My practice of Step eleven has changed often throughout the years I’ve been sober. I’ve experimented with many different prayers, different meditation techniques and different inspirational readings. I searched for that one magical spiritual formula that would allow me to feel the strong, loving arms of my Higher Power wrapped around me. I never found it. Instead it often feels like I am saying my prayers with my fingers crossed behind my back.
What I finally came to realize is that Step Eleven, like all the other steps, is not about feeling, it’s about doing. When I make the time just to sit still and be quiet with intention of communicating with my Higher Power, all sorts of marvelous things happen. I demonstrate my willingness. I put myself in a one-down position to God, inviting him to come into my life. I relax my mind and crack open the door to spiritual help. I’ve learned that help always comes when I sincerely ask for it. I may not even realize when help arrives and it may not come in the form I expect. But it comes. I’m sure of it.
The only prayer I’ve practiced consistently throughout my sobriety is a simple prayer of thanks. I say this prayer every night while I lie in bed, just after I turn off the light. I say “thank you God for a beautiful day.” That’s it. I’ve said this prayer for so long, I find I can’t fall asleep unless I say it. What I find remarkable about my prayer is that I say it even if my day has not been outwardly beautiful. A few months ago my wife lay suffering in the hospital following complicated surgery. I heard the words of my prayer come out of my mouth and the voice of my ego said, “hey, wait a minute, how can you think this has been a beautiful day?” Another voice answered, “I don’t know how I can think it, I just do.”