What Is Prayer And Why Do We Pray?
What is Prayer By Jan Engels-Smith
Prayer is focused energy with strong intent. Developing a healthy prayer life is part of the dedication that is required for the journey on the spiritual path. Prayer can take many forms—formal, informal, casual, elegant, spoken, silent. All are acceptable and all are heard. There is no right way to pray, however, some prayers can be extremely powerful. If it comes from the heart, and you understand the laws of energy, prayer can be truly miraculous.
Prayer is a powerful energy. It not only connects you to the Force-greater-than-self, but it stimulates the power of creative energy within you and puts into action your ability to create. You literally merge energies with Source. You step beyond limitations and into the realm of possibilities. It is a powerful means of adding energy to one’s desires. Each time you pray, you add layers of energy to your desires. Thought forms emerge and energy multiplies. The more faith and trust you have, the more you stay in joy or peace with your feelings the faster thought/prayer manifests into physical reality.
Prayer is an expression of gratitude, of love, and of relationship. It helps you to center yourself and gives nourishment to the soul. It recognizes your divine connection, reconnects you with your own holiness, and nurtures your relationship with Spirit. Your soul is held in the body, a fragile and limiting vessel. Prayer literally transcends the limitations of the body and the linear mind controlling it, into the non-linear space of Spirit. It allows you to open up and to expect that things can be created which do not yet exist, even things beyond your current grasp. Your soul knows this. Prayer serves as a passageway out of the concrete mind and into the realm of possibilities.
Prayer also serves as a medium for building trust and faith. It is a communication, between the universe and yourself, which recognizes the divinity in both. It helps you to prioritize, to reevaluate, to self-reflect, and to discern your needs and desires. The act of prayer is an expression of your confidence in a larger divine order, and in the significance of your own existence. It expresses a faith in life and life’s experiences. As you walk the spiritual path, you develop a respect for a Force- greater-than-self. You learn to love life in all of its forms and to treat life with respect and reverence. Prayer becomes an overt way to express this growing awareness to yourself and to the universe.
The longing of the soul for connection is answered in prayer. It is the foundation for spiritual connection. If you desire connection, prayer must be built into your life in a way that will withstand the daily pressures and interruptions of life. The quantity of time is not important, but the priority is.
How to maximize your experience of prayer:
1. Commit yourself to a daily communication with Spirit through prayer. Your relationship will be enhanced immeasurably.
2. Set realistic goals for yourself. Don’t try to set up a monk-like routine if you’ve not previously incorporated prayer into your life. According to the teachings of hypnosis, it takes 21 days to create a new habit. Can you pray ten minutes a day for 21 days? If so, you can establish the habit of prayer.
3. Find a quiet time for prayer. It may mean you have to get up earlier or stay up later to find a time that will work for you. Once you’ve established the time, stick to it. Don’t let other “busyness” get in the way of your special time.
4. Give thanks for all things, especially for those things, which have not yet been manifested. You will discover that prayers are often answered before they are even asked.
5. Remember that prayer is energy and follows Universal laws such as the Laws of Attraction.
• Negative energy begets negative energy. Always state desires positively. If you say to Spirit, “I want a new job. I hate this one, it is terrible”, the resultant energy is about wanting, hating, and sadness or anger. Energy doesn’t evaluate; it merely multiplies and manifests. Eventually, the negativity of your energy will make the job more and more difficult. Alter the energy by reframing the prayer to say, “Thank you Great Spirit for the divine job. Thank you for open doors of new opportunities.”
• Requests for the future stay in the future. Claim your desires in the now. Time doesn’t exist in the spiritual realm. If you are always asking for a wish to be fulfilled someday in the future, then your wish will continue to reside in the future. Your prayer should say, “Thank you for the divine job now.” NOW carries much power.
• Doubts negate prayers. If you are praying with a positive attitude but are thinking, “This is ridiculous. I don’t have my divine job and never will,” your energy of doubt and fear will counteract the positive energy you generated in your prayer. If you pray for ten minutes, giving it all your heart, and then spend the rest of the day thinking about how undeserving you are, how things never really work out for you, and doubting that your prayer could ever be answered, which outcome receives the most energy? A ten-minute prayer cannot compensate for a day of negative thoughts.
• The faith and beliefs behind your prayers will manifest. What you manifest will be in direct proportion to the amount of faith you possess and the peace that you hold in that faith. Jesus, Buddha, the holy ones, healed by faith. They never questioned their power of manifestation. Their faith was/is pure. No doubts filled their minds. Their hearts were filled with love, gratitude, and thankfulness, those are the frequencies of desired outcomes.
