Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Prayer


I'm answering a long bunch of questions as part of a spiritual exercise I am doing. I decided to post some of my answers here, to share my point of view. Comments, as long as they're polite, are more than welcome!

If you were asked to explain prayer to someone, what would you say?

Prayer is talking to God, whereas meditation is listening for an answer. Prayer is that moment when we let go of our daily illusion that we're somehow in control, the moment when we admit that a Higher Power does lead us in some mysterious fashion. Prayer is speaking in your mind or out loud those inner thoughts which no other human person can safely hear, and knowing in your heart that it's okay.

What does prayer mean to you?

Prayer is the time when I sit alone and bare my soul to my gods. Even if someone is physically present (such as in bed at night, or in church or class) the act of prayer is essentially solitary for me. It is a pure and unadulterated moment when I can say anything, think anything, and be assured that somehow, somewhere, they are listening.

Can you recall a time when you or someone else you know prayed? What was that like?

I've prayed many times, both alone and in groups. I have visited people in hospital and in hospice and prayed with or for them. I am a part of the prayer chain at school, and I engage in healing and intercessory prayer with my church. When I hear of someone suffering or in pain, I will try and say a prayer for them. I find it uplifting, and when I make the time to do it right (uninterrupted and focused) I get a distinct sense of rightness, almost like a pat on the head.

Some people think praying is only for asking God for something. What other purposes are there for prayer?

Prayer is for talking to the gods, asking for help for yourself or for another, for bringing an action or thing to their attention. Prayer can include praise on its own, or may include thanks to one or more gods for things received.  
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