I’ve always been a big advocate of prayer. Perhaps it was because I was born and raised Roman Catholic. For those who don’t know, which shouldn’t be many, Roman Catholicism is a type of Catholic Denomination that is Christian in origins. A large focus of the religion is on prayer life, and there are numerous, what I call scripted prayers, within the faith.
What I’m talking about today, however, is not scripted prayer. Scripted prayer is a prayer that has been written down and is read or memorized. No, I’m speaking of affirmative conversational prayer today. A prayer which comes from the heart and is spoken aloud, typically in a quiet or private location.
Whenever someone asks me why I pray, I always tell them, because it works!
When a person prays, they are aligning themselves to energies which exist far above and beyond our mere physical world. They are connecting in with a consciousness that goes deeper than what we as humans could ever even pretend to understand.
Not everything you ask for in prayer, you’re going to be given. Asking for things, though, is not really the true purpose of prayer. If that’s what you believe, you largely misunderstand what prayer is all about and why I do it.
So what is prayer?
At the most basic level prayer is communication with God. Whatever you deem God to be, prayer is about communicating with that energy and force. It’s about allowing the self to be in the presence of God and to experience the goodness, wisdom, and love of God.
You are not reaching outside of yourself to a power that sits loftily in the heavens. Rather, you are turning within yourself to connect with your own soul and the deeper consciousness which your soul is connected with. Through this connection with your own inner soul you are allowing yourself – that soul – to be receptive and open to the God energy that dwells and permeates within every living thing. In doing so and in having open and honest communication with this energy you are allowing your soul – the self – to be open to love, blessings, wisdom, insights, and more that comes from far beyond the physical level of being and existing.
Prayer at this level is an individual skill that can be cultivated and developed and is also very personal.
The Power of Osmosis
Osmosis, as discussed here, is the process of gradual unconscious assimilation of information or habits. Everyone has learned through osmosis at some point and time, even if they didn’t understand that’s what they were doing.
Another way to look at osmosis is that if you are around certain friends for any good length of time and if you on some deep level respect them, you will start to mimic or pick up certain habits and traits which they have. You may, for example, start eating or craving a certain food that previously you hated or didn’t care much for. You could start saying things which they normally say. You could begin to feel or believe in the ways in which they feel or believe. This is all part of the osmosis process of being connected to another.
Well, when we pray we align ourselves with the God consciousness. We communicate with it and listen to it. In doing so, over a period of time, we start to absorb more of God’s habits, thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. We begin to realize that we are very small and that the God-force energy is far greater then what we know how to describe. We change. We become more loving. We become more peaceful. We become more tolerant. We become wiser. We begin to access the Christ consciousness that allows for the creation of miracles in our lives and the lives of others.
This all comes about through constant, continuous, and consistent contact with the God.
So if prayer isn’t about asking for stuff, what do you do in prayer?
I don’t want you to think you can’t ever ask God for things. By all means, it’s perfectly acceptable and okay to do that. The main purpose of prayer should be in communion and connection, though.
Think of it this way. If you have a friend and the only time you hear from them is when they want something from you, how do you eventually start to feel? You feel like you are just being used. That this “friend” only wants you for what you can give to them. You will eventually start to distance yourself from that friend. You may not cut them off completely, but you’ll become very selective about when you choose to interact with them and help them out.
God is no different. God needs to feel loved. God needs to feel cared about. God needs to know He/She/It isn’t just being used. God needs a real connection with us, just like so many of us feel we need real connections with others in our lives. A person can’t be happy with just superficial friendships – rather they need at least one or two good friends that they can connect with on a deeper substantial level. For what reason would we think God would be any different? Shouldn’t God be allowed to have deeper substantial spiritual friendships too? Shouldn’t we?
There are many things you can do when you pray beside ask for things that will serve to deepen your connection to and with God. Examples of just some of these things include:
- Saying thank you for the good things which do come into your life, especially when you’ve not asked for them. How would you feel if you gave someone a present and they didn’t seem to care or notice?
- Telling God about your day – both good and bad. Develop a dialogue with God that is not contingent on just asking. When was the last time you shared with God how excited you were about your favorite sports team, TV show, or any other hobby for that matter?
