It seems AA has many wonderful steps to recovery. I have of course heard of the Twelve Step Program, but not this little prayer until now. My devotional, Living Faith, mentioned the prayer in conjunction with Luke 10:21: “…although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”
Jesus is asking us to let go of our preconceptions, our deceptions, and our play acting, to let our walls and barriers down. He asks us to trust him in all things, to listen, and to learn as a child with eagerness and openness.
As adults we so often stay locked in our judgments, unable to open up and see the truth about others and ourselves. We become distant in order to avoid pain, to avoid feeling, and we lose out, big time. By blocking out the unpleasant emotions, we also eliminate the pleasant.
The Set Aside Prayer asks God for help to open our minds, changing our perceptions and thus our pre-judgments.
“Dear God, please set aside everything I think I know (about myself …. [insert any addiction or undesirable behavior] and all spiritual terms, and especially about you, God) so I may have an open mind and a new experience (with all these things). Please help me see the Truth. Amen.”
I have edited the portion regarding the alcoholic’s addictions from the original prayer, but we all have them in some form. Perhaps not as devastating as alcoholism, but enough to influence our lives, particularly the tendency to pre-judge others based on flawed preconceptions.
This prayer, coupled with the prayer of St. Francis, is the perfect step toward moving us away from our self-centered view of the world. The timing is perfect for the beginning of Advent, the joyful season.
Experts say the best remedy for melancholy is to do something for someone else, ties right in with the gift-giving season. After all, a gift doesn’t have to be some kind of merchandise. One of the best gifts is the gift of self, caring for another in need whether it is a phone call, a visit, performing a task, or just being there without judgements or preconceptions, keeping our minds and heart open to another’s joy or pain.
Yes Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb: and the leopard shall lied down with the kid: the calf and the lion, and the sheep shall abide together, and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6