Friday, September 14, 2012

Re-post from Examiner, February 2, 2012

"I pray," you're probably thinking. Most people do, at some point in their lives. You've put your hands together, perhaps even gone down on your knees, and said a proscribed set of words or begged for something to arrive or go away. This is only one type of prayer, though, and there are many at  your disposal. Before delving into different types, ask yourself what the purpose of prayer is.

Prayer is most simply explained as talking to God. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jew, Wiccan, Buddhist or a member of some other belief system, when you pray you are directing words to the Higher Power in charge of your world. Your purpose in praying is to communicate to God your fears, concerns, devotion, love, or confusion. The purpose of prayer is to communicate.

There is no secret to perfect prayer, just as there is no secret to communicating with friends and family. If you sit (or kneel or prostrate yourself) to pray with an open mind and a good idea of what you want to say, you will do just fine.
Over the years, people have given different names to forms of prayer: blessing (thanking Deity for gifts received), intercessory (asking Deity to intercede to help another person), petition (asking Deity to bring something to the person praying), thanksgiving (saying thank you to Deity for the joys and sorrows of life), and praise (without asking for anything, glorifying the Deity). Most prayers fall into one of these five categories. 

Remember that a prayer is any communication with your Higher Power. This is one of the reasons certain sects of the Abrahamic faiths expect their followers to never swear. Using the name of God to curse another is a very negative form of prayer, and is destructive to the self! Before blurting out "damn you!" or some other explosive phrase, consider what you are saying, and to whom it is directed. 

Consider the five main forms of prayer, and how you have used them in the past. Have you used one form over another? Is there a type of prayer that you do not like or have never used? Think about the reasons you have or have not used the different forms, and why!
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