This week’s Here’s To Your Health is a continuation of our Step Eleven discussion: Sought through prayer and mediation to improve our conscious contact with God “as we understood Him,” praying only for knowledge of His will for us the power to carry that out. In his book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Bill Wilson said about Step Eleven: Prayer and meditation are our principle means of a conscious contact with God. We AA’s are active folk, enjoying the satisfactions of dealing with the realities of life, usually for the first time in our lives, and strenuously trying to help the next alcoholic who comes along. So it isn’t surprising that we often tend to slight serious meditation and prayer as something not really necessary. To be sure, we feel it is something that might help us to meet an occasional emergency, but at first many of us are apt to regard it as a somewhat mysterious skill of clergymen/women, from which we may hope to get a secondhand benefit. Or perhaps we don’t believe in these things at all.
To certain newcomers and to those one-time agnostics who still cling to the AA group as their higher power, claims for the power of prayer may, despite all the logic and experience in proof of it, still be unconvincing or quite objectionable. Those of us who once felt this way can certainly understand and sympathize. We well remember how something deep inside us kept rebelling against the idea of bowing or kneeling before any God. Many of us had strong logic, too, which proved there was no God whatsoever. What about all the accidents, sickness, cruelty, and injustice in the world? What about all those unhappy lives which were the direct result of unfortunate birth and uncontrollable circumstances? Surely there could be no justice in this scheme of things, and therefore no God at all.
Sometimes we took a slightly different tack. Sure, we said to ourselves, the hen probably did come before the egg. No doubt the universe had a “first cause” of some sort, the God of the Atom, maybe hot and cold by turns. But certainly there wasn’t any evidence of a God who knew or cared about human beings. We liked AA, all right, and we’re quick to say that it had done miracles. But we recoiled from meditation and prayer as obstinately as the scientist who refused to perform a certain experiment lest it prove his pet theory wrong. Of course we finally did experiment, and when unexpected results followed, we felt different; in fact we “knew” different; and so we were sold on meditation and prayer. And that, we have found, can happen to anybody who tries. It has been well said that “almost the only scoffers at prayer are those who never tried it enough…”
In his book, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson said: We are now on a different basis; the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. We are in the world to play the role He assigns. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity.
We never apologize to anyone for depending on our creator. We laugh at those who think spirituality is the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men/women of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us become. At once we commence to outgrow fear.