The first version on this was deleted by mistake. No worries. I'm happy to revisit this. Especially in light of what I've discussed since.
The first lesson from Jesus is that we need to live our lives in love. Acts of love are the source of morality or the moral code. And the point that Jesus wanted to make is that to live in love is a command. Not a choice. You have to love one another - love your family, love your friends, love your enemies, even. This last bit, loving your enemies, is the hardest bit. It's hard enough to love strangers. But love your enemies? Really? That's why we have a moral code, and laws.
The next bit, which Jesus puts first, it's to love God. We don't normally turn to God until we need Him. Most of the time, we're just too busy living our lives. And that's fine. I don't think He minds. But we do need to spend time with Him. And Jesus tells us that He cherishes that.
Praying is simply spending time with God. And you do this by finding a quiet place and calming your mind. But your mind does not stop working. The thoughts continue, often without your volition. All you can do is slow down your breathing and focus on doing that. The aim is to calm down, not stop thinking. As thoughts appear and you become conscious of them, examine the thought and give it to God. If it's a happy thought, thank Him. If it worries you, ask Him to help you solve it. And if you feel weighed down by it, give it to Him. Ask Him to solve it. If you desire something or someone, thank Him for inspiring you. And ask Him to guide you along. If you are defeated, tell Him and let it go. If you feel guilty because you did something stupid or wrong, confess it and ask Him to help you make it right. Just keep coming back to your breathing and experiencing the calmness.
It's not easy to do. Especially if you have a lot on your plate. But research has shown that this practice has helped in every situation. It is a practice that very many people do, from believers to agnostics. It goes by different names and there are different versions. But the heart of it is to slow down your breathing and experience the calmness. This version is, I think, the simplest version and removes some of the concerns that some have about how to pray.
The benefits that come from this can be explained in two ways - it comes from you (your inner or true self) or from God. There are consequences depending on which view you take. Take the one that leads you to peace.
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