- Crying to God explaining your worries, troubles, and concerns. You’re not asking God to make things better, you’re simply sharing your pain with God because you trust and love God. It’s no different than a child who falls off a bike and needs mom or dad’s love while they cry for a bit. We all have a need to cry and many times crying alone and with God can be healing.
- Confessing to God the bad things you’ve done and plan to improve upon. Saying I’m sorry directly to God, just like crying to God, can be one of the most healing things you ever do for yourself. Of course, if you’re Catholic you also have the confessional – but regardless of if one chooses to use it or not, just time spent one on one in this manner with God can create lasting change in a person.
- Sitting in contemplation or relaxation with God just to be in God’s presence. Just contemplating God and thinking about God can enrich your spiritual, emotional, mental, and even physical life. It’s similar to sitting with a friend and not speaking. Just having them there can make a huge difference.
As previously mentioned, I don’t want anyone to think they can’t ask God for things. Just work to balance the asking with a true walk with God. A true connection that goes above and beyond scripted prayer and merely asking for stuff.
Also, while we can ask God for anything, it’s important to understand we do not always get what we want when we want it. That’s just a fact of life.
Having said that, there are certain things which we most certainly should ask for constantly and consistently. This include:
- Protection: It’s wise to start every day and end every night with asking for protection from the evil and negativity of the day. Try something similar to “Good morning God! I’m ready to journey forth into this day with you and your guidance. Please help protect me from the negativity and evils of the world and focus on seeing only the good and positive around me.”
- Guidance: When we are faced with a problem or question which we feel is currently blocking us we should not be afraid to talk to God about it and ask God to help show us insights or solutions through the obstacle or problem.
- Love: We should ask for opportunities to both give and receive love. We should understand the when we give love with the right attitude it will always be returned to us provided we are open and willing to accept it.
Isn’t it more powerful to pray with others?
Yes, it can be. Once again, however, cultivating your own personal walk with God is of supreme importance. There are a time and place for group prayers, praying with your spouse, praying with your family, etc. The hierarchy of prayer looks something like this,
- Church/Social Groups
Learning to cultivate prayer life for each is extremely important, but they all start at the personal level. Far too many people pray just at the Church level and forget to embrace prayer in the other levels. Worse still, many people pray at the Church level – go through the routine as I call it – but have never taken the time to walk one on one with God. It’s as if by appearing in Church and listening to the Bible or going through routine prayers is all that’s needed.
Do you want your life to change? Do you want your life to transform? Then try consistent daily prayer, in the manner spoken of here today – in your life along with Church or a “prayer group.”
Are Prayer and Magick the same thing?
Yes and no.
Yes, in that ritualized magick can be seen as a type or form of prayer. In some cases, it’s similar to scripted prayer in that you have something written for you and you follow it as if you’re doing a recipe. Typically there is an invocation of God or one of the facets of God and requesting/demanding that facet act in accordance to your will.
No, in that most often the purpose of ritualized magick is to “want something” and put the right energies into motion to “get what you want” or “manifest a result in the physical plane.” As stated above, at the deepest level prayer is a conversation with and just being connected to Deity, by whatever name you choose to call It.
Having said that, I also practice ritual magick in addition to leading a prayerful life. My ritual magick is most often geared towards improving and/or protecting me and the people I know in some capacity.
Should we pray for other people?
Yes, absolutely! In fact, asking for things on behalf of and for other people is ten times more important than asking for things for yourself! This is especially true when they don’t know you are doing so! You are communicating with God while at the same time sharing your experience with God while also sharing with God the concerns you’ve heard other people mention to you. This is powerful! It’s like going to your parents and saying “Mom/Dad, my brother/sister isn’t feeling well and doesn’t want to tell you, but I know you need to know!”
I won’t get into a debate here on the omnipotence, omnipresence aspect of God. Theologically I know that God knows all things all the time. I also know that God never needs to be told anything. In our physical world which is governed by physics and other scientific laws, however, sometimes if we stop trying to understand God and just treat God like one of us we end up having a much more fulfilling and content life. This is part of the purpose of prayer – to have that fulfillment and contentment that can only come from the deep-rooted inner spiritual connection to God.