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The Set Aside Prayer

Opening up to new possibilities.

How many times have you discovered that you are actually standing in your own way? Old habits die hard. Old thinking seems entrenched. Long-held fears are holding tight, and opening up to new possibilities and new storylines seems impossible.

There is a prayer that many people in 12-Step recovery say in the hope of having a new experience. The intention of the prayer is so simple and beautiful. It can be applied to any area of your life: wanting a new experience in relationship to yourself and others, a new experience of faith, any new experience of expanding your comfort zone into uncharted territory.

The Set Aside Prayer


Please help me set aside

everything I think I know

about myself, my disease,

the 12 steps, and especially You;

So I may have an open mind

and a new experience

of all these things.

Please let me see the truth.

The set aside prayer is about believing in new possibilities, even though you can't see them. I once had an interesting conversation with someone about her experience of faith. She said that no one could have told her what chocolate tasted like before she tried it. Imagine trying to convince someone of the amazing taste of chocolate if all they ever had (and loved) was vanilla. There is no way that you can really articulate that sensorial event. Words are insufficient. One actually has to have the experience; but when you have never tried something, and feel like you are just fine on this side of the fence (vanilla is a perfectly enjoyable taste) you can talk yourself right out of anything foreign and new. And then you never really know what you are missing. This prayer opens the door.

May you have a new experience of yourself, your faith, and anything else you are trying to grow in your life. May it be all you ever wanted, even though you never could have articulated it, even if you tried.

Copyright by Ingrid Mathieu, Ph.D., 2011. All rights reserved. Any excerpts reproduced from this article should include links to the original on Psychology Today.

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