rain. I’m giving thanks of gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to commune with the forces of creation.”
Feeling is the prayer.
Could it be that beyond our words, and our thoughts, feeling is the prayer? We’re so accustomed to pray from our minds, but what about praying from our hearts and emotions? From our feelings? Feeling our prayers already answered and praying “as if” that were so. It’s not magic or manipulation or a strange mystical mantra, but a lost way to pray that taps into the power of our hearts – our feelings.
With this context read and reflect on the following verses as if for the first time:
“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Another message from Jesus is revealed in the original text of the “ask and you shall receive” passage. The original text (as reported by author Neil Douglas-Klotz in “Prayers of the Cosmos: Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus”) goes like: “All things that you ask straightly, directly … from inside my name, you will be given. So far you have not done this. Ask without hidden motive and be surrounded by your answer. Be enveloped by what you desire, that your gladness be full.”
Perhaps what matters more than our thoughts and words is how we feel. As Braden teaches, “We must first have the feeling of our prayers answered in our hearts before they become the reality of our lives.”
Click below for two more wonderful teachings by Braden: