There are many ways to practice prayer and meditation. We could use the serenity prayer. We could take some quiet time to read and re-read the prayer slowly, allowing the meaning in each phrase to be revealed. Others pay attention to the stillness within themselves. Each of us discovers our own way of meditating.
“Step Eleven – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.”
Step Eleven is an essential tool to use in our recovery from co-dependency … this program is an ongoing one, requiring daily maintenance.
In Step Three, we made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our Higher Power. By working Step Eleven, we open ourselves to the nourishing light that conscious contact with God provides. This Step invites us to deepen and broaden the spiritual commitment we made in Step Three.
Prayer and meditation were given their own separate step, after our thorough housecleaning in Steps Four through Nine … We need to take time, regularly, for spiritual reflection.
By working Step Eleven we are given another reprieve from our co-dependent thinking and behavior. We learn the difference between our will for ourselves, what we think another’s will for us might be, and God’s will. We are reminded that our Higher Power is not us, or another person, place or thing. Our lives become simplified. The question that remains for us is - ‘Am I willing to pray only for knowledge of God’s will for me, during those times when I want my will so much?’ ‘God’s will for me must be to have this job, this relationship, this car, this experience.’
We are asked to let go of our struggle to control, and to turn to God, as we understand God, for our direction.
‘How do I know what God’s will is for me?’ … Most importantly, we realize that no other person can answer this question for us. It is ours to discover.
Prayer can be thought of as talking to god, for example, asking questions such as: ‘God, what is your will for me?’ Meditation can be thought of as listening for God’s guidance.
As we continue to meditate and pray, making it an important part of our daily experience, our path is revealed. It may not be a dramatic experience. Rarely was a ACA member struck by ‘spiritual lightning.’ In fact, ‘the message’ often came in ways we least expected. Some of us in ACA found God’s will to be the way we lived our lives when we were in conscious contact with our Higher Power. Often we experienced it as the capacity, step by step, to choose healthier relationships …
Daily prayer and meditation connect us with the god of our understanding, and how we want to live today. It is our way of acknowledging to ourselves that we are never alone.
We approach prayer and meditation in different ways … Some commune with nature and the outdoors; some say words like ‘serenity’ and ‘love’ to feel quiet within; some use affirmations to bring their higher power into their thoughts; some kneel in quiet repose; some sit and breathe deeply; and some use self-talk to connect with themselves and their higher power.
It does not matter how we pray and meditate; what matters is that we do it.
We increase awareness of our own reality … we see connections between the events in our lives … We are able to reflect on the wonder of our lives, with gratitude to our Higher Power.
The Step Eleven Prayer
“In this moment, I quiet my thoughts and open my mind and heart to God’s guidance for me. In this moment, I feel the gentle peace that conscious contact with god allows. If I am troubled and in doubt, or joyful and serene, I turn to God. I know my path will be revealed and the way to my highest good be made known.”