When you pray, move your feet

There’s an African proverb that says, “When you pray, move your feet.” It has never made sense to me to sit on the couch praying, when there was something I could do to achieve my heart’s desire, so that saying sits well with me.

But I have also been accused of feeling that I need to “earn my keep” in the Universe–that I must always do, and cannot just be. I’ve never really known how much I should be doing and how much I should be leaving to the Universe.

The other day, I read a quote by Abraham Hicks that’s really been bugging me:

Trying too hard IS resisting… for this reason — think about this — if you decide that you want to go to the grocery store and buy a quart of milk, do you ever find yourself trying too hard? Or do you just go get it?

And the reason you just go get it is because you have absolute knowledge – you KNOW. You know you have the ability to go, you know you have the money in your purse, you know the milk will be there when you get there. In other words, there is no doubt and so there is no trying against anything. And so whenever you’re trying too hard, what is happening is there is a part of you that is not believing that it can be.

That all makes sense, but what’s bugging me is: where is the dividing line between trying enough and trying too hard? Where is the dividing line between praying and moving your feet? I mean, do you sit on the couch and pray for a quart of milk, visualize a quart of milk, believe in a quart of milk, have faith that a quart of milk will come to you. . . or do you just go to store and get it? What do you take care of yourself, and what do you leave to the Universe?

I’ve wrestled with this a lot, and forgive me if it’s too obvious, but here’s what I’ve come up with:

My to-do list

  • Everything within my power

The Universe’s to-do list

  • Everything else

It’s that whole you-can’t-win-the-lottery-unless-you-buy-a-ticket argument. I buy my ticket, and the Universe lines that up with the winning numbers.

But maybe I’ve become over-invested in how the Universe answers my prayers.  I mean, isn’t the lottery-ticket analogy basically saying, “OK, Universe, I want money, and here’s how I want you to provide it for me”? If I were the Universe, that’d piss me off. If my son said, “Mama, let’s go to the beach” and then said, “OK, get your purse. Do you have your car keys? Get in the car and start it. Back out of the driveway and turn left when you come to the end. Did you remember my skim board? Turn your blinker on, and then turn left on Thompson Road. Did you remember to bring a towel? OK, now turn your blinker on and turn right on the highway. Watch for traffic!” I’d say, “Forget it. There’s no room for me in this.”

But if I focus on the “what” and let the Universe figure out the “how,” doesn’t that mean praying and not moving my feet?

I’m so confused.