How Do You Pray? The Art of Prayer
How Do You Pray? The Art Of Prayer
When we’re struggling with something, many people will say, “I’ll pray for you” and that’s wonderful. I think prayer is helpful. In fact, my decade or so involved in a praying church with prayer warriors as mentors taught me a thing of two about the power of our petitions to God.
I’ve always been intrigued by prayer and the mind/body/spirit connection. I find it fascinating. Lately, seems as if a lot of my family/friends/acquaintances are struggling with some sort of ailment, stress, or something and as most of us do in such times is offer to pray.
But what does this mean, really?
How are we to pray? More specifically, how do we in the spiritual/consciousness tribe pray? How do we go about manifesting our desires for ourselves and others? And what if we want to draw from our religious background?
I spent the winter asking God/Universe/Source/Whatever-you-want-to-call-it how I could bridge my Christianity background and my spiritual life. I mean, there are so many things I love about the Christian faith, along with the Buddhist philosophy… But I was struggling with prayer…
Should I pray? Or just meditate? Should I just make an intention? What works for me?
Sure, some of us meditate and meditation is a wonderful practice. But meditation tends to be more about quieting the mind/ego and cultivating a deeper relationship with self and Spirit. Prayer is a bit different.
What is prayer?
I define prayer as intentional thought mixed with emotion or passion. I remember reading books about prayer by men and women of God who were fervent in their prayers and got results. They were passionate. Zealous. They had a distinct fervor for God that got my attention! They believed that the God they were praying to would hear and answer their heartfelt prayers.
This is the kind of prayer that I tend to resonate with, but let me say up front I’m not into the begging God for things. I’m into voicing my desires with intention and holding it passionately with my attention.
I might add there is actually no right or wrong, as it’s more about experience and individuality. One may close his eyes and silently make a request and bam….God delivers. Another may rise up and declare and stand upon the promises of God zealously and bam….God delivers. I don’t think it so much about form, but more about the heart.
And sometimes God just doesn’t answer the way we want. And no one has really put their finger onto exactly why that is.
According to the Law of Attraction, what you put your focus on, that’s what you get. According to Jesus, we’re to ask for what we want, believe that we have it, and THEN it will come. Both teach that there is something to the emotion behind the prayer. The feelings. The passion. You want something? Concentrate on what it is you want, see yourself having it, feel yourself having it, and then it will come.
Let good feelings lead the way. You want happiness? Feel happy now. Do what makes you feel happy now, even if that simply means petting the cat. Reach for those things that make you happy consistently and you’ll be attracting more happy, so-to-speak.
What if you don’t get what you want?
Part of being here on this planet is learning to not be so attached to outcomes. Buddhism calls this detachment. Christians call this kind of faith knowing that all things lead to our good, even when we don’t get what we “want”. What if we pray and the desired result doesn’t happen? Does prayer work all the time?
No. We don’t always get what we pray for and no one really has the answers as to why. Some say it isn’t the right time or maybe it doesn’t fit into the grand scheme of your life. Maybe you want it, but maybe it’s really not meant for you to have or experience in this lifetime. Or maybe the timing really is off.
How many times have you prayed for something and then later, after not receiving it, you were very grateful? Like that man who you thought was oh-so-fine, yet he turned out to be a narcissist, or addict, or just plain fake? Or the job you thought would have be ahhhh-mazing, but then the company went under a few months down the road?
Synchronicity is important to consider when it comes to prayer. Alignment. Do you really think you’re going to have this tsunami of financial abundance when you’re not responsible with your finances now? Well, you could, but chances are you won’t.
Do you really think that new career is going to fall on your plate when you will not open yourself up to new things? When you cling onto the old out of fear? When you don’t make the effort to create the shift?
But really, how do you pray?
I like to experiment. That’s the curious science geek in me. In my opinion, there are many different ways to pray and there are different types of prayers. There’s affirmative prayer, intentional prayer, assertive prayer, scriptural prayer, silent prayer, mantras, chants, and so on. Try one, try them all. It really is up to you. See what resonates with you. If you like to pray out loud, do it. If you like to pray silently, do it. If gazing at the stars or basking in nature is your prayer, cool! If you want to kneel, go for it, but you can also pray standing up, lying down, walking, and so on.
But as you commit to praying regularly, pay attention to how you’re feeling. Are you passionately praying or are you just going through the motions? Are you at a loss for words? Don’t know how to pray? There are plenty of prayers you can find online. Check them out and see if they resonate with you. But remember, prayer is simply you talking to God. It’s communication, just like you’re talking to a person. It’s asking, but it’s also giving praise, appreciation, time, affirmation, and sometimes just being quiet and standing in awe.
I know for me I’ve upped my prayer life, as well as my worship time via music. I feel a connection to a divine source, who I call God. And this is a good thing!
Take some time to study the subject of prayer. It’s fascinating! Let me know your experiences with prayer too. I’d be happy to hear from you!
Dominica Applegate is an author, writer, and transpersonal spiritual teacher. Her teachings have helped millions of people experience emotional healing, relationship repair, and spiritual awakening. Earning her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling, she worked 12 years in the mental health field before diving full-time into writing.
She runs Rediscovering Sacredness, an online portal that offers inspiration, essays, resources, and tools to help heal inner pain and experience more peace and joy.
Her books include Recycle Your Pain: It Has a Purpose, Into The Wild Shadow Work Journal, and a collection of poetry entitled, The Pain, It Shapes Her World.