Are You Praying to the Devil?

Sunset Fire Cloud shadows MGD©

For those of us who enter recovery through 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, or through treatment centers steeped in the 12-steps, we’re told that we’ll come to believe in a power greater than ourselves (Step 2).

That is, belief will come as a result of allowing concepts like powerlessness and unmanageability into our foggy brains.

Later as we work through successive steps, sponsors and others tell us that we get to choose our concept of a higher power. We can even name it, if we want (I eventually chose GUS for God-Universe-Spirit).

You may have struggled, like I did, with the whole “God thing,” based on childhood drama around the church. Now, my mission here is definitely not to diss anybody’s past or present beliefs. I will say, however, that in more than 3,500 12-step meetings when the topic of God is raised, I’ve listened to people inevitably talk about the challenge of aligning their childhood idea of God with their recovery concept of God.

If you stick around the rooms of recovery long enough, you’ll find out two things:

1. Although most people call God, God, nobody really cares what you call your HP.  2. By and large, everybody who holds an HP close to their heart, believes that HP is an all-loving, all-caring, all-nurturing entity.

So here’s a question, if you believe that God (insert your term) is absolute love, complete goodness and wants only the best for you, what happens when crappy stuff happens?

Does the devil answer prayers?

I’m a huge fan of Rev. Ed Townley, a Unity minister in North Carolina, who writes a daily message by way of email. Last month, he wrote about a woman who was down on her luck. From his post:

“There was a general energy of sympathy and self-recognition in the room. But then she said something that made me sit up sharply. ‘I pray. Of course,’ the woman said, ‘but even then, I have to be careful. I believe that sometimes the devil answers prayer!'”

Like Rev. Ed, my beliefs are rooted in New Thought, meaning we are all expressions of God’s divine love and that God has no opposing team headed up by the devil.

Thoughts are prayers

It’s easy to credit God with providing supreme direction when things are going well. You should give yourself credit too because chances are you’re a positive thinker, a glass-half-full kind of person.

In the spirit of New Thought beliefs, those positive thoughts are prayers. Called affirmative prayer, you hold what you desire close to your thoughts, or as we say, “thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.”

Obviously, positive thoughts do have an opposite but the principle remains the same. When we focus on negativity, when we adopt a “yeah, but” attitude because we’re sure the worst thing will happen, we are siding with the devil.

How you ask? As Rev. Ed says, by misusing our power.

“We make choices that create fear instead of love,” he explains. “And then we use those fears that we have created to justify the creation of more fears, until our minds are filled with a whole mass of negative energy that believes in itself.

“We bring more of that fear into tangible expression,” Rev. Ed continues. “So in a very real sense, we could say that Satan is answering our fear-based demands for more negativity.”

The moral of this story? Stay positive or you may find yourself praying to the devil!

Photo courtesy of MGDboston

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  1. Interesting post, Beth, as usual. To answer your question, I look at God or my Higher Power as a resource, a concept that brings comfort, compassion and inspiration to my life. When crappy stuff happens, that, to me, is just part of life. I believe God is not there to make everything perfect, he or she is there to be our support system and urge us onward during good times and bad. Thanks!

  2. Thank you, Beth, for a lovely message, beautifully expressed. The timing, for me, couldn’t have been more perfect. I was just about to dive into the deep end of the pool of my negative beliefs about money when I read this. If I had done that, I would have made some poor life choices based on fear, choices that would have led me right back into the murk I recently emerged from. At this moment, I am choosing instead to rely on my faith that my Higher Power has not brought me this far just to abandon me. Thanks for pulling me back from the edge!

    • Beth says:

      Oh Carrol, how well I know the place you describe! I empathize–fear of economic insecurity is a semi-regular presence in my life, but then, so is the inevitable surrender after I am through white-knuckling. Aren’t choices grand? Getting to choose whether to jump into a pool of negative thoughts or turn away, saying, “not today” is spectacular. I applaud you! And thank you for your continued readership–I so appreciate you!

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