Too often we worry about the words we use in prayer. We focus on the words.
What really counts is the spirit and intent behind our words. It is the spirit
and intent that the Creator responds to. He reads and listens to our heart.
Prayer isn't only when we fold our hands and pray. Prayer is when we talk to the
Creator even when we are walking down a path or sitting on a hill or walking in
the mountains. The Elders say, walk in prayer. We should be willing to talk with
the Great One.
Great Spirit, today I will pray to You all day. Listen to my heart.
Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
The Cherokees were religious people, holding many of the things in their
natural world to be sacred. Stories kept alive from generation to generation told of the spiritual beings who created the Earth, Sun, Moon and Stars. The one supreme being was named YOWA, a name so sacred that only certain priests were allowed to say it aloud , YOWA was a unity of three beings refered to as "The Elder Fires Above" (cho ta auh ne le eh)
When the Creator God, YOWA, had given form to the Earth he left the Sun and
the Moon to govern the world. They in turn appointed fire to take care of
mankind using smoke as its messenger.
A belief in spirits and in the afterlife was strong and a person's spirit was thought to retrace his places of residence after he had died.
A priest was singled out from childhood for very special religious training. He was taught the use of herbs and of the sacred quartz crystals used in religious practice. The most sacred objects were kept in the council house, including the "ark", probably containing a large quartz crystal.
Very little of the ancient ceremony or religion exist today. As a whole the
Cherokee people have embraced the Christian religion and have a significant number of churches of various denominations on the reservation.
The belief in the Great spirit made the movement toward Christianity an easy one .
Yigaquv osaniyu adanvto adad naqvv utlogasdi nihi
(May the Great Spirit's Blessing always be with you)
Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds,
and whose breath gives life to all the world
I come before you, one of your children.
I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes
ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made, my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise, so that I may know the things you have taught my People.
The lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength not to be superior to my brothers,
but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself.
Make me ever ready to come to you,
with clean hands and straight eyes,
so when life fades as a fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.
you find yourself the victim of
other people's bitterness,
smallness or insecurities;
Remember, things could be
You could be them!!!
Well, it had been yet another bad day in the office, and once again it
was the fault of that new girl, MaryAnne. She is one of those
Wiccans, a so-called witch. How can anyone in their right mind make
this claim, knowing that it goes against God and all of the teachings
of the bible?
She doesn't even have the common decency to keep her satanic symbol,
her pentagram necklace hidden from the view of the decent, God
fearing people in the office. She has some nerve.
I find that I cannot hate her for this though, for I know that she
has been deceived. Satan works his evil in ways that she cannot see.
I've seen that so called Wiccan Rede that she has tacked to the wall
above her computer.
On the surface, it looks like a decent loving belief, but all one
must do is look, look closely and see that by practicing this way,
and not embracing Jesus Christ as savior she is on the pathway to
hell. As I've said, it was a bad day in the office.
Three times in the past few weeks I have been called in to see my
supervisor, and he has told me that I am not allowed to preach to
MaryAnne the word of God, to show her the error of her ways. Today,
my supervisor told me that if I continue to "harass" MaryAnne, he
will be forced to terminate me. How can he say this? He himself is a
God fearing man. And, how can he be so tolerant of the evil that he
sees insinuating itself into our workplace?
As I laid myself down to sleep last night, I asked the Lord for
guidance. "God, grant me a true vision of you, so that I may better
lead the faithless onto the righteous path."
"Oh, a true vision of Me is it? Are you sure that you're ready, truly
ready to see, my son?"
I sat bolt upright in bed, and there, at the foot of my bed, white of
hair and beard, in a long, flowing white robe, stood the Lord my God.
I made to leap from the bed and fall to my knees in front of Him, but
he stopped me with a gesture. "Kneel not before me at this time my
son. Instead, rise and walk with Me, so that you may get a glimpse of
what I truly am, as you asked of me in your prayer."
He took my hand, and as I looked, my bedroom was no longer there, but
a pathway through the woods. We started to walk, and I was too awestruck
for words. We took the path to the left, and we were then inside St.
Catherine's Church, in the middle of a service. While still standing
beside me, God seemed to expand and fill the whole of the church. I
could see smiles of contentment forming on some of the parishioners
faces. I felt blessed.
God smiled upon me."The Catholics hold such pretty masses, don't
they? I like to stop here in this church, because not only do they
speak the words, but they live the life, through teaching, helping the
sick and poor, not only with handouts, but helping them learn to help
themselves. Now let us walk on," And we were back on the pathway.
We traveled a bit further along, and then were in the parlor of a
funeral home. A young woman was kneeling before the casket, resting
her head on it and crying. I could see by the similarity, that this
dead man must be her father. God knelt beside her, and drew His arms
about her. "Miss him, that is all right, but weep not for him, for
now he is with Me". She wiped her eyes, and stood with a sad smile
upon her face, and said "Good-bye Daddy. I'll miss you," and turned
and left the room.
And we were back on the pathway. We walked a little ways, and we were
in front of a large lodge of some kind. I could hear music and
laughter spilling out of the windows. I turned to look at God, and
was shocked to see, not the flowing white robe, but Him wearing
leather and animal furs, his hair and beard now the color of wheat,
and a sword strapped across His back.
He strode forth, and I saw him approach a figure I had not seen
before. As I looked close, I was shocked to see that it was the
same face that I had just seen dead, but looking young and strong, and
dressed in ancient looking garb, an ax strapped to his waist. God
strode up to him and grabbed him in a great bear hug. "Welcome my
son. We've been waiting for you. Now, go inside and raise a cup or
two, and meet with your brother." And, with a hearty slap on the
back, he sent the man inside. And then we were back on the pathway.
