Forgiveness. Jeez, what a subject. The deeper the shock of betrayal, the more we need to experience and process our pain—and the more we need to forgive. But forgiveness is hard. After years of therapy, I know that forgiveness is strongly recommended for our own healing, but it goes against who we are and what happened: “You hurt me. You broke my heart and I will never recover!”
Though I had read the November/December 2007 issue of Edgar Cayce’s Venture Inward magazine when it arrived, I had forgotten its contents. I pulled it out of a stack one day and opened to an article called The 40-Day Forgiveness Prayer By J. Everett Irion. “Hmmm,” I thought. “Forty days? That’s gotta be a serious forgiveness prayer. Could this work?”
Mr. Irion, who passed on in 1994, explains that at a conference on dream studies, he recommended to a man having a discouraging repetitive dream to say a little prayer to his deceased ex-wife once a day for forty days: “Mary, I am praying to you. Thank you, Mary, for doing to me all that you have done. Forgive me, Mary, for all that I have done to you.”
Then he recommended to this man who had only six months to live that he say a similar prayer to his unconscious, inner self: “John, I am praying to you. Thank you, John, for doing to me all that you have done. Forgive me, John, for all that I have done to you.” Mr. Irion recommended the man say the two-pronged prayer once a day for a week. John asked if he could use the prayer to reconcile with living people and the answer was yes.
One year later, Mr. Irion received a letter from John, who thanked him and reported that not only had he been completely healed, he had also just lived the best year of his life.
Inspired, I began the process and immediately noticed a resistance to the idea of thanking someone for hurting or betraying me. Faces of those who had wronged me appeared in my mind’s eye. They should apologize to me! I thought.
But what are we to do with those deep, old wounds eating away at us, which may be affecting the quality of our current relationships? I gotta do something, I thought, and decided to give it a try.
There were so many people for me to choose from, but I chose a medical professional who I believed had charged me for work I didn’t need, and I had connected those expenses in my mind to the little money my children and I had. I was angry and decided to begin with him.
I repeated this prayer every day, twice a day, for 40 days: “Dr. X, I am praying to you. Thank you for doing all that you have done to me. Forgive me, Dr. X, for all that I have done to you.”
It was very hard to mean those words in the beginning, but it got easier after a good portion of the forty days had passed. Near the end of the 40 days, I noticed a change. I saw how my own angry thoughts and emotions had fed the dark, confusing energy around us. I was an equal partner in the situation! With that, my anger was gone. The prayer had done its work.
Mr. Irion wrote that this process offers a good lesson: humility. He was right. It’s easy to forget when we have been wronged that we, in some way, played a historical part in what happened; and that the refusal to forgive continues to drag both parties down.
Prior to using this forgiveness prayer, I thought, “I need time to heal. Then I can forgive.” But many times, that’s an excuse to hold onto anger and self-righteousness. When that is the case, this 40-day prayer can be used immediately and very effectively. The most interesting thing about this prayer is, once you’ve used it, it changes your consciousness and you can’t hold onto anger or pity in the same way as before. You know a ‘truth’ then and you automatically move into, “Thank you for all that you’ve done to me. Please forgive me for all that I’ve done to you.”
Here is some more of his advice:
“After doing the prayer each day, put it out of mind so the prayer can do its work undisturbed by our thoughts, wishes and expectations. The best thing is not to expect any results.
Don’t tell the person to whom you are praying. Talking about it disturbs the operation of the unconscious at a very deep level. Keep track of the 40 days on a calendar. If you forget and miss a day, start at the beginning of the 40-day cycle again.
In a crisis, the prayer can be used over a shorter period of time. Instead of 40 days, use 40 hours. Instead of seven days, use seven hours, or seven minutes, repeating the prayer accordingly.
If you need help in diverting your attention from the prayer and any thoughts about results, try saying, “Thank you, Father,” as often as necessary. This can be said hundreds of times a day if you like.”
Go ahead. Release those chains around your neck!
*Quoted from the November/December 2007 issue of Edgar Cayce’s Venture Inwardmagazine, online at http://www.edgarcayce.org.
Related: A Humbling Experience