Hi, lovely ones!
What is prayer? It’s simply talking to God or Spirit or Universal Source, or whoever it is you talk to and rely on for your spiritual comfort and support.
I can’t teach you how to pray. How we pray as individuals depends on so many factors: how you were raised, if you were raised in a religious tradition, if your parents taught you to pray or prayed with you, your current religious or spiritual beliefs, and so forth.
I was raised Catholic. My dad prayed with my sister and I every night for most of our childhoods. That really set the foundation for me for daily prayer. I remember when I was about 17, the subject of prayer came up. I still lived at home and we went to Mass every week. Mom asked my sister and I, “Do you two still pray at night?”
Our reaction was kind of like, “Uh, of course, Mom,” like in the way if she’d asked us “Do you two brush your teeth every day?”
Praying for other people was always part of my life. My first experience with knowing that prayer can work for others started at age 6. Dad was working for a children’s hospital in the Boston area that was run by a religious order of nuns. He started asking us to pray every night for a Sister Margaret, who had cancer. We prayed for her for about a year, I think, but it was just part of the routine list of family we prayed for nightly.
Some time later Dad told us that Sister Margaret was in remission. She even sent a card to the house thanking us for our prayers.
Now, for the skeptics out there (and remember I’m a nurse), I’m quite sure that Sr. Margaret was going through chemotherapy and radiation or whatever else that medical science can give. And at my young age I knew (and my parents probably told me) that she was being treated for the cancer. But nonetheless, I got a powerful lesson in how people praying for others can affect change in the world.
My current spiritual path (Haitian Vodou) is based in Catholicism and African/African and Native American spiritual paths. Catholic prayer is a part of Vodou, to begin services for the lwa and in private devotion. This is a comfortable aspect of the path for me because it was how I was raised. However, we also sing prayers. We dance prayers as well; praying, singing and dancing all go together when serving the lwa.
Prayers and talking to your Spirit from the heart are the very important foundation to a spiritual path or working for others. Whoever you work with, whether it’s God or saints or spirits or orisha or WHOEVER, you have to talk to them. Prayer is just talking with a focus.
You can light a simple candle and just talk to God or whoever like you’d talk to a good friend. You can whine, cry, sing, or just tell them what kind of sandwich you’re going to eat. You can read out loud from the Bible if you like, or from any holy book. I sometimes tell jokes to my ancestors, or tell them about current events in my family and elsewhere. The energy of your voice is a vibration (all sounds are vibrations) and that vibrational energy gives God/Spirit/Ancestors an energetic boost and, therefore, more power in your life.
However, non-verbal or mental prayer is also fulfilling and effective. I’ll pray throughout the day silently, especially if I’m with people. The most effective kind of prayer is the kind you actually do
And while you’re at it, check out The Crystal Silence League, where you can put in free prayer requests and have thousands of people pray for you. Free!