We walked a bit further, and then we were in a mosque. At least I
believed so, as I had never been in one before, but had seen pictures
of them. The group of worshipers was not large, but I could see
their rapt faces as they listened to the mullah speak. He was
speaking to them of purity, both of the mind and the body, bringing
them closer to Allah.
And as he spoke, God, dressed now in the robes of the desert, walked
among them and briefly laid his hands upon each set of shoulders.
>From their faces, I could see that these men knew that the words of
the mullah were true, and that their spirits felt touched by God. And
then we were back on the pathway.
After we had walked a bit, we found ourselves in an African village.
People with skin as black as night, the women with their breasts
shamefully bared, were dancing in a circle, to the rhythm of the
drums being played by a group of men.
Somehow though, I was not offended by the bared breasts, and the music
seemed to seep into my soul. God was then a mighty lion, and He let
forth a mighty roar. The villagers did not seem to hear, but the
drums increased their pounding, and the dancers danced with a frenzy.
And then we were back on the pathway.
We walked a bit more, and were on the top of a cliff. There sat,
painted and covered with feathers, an old Navajo man. As I watched,
he seemed to change into the form of an eagle and take flight, and we
were flying with him, soaring high into the air, seeing the vista
spread out below us.
And God, in the form of an eagle Himself, seemed to guide this other
eagle through the air, over mountains and through valleys, until he came
upon a group of men. As I watched, the old Navajo man was no longer
an eagle, but a young boy instead, and he sat at the feet of these
men, to listen to the words of his elders. And then we were back on
We traveled a bit, and then we were in a forest clearing. I knew this
place. It was known as a place of devil worship and evil. In the
center of the clearing roared a great bonfire, and kiwi torches
outlined a circle of sorts. Inside this circle, in a circle
themselves, stood 6 men and 7 women, dressed in robes of varying
colors, their arms raised to the moon. Was that woman MaryAnne? I
really couldn't be sure.
And God walked among them in the circle, touching each one. He seemed
not to be an older man now, but as he made each of three turns around
the circle, he was first a young girl, bouncing with energy, then a
woman of middle years, with a tender smile for all Her children, and
finally, an old woman, body bent, but holding Her head up with pride.
And a woman stepped forward, and yes, it was MaryAnne, and lifted her
head to the sky. "Great Goddess, Mother of us all, thank you for
joining us tonight. Stay if You will, go if You must. Know in our
hearts You will always be welcome. Blessed be!!" And we were back on
As we walked along, ahead in the distance I saw the most beautiful
man. Yes, beautiful, though I would never normally think of a man
this way. With blonde hair, and a golden robe, he seemed to radiate
sunshine. God and this golden man nodded to each other as they
passed, sharing a smile together.
"My Lord" I asked, "was that an angel?"
"Well, yes, he is known as that to some. He is also known to some as
a god himself. That was Lucifer"
And His words caused me to stumble. I couldn't believe that we had
just passed the ultimate evil. God looked at me, and He knew my
mind. And he chuckled a bit. "Think about it logically My son. The
Lucifer that you know is a fallen angel, cast out of heaven for
challenging Me. If I am the all powerful being, above all others, how
could he do this? How could I allow it?"
"But, in the Bible...." I stammered.
"The Bible is a wonderful book, as are the Koran and the Torah and
many others, but they are just books, written by the hand of man, not
written by Me. And, it's a bit confusing as well if the truth be
known, but that's not up to Me to fix. These books are wonderful, but
only as guidance, for each man and woman must think for themselves."
And, I believed He was right in this.
"Now, come forth, we must journey a little more before you go back"
and He took my hand once again.
As we followed the pathway, we soared through the stars, listening to
the music of the heavens, we became a little flower and a mighty oak,
we became a babbling brook, and a mighty ocean. We flitted from
flower to flower as a little honey bee, and ran across the plains as
a mighty stallion.
And, all too soon the pathway returned us to my home. God held my
hand a moment longer, and smiled into my face. "My son, you prayed
tonight for a true vision of Me. For vision, you must only open your
eyes and see what there is to see. Good night to you". And then He
was gone, and I was back in my bed.
A dream I thought, only a dream, that couldn't have been real. At
that time, a bolt of lightning lit up my room through the window, and
thunder crashed through the sky, and I thought I heard, from seemingly
far away, "Remember, the Lord works in mysterious ways My son".
This morning as I entered the office, I went to the machine for a cup
of coffee, and standing there, I spied MaryAnne. As I approached her,
I could see her barely cringe, and I could see in her face that she
was expecting yet another onslaught from me and my book. She seemed
to cast her eyes about for a way to escape, but there was none.
I walked up to her and smiled. "I think I owe you a bit of an
apology" I said. "I've been a bit narrow minded of late, and I really
had no right to subject you to what I did. It's not up to me to say
how you find your path to your spirit, and I was wrong to think that
was so," MaryAnne just stood there, not knowing what to say.
"So, I just wanted to say that I'm so sorry, and I hope you will
forgive my trespass. God bless you MaryAnne, and...uh...Blessed Be?"
May those with whom we share ourselves be open and understanding,
that they may be shown what spirituality is to them...and how it may
not be as different as they think...
"Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather, all over the earth the
faces of living things are all alike...
Look upon these faces of children without number and with children in
their arms, that they may face the winds and walk the good road to
the day of quiet."
-- Black Elk (1863-1950)
Oglala Sioux Holy Man
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