6. Faith and your level of trust will determine your relationship with Spirit. Prayer requires faith, a belief in the unseen, that which cannot be proven. It is “knowing” with an assurance that defies the rational mind. Faith with trust can only be established through having an intimate relationship with Spirit. All relationships are as strong as the trust embodied in them, and a relationship with Source is no different.
7. Establish a ritual space for your prayer. Creating a sacred space for prayer supports your prayer and enhances your state of awareness. It brings honor and reverence to the process of praying and declares that you are taking the time and energy to connect with Spirit. You create this sacred space through intention. Although there is no defined protocol for the appearance of sacred space, some of these hints might help you create a space of your own:
- The space is personal and will reflect you and what you believe. It can be a single Buddhist pillow in an empty room or a fancy decorated altar. Keep it holy by respecting it.
- Choose objects that have meaning to you. Choose wisely and remember your objects will carry energy. The energy is real and it will have an impact on the energy of your prayers. Take care of your sacred items, clean them and honor them for it is through them that you are connecting.
- Ask the place if it would like to honor you and your prayers. In the process of choosing your place, always ask. Asking is a major component of respect for all things, including places. The answer will become clear to you.
- Dedicate the space with a ritual of some sort. You might sing, pray, chant, rattle, drum, meditate, or bless the space with water. Use your imagination. Whatever works to make the place feel special and cleansed will be appropriate. Be still and notice what you feel, hear, and see, and what your intuition is saying to do. Draw energy down from above and up from the earth; fill your spot with divine light.
- After the ordination of your sacred space, it will become your holy place of prayer. With love, respect, and honoring of the space, it literally becomes sacred. When you enter, it will be for prayer and meditation, a time when you and Creator share in building your relationship.
My own sacred space
When people walk in to my healing space where I do my prayers, most say, “It feels wonderful in here.” They are responding to my intention, to the love, energy, and relationship I have built with Spirit in my room. My space reflects my extremely eclectic belief system. I have everything from angels to animal bones in my sacred space. I also like to honor Spirit with fresh flowers on my altar, usually roses, as a gift from my heart. My particular spirit allies love roses and I can feel the energy of delight when I place them on my altar. When the roses open wide, I gather the petals and sprinkle them under my favorite Douglas Fir tree as a gift to the forest, always thankful and grateful for what Spirit brings to my life. My intent is to be conscious of my interconnection with all things. Everything is done from genuine love and respect. I believe that all acts of respect help to build my relationship with Spirit and enhance the energy of my prayers.
As you sit at the same place each day to pray, you will find that your space will begin to accumulate a tremendous amount of energy. This energy stays and lingers in your sacred place. The thought form created by your daily prayers will reinforce stilling the mind, settling into prayer, and connecting with Spirit. You energetically react, so your entire being prepares for prayer as soon as you enter this space. Each day this thought form builds energy and multiplies. It quickens your state of awareness and opens your nonlinear mind. With time you will discover that the moment you enter your sacred space, you fill with the sacred energy of prayer and meditation.
You have probably noticed thought forms of sacred energy in places you have visited. Have you ever walked into a sacred temple, a church, a beautiful setting in nature, a Sundance arbor, or other holy setting, where you could feel the power of the place? Innately you knew that something sacred or holy took place in this space. This energy affected you in some way. This is because the energy of prayer or holy intention lingers in such sacred spots. I remember a hike that I took in Hawaii. At a certain location I suddenly became keenly aware of sacred energy all around me. I could feel the presence of love, sexuality, and intimacy. Upon inquiring about the area, I learned it was the site of holy ceremony, usually weddings, which the natives of the island still performed there.
Pray mindfully, and with an open heart. Respect all things. Be thankful. Create a sacred space with honor, intention, and love. In these ways you will add energy to the universe that will change your life and the lives of countless others.
Questions to ponder:
What does your prayer life look like? What kind of relationship do you have with Source? Are you satisfied with your relationship with Spirit, with the universe? How much effort do you put into this relationship? In comparison to other relationships that you have, how much time does Source get? Prayer establishes this relationship. If you are unhappy with your prayer life, then the next question would be, how can you change it? What do you want it to look like? You need to decide how it will work in your life. How much time and effort are you willing to invest in prayer? Do you want a relationship with Spirit or do you want to just request from Spirit? You always have these choices.
If prayers can be sent to Spirit by thoughts, then thoughts are prayers.
If thoughts are prayers, then what have you been praying all day?