WHAT IS PRAYER?
Prayer is a simple act that seeks to activate a rapport and a conscious connection with a Higher Power through deliberate communication, (with a “Higher Power” being anything of our own personal choosing that is a power greater than ourselves). Some refer to prayer as “giving attention to God” who is always alongside us and ready to listen. Yet others view prayer as a means to access the life energy of the Universe. Through prayer, we are seeking a power greater than ourselves as a means to arrest our disease and silence the noise in our minds – a type of insanity which stems from the mental obsession triggered by the physical allergy of our disease of compulsive eating upon taking that first compulsive bite.
Thankfully, anyone can pray, at any time and in any place. Within the OA program of recovery, each is free to choose what will work for them as a form of prayer. It can be of a formal variety using select words put together by others who may have crafted these special prayers as an expression of their spirituality or a practice developed to grow that spiritual connection. Alternatively, prayer can simply be having a silent, intimate conversation with that which we come to call our Higher Power – a power greater than ourselves that can restore us to sanity from our (ultimately fatal) disease of compulsive eating.
However you may choose to pray, we hope you find the time to do so given that many with long-term recovery have experienced relief from their compulsive eating and release from the bondage of self through this simple practice.
Our Eleventh Step states:
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
It is often said within the rooms of OA, that prayer is “talking to God” whereas meditation is “listening to God” so that we might come to know the will of our Higher Power, rather than follow our own (sometimes misguided) self-will.
However you may choose to practice the Eleventh Step, we offer this list of prayers for your consideration and use, and encourage you to come up with your own personal prayers to help you connect and recover. And don’t forget to check out one of our meetings – meeting makers make it!
The OA Promise (also known as Rozanne’s Prayer):
Attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr
God grant me the serenity to
Accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And the Wisdom to know the difference.
11th Step Prayer
(from the AA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions Book, page 99)
Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me a channel of thy peace
that where there is hatred, I may bring love
that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony
that where there is error, I may bring truth
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith
that where there is despair, I may bring hope
that where there are shadows, I may bring light
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted
to understand, than to be understood
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.
Another version of that prayer:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love
where there is injury, pardon
where there is doubt, faith
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where, there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Prayers from the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous)
3rd Step Prayer—page 63
God, I offer myself to thee-to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always.
4th Step Prayer (Resentments)—page 67
God, help me to show tolerance, pity and patience. This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.
Fear Prayer—page 68
God, I ask that you remove my fear and direct my attention to what you would have me be.
Sex Prayer—page 69
God, I ask that you would mold my ideals, and help me to live up to them. Where I have done harm, God show me what I should do about each specific matter.
God, I am sorry for what I have done, and have an honest desire to let You take me to better things.
Sanity and Strength Prayer—page 70
God, I earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing.
God, I thank You from the bottom of my heart that I may know you better.
6th Step Prayer—page 76
God, I still cling to some things that I have admitted are objectionable. Help me to be willing to let them go.
7th Step Prayer—page 76
My Creator, I am now willing that You should have all of Me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do Your bidding.
8th Step Prayer—page 76
God, I ask for the willingness to make amends for the damage I have done in the past.
9th Step Prayer—page 79
I pray that I may be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be.
Change Prayer—page 81
I am sorry for what I have done. God willing, it shall not be repeated.
Morning Prayer—page 83
My creator, show me the way of patience, tolerance, kindness and love.
10th Step Prayer—page 84
I pray, God, that You remove my selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear.
Daily Prayer—page 85
How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done.
11th Step Prayer—page 86
God, I pray for forgiveness for the wrongs I have done today. I ask that I be shown what corrective measures should be taken.
Decision Prayer—page 86
God, I am faced with indecision and I am unable to determine which course to take. I ask You for inspiration, an intuitive thought, or a decision. God, I pray to be shown what my next step should be. Give me whatever I need to take care of my problems. Especially free me from self-will so that I may be of help to others. What can I do today to help others?
During the Day Prayer—page 87
I am agitated (doubtful) God. Please give me the right thought or action. I am no longer running the show. Thy will be done.
Morning Prayer—pages 86 and 164
God, please direct my thinking; especially, that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonesty or self-seeking motives. What can I do for the man that is still sick?
A Blessing—page 164
May God bless You and keep You.
Acceptance Prayer—page 417
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life—unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my compulsive overeating, I could not stay abstinent; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitude.
Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, all the men and women merely players.” He forgot to mention that I was the chief critic. I was always able to see the flaw in every person, every situation. And I was always glad to point it out, because I knew you wanted perfection, just as I did. O.A. and acceptance have taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all children of God and we each have a right to be here. When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God’s handiwork, I am saying that I know better than God.
DO YOU HAVE A PRAYER TO SHARE?
If you have a prayer that you are willing to share, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may publish it in our OASV blog, sharing it with other compulsive eaters looking for inspiration and a means to conscious contact with their Higher Power.