So many books, DVDs and other programs have promised abundance and prosperity over the last few years. Millions of people have flocked to the teachings of “The Law of Attraction” in hopes of transforming their lives and attracting love, money and fulfillment.
And millions of people are also finding that these programs don’t work. And if they do work, the effects are temporary. Why? Because the lessons of these programs are incomplete and totally out of order. They skip the important steps, the elements of personal and spiritual transformation that are necessary to provide a solid foundation to build upon.
Most “Law of Attraction” techniques do not require any kind of accountability and therefore they do not work.
One great truth of the law of abundance is this: We cannot manifest something that is not in the best interest of the world around us. We do not live in a vacuum. We live on a planet with almost seven billion other people. To manifest everything that we desire, we must learn how to live in harmony with the bigger picture, and find our own place in God’s plan as a member of the human family. Of course, becoming aligned with our own spiritual nature and destiny will likely change the specifics of what it is we truly desire, making it that much easier to attain.
Essence of Transformation
What we are reaching for here is something that endures in our lives. That is the essence of transformation. Before manifesting abundance, we must dig down into the deepest recesses of our hearts and souls. We must examine our beliefs about ourselves, about a Higher Power (whatever we choose to call it – God, Spirit, the Universe, the Goddess, Divine Intelligence) – and about our fellow human beings. Because it is in understanding the synergy of those relationships – that we are all connected and must work together – that we will find dramatic results. It is not enough to know what we want. You must also know why we want it, and what we will do once we have it! All of those elements impact the world around us, and therefore must be considered.
The real secret to changing our lives dramatically and permanently is service: service to something that is greater than us, whether that is God, our community, the planet or its people. And it is not until we embrace our place in a world of seven billion people, and make a commitment to better this world, that we will gain access to our own personal – and lasting – abundance.
Jesus did, indeed, say “Ask and it is given, knock and it is opened to you.” But that phrase has been misinterpreted and taken out of context in a way that diminishes its ultimate power. Unfortunately, those who quote the “Ask and it is given” verse for the purposes of instant manifestation rarely discuss it in the context that Jesus, our master teacher, presented it. The passages that precede “Ask and it is given” contain extensive instructions for living a good and responsible life first, so that we may then “ask” – and subsequently “receive” – as a reward for living in harmony with God’s plan.
There is extraordinarily good news here, even if it takes a little more work to find it than we may have originally been led to believe. Jesus was giving us the key to unlocking the mysteries of the universe through perfecting our souls and answering to God. He did teach us that we can manifest everything we need and want in our lives – if we follow the rules set out for us. And he also gave us the tools to use for that purpose: It can all be found within the fifty or so words that make up the Lord’s Prayer.
Living a Perfect Life
In my own journey as a writer and researcher, I came across an amazing prayer practice that was taught by a Christian sect in France during the Middle Ages. For these medieval Christians, the Lord’s Prayer was not only the cornerstone of their faith; it was the guidebook to living a perfect life.
They understood that every word of the prayer was carefully considered by Jesus, and given to us as a loving and careful instruction for building our faith while living a joyous life through God. I began to work through this prayer as a spiritual practice in the medieval manner, which breaks the prayer down into seven lessons about life: Faith, Surrender, Service, Abundance, Forgiveness, Overcoming and Love – in that order. The results were astounding and immediate. My faith was strengthened and my life transformed in ways I could never have imagined prior to learning how to live through this prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer is now, as it was when Jesus lived, the incorruptible formula for personal and global transformation. But the lessons must be accomplished in order or they do not work.
Only after working through the first three lessons found in the prayer – Faith, Surrender and Service – will the request for Abundance be effective. We cannot have effortless abundance unless we earn it – and it is earned through getting clear on our faith, surrendering our ego and embracing our place as a member of the global human community through a commitment to service.
There is a reason that abundance is the fourth teaching, and not the first. Putting abundance first is similar to sending a teenager into a master’s or doctoral program, before he completed basic college courses. The student is simply not ready and doesn’t have the foundation necessary to master the more complex teachings to come. Manifestation programs that tell us to skip directly to asking for whatever we want are not only misleading, they actually set back our spiritual growth and make it much harder for us to find enduring abundance.
While this prayer was first taught by Jesus Christ, one does not have to be a practicing Christian to use it. One of the more revolutionary aspects of Jesus’ life was that he did not discriminate in his teachings, and preached that the kingdom of God was for everyone. Jesus found everyone worthy as he recognized us all as his family under God. Thus, there is a pure, universal nature to this prayer and the practice that accompanies it. It is essentially non-denominational, and I have shared this approach to friends from Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and even pagan backgrounds.
In Jesus’ time, his words inspired people who lived amidst great chaos and disillusionment. In the 21st century, we find ourselves in trying circumstances of perhaps a similar nature: war, famine, genocide, crime, economic collapse and corruption fill the headlines of our newspapers. Jesus provided a tool of grace for his own embattled world and he provided one for us in our time. The Lord’s Prayer is timeless, and yet it has as much application now, if not more, than it had when it was first spoken in Galilee and Jerusalem.
The Lord’s Prayer is our instruction manual for creating heaven on earth, and while the prayer is only a few lines long, the layers of meaning within it could fill volumes. The greatest of the medieval minds knew how to find that meaning, and they have left that gift to us as their legacy, in the stone of their cathedrals and in the memory of their teachings.
There is no mystery here, no secret. Jesus literally shouted from a mountaintop the only magic words we will ever need, to live a life of perfect joy and unlimited abundance!
Two thousand years later, isn’t it finally time that we listened?