The Many Levels of Prayer
One of the great – most practical – skills that a person can learn in life is the art of prayer. Next to
meditation, which I deem higher, it is the most important thing. Yes, even more important than the
skills we learn in our profession or worldly life. Learning how to argue a court case, or how to
operate on the brain or hand, or read a financial statement, or earn our livelihood is certainly
important – all of these worldly things have their place. But they are limited. Effective prayer can
give us these things and much more – health, peace of mind, ease, love – and every desire of the
It is no surprise therefore that we see so many books, sermons, writings about prayer – many
contradicting each other. One book will say that THIS is the correct way to pray, and another will
say the opposite. One religion will emphasize one form of prayer while another might emphasize a
different one. Some religions favor invocation. Some favor abasement and self abnegation before
the Divinity. Some favor fear and awe of the Divinity and teach the “supplicatory” forms of prayer.
Some, especially the New Age types favor “decree” and “command”. Some favor affirmations.
Some say that prayer is not necessary at all – it is only necessary to be “aware”.
If we look at this from the surface of things it is quite confusing. The sincere student is at a loss.
Which is the “right” way?
The fact is that ALL the positions – all the contradictory teachings – have some truth in them. For,
there are many ways to pray and many levels to the prayer process. The person’s state of
consciousness will determine the nature and effectiveness of the prayer. Some religions, some
churches and synagogues minister to certain kinds of souls and will emphasize the methods that
are powerful for those souls. The important thing is to find the way that works for you – that
ministers to the state that you are in now.
Prayer is an art – in this respect like any other art – where you learn by doing. By actually engaging
in the process. Nothing will teach you better than actual personal experience. True, there will be
some mistakes in the beginning, but the mistakes will be like stepping stones to a greater success.
The important thing is to practice.
The form of prayer that will be effective for you will depend on your psychological state at the time.
The person who feels “separated” from the Divine – surrounded by enemies (problems) and dire
appearances – will best be served by the “supplication” type of prayer. Something to the effect of
“God, I’m in trouble, come in and help me!” The person acknowledges his or her state –
acknowledges that he or she feels separate – and pleads to a Higher Power for rescue. These
prayers are powerful and will work. We see these kinds of prayers in the Psalms (perhaps the
greatest handbook on prayer ever written). Very often the Psalmist will say “I cried out to the Lord
with my voice and he heard me” (Psalm 3:4) or “Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God” (Psalm 3:7) or
“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress;
have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer” (Psalm 4:1). See Psalm 6 as well. There are many, many
more such statements throughout the Psalms. Note, the Psalmist (King David – the Messiah of his
generation – and a very connected individual) acknowledges his “separation”, acknowledges his
personal helplessness and cries out for help. He was always answered.
This type of prayer often comes under attack from various metaphysicians. Their main argument –
and they are correct – is that this form of prayer reinforces “separation” and “personal
helplessness”. Perhaps. But there are times when a person feels like this – and at those times, this
is the correct prayer.
King David was an advanced soul – but there were times that even he was overwhelmed. I have read
accounts of the Ascended Master St. Germain who, on the path of his ascension, had to cry out in
this manner as he felt humanly overwhelmed.
There are times when the person is not in a “crisis” – not overwhelmed – but merely wants
something – wants a desire fulfilled. In these cases supplication may work too (“please God, give
me such and such”) but the prayer of affirmation might work just as well or even better. In
affirmation we are not “crying for help” we are merely making positive statements about our
condition or about what God is actually doing here. We see many affirmative statements in the
Psalms as well. “The LORD will hear when I call unto him.” (Psalm 4:3) “I will both lay me down in
peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8) “For thou, LORD,
wilt bless the righteous; with favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12) “Depart
from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping. The LORD
hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.” (Psalm 6:8-9) See also Psalm 9,
which is really a series of affirmations – statements of faith – statements of what will happen.
Affirmations come in two forms. One kind of affirmation is a statement of faith – I believe such and
such will happen – I believe that the sum of money I desire is coming to me – I believe that this
disease will be healed or is healed now. Another kind of affirmation (and to me this seems
superior) is a statement of knowledge. Such and such will happen because it is the Law. The Sun
will rise tomorrow because it is a Law of the Universe. Money will come to me because I have
operated the Law of the Universe and thus the result is definite and foreordained.
Most metaphysicians prefer this form of prayer. It is more scientific. Rather than recount your
failings and problems, you merely state what you desire to happen in your life or for another – so
and so is healed now – so and so has the money they need now.
The affirmation method is good for those who are well schooled in the Metaphysical Law – for those
who understand the spiritual power of the Word. Who understand that every word spoken from a
state of connection is a law of the universe. Beginners are perhaps better off with the prayer of
The prayer of supplication, though it has the problems we mentioned earlier, does have a
requirement. The person making such supplication needs to believe that there IS a Higher Power
that can be appealed to. If this rudimentary faith is lacking – the supplication is meaningless.
However, I have heard of prayers that worked even when this minimal faith was lacking. People
have prayed “God if you exist – I’m not sure – but if you do – help me” – and these prayers have been
answered. Perhaps, deep in their heart somewhere was this faith of a mustard seed that allowed
There is another form of prayer that is neither supplication nor affirmation (though it is closer to
affirmation than supplication). This is the prayer of praise and worship. The whole book of Psalms
is basically a long hymn of praise to the Divine. If you attend a synagogue or church a good part of
the service is devoted to praise and worship. With praise and worship, one is not “asking” for
things or results. One is merely acknowledging the power and presence of the Divine and paying
homage – this can be musically, through dance or through words. (There are also other ways to do
this, but it is beyond our scope here.) Praise is considered one of the “gateways” into the Presence
of the Divine – into the God consciousness. It is as if the “praiser” understands that there is no
need to “ask for things” or gifts, but that the mere Presence of the God Consciousness suffices.
There is an understanding (and here is the affirmation part of the process) that this Consciousness
knows the needs and the requirements and will naturally deal with them; that this consciousness’
natural action is to bless, heal and prosper. Many physical healings and other kinds of miracles
have been reported merely through the practioner’s indulgence in praise and worship – without any
kind of formal request or affirmation.
The highest form of prayer comes when a person is in a state of God Consciousness. He or she
knows that “I and the Father are One”. In this state there is no prayer or affirmation as we
understand the term. The person knowing his or her union, issues a “decree” – a “fiat” – a
command to life – knowing that this command must be fulfilled. When these kinds of commands
come from the mortal, human consciousness – they are merely the rantings of someone who
‘wishes’ or ‘hopes’ this will happen. There is no real force behind it – only the accumulated force of
the human consciousness. When that force is spent – as it will be eventually, for it is not being
replenished – the prayer will not work. We see a lot of mortals issuing these kinds of decrees and
they can be dangerous people. Generally, these prayers are loud, emotional and passionate –
merely a form of hypnosis on others (if the person is powerful enough). When they work, it is
because of the psychic energy that is behind it. But a real decree that comes from the God
Consciousness is very quiet, loving and peaceful. It is no less mighty for that reason. The God
Consciousness knows its omnipotence and quietly and scientifically releases it into activity. Very
difficult to express this in words. But the whole vibration is different.
The prayer of decree will go on and on until it finds its perfect fulfillment. It will always manifest
All the levels of prayer are good and useful but your state of mind at the time – where you are at in
your spiritual life – will determine which is best for you.