Scroll to the bottom of this page for links to more articles on prayer.
When we think of prayer, our first thought may be of kneeling in church with our hands pressed together reciting a prayer. Or, having been raised in a religious environment, kneeling at home in the evening to say a family prayer. These were formal prayers: one recites a text that has been used for centuries by the faithful.
Then there is the child's prayer upon going to bed at night: Please keep my teddy bear, my dog Skip, and my mommy and daddy safe. Amen. The child mostly focuses on the present: I want this, God, please give it to me. Or sometimes they can sometimes have a "grocery list" of things that they would like to receive from God. (Adults do this too.)
However, some parents have taught their children to focus on gratitude in their prayers. Thank you God for the wonderful day, for Jimmy coming over to play, and for the cookies that mommy gave us. Again, these prayers are "outgoing messages" and not "incoming".
Prayer Outside of Organized Religion
When we step away from organized religion, prayer takes on a different format. Prayer becomes more meditative, more of an act of gratitude than an asking for things.
Prayer in a spiritual setting is less talking and more listening; it is more about tuning in to the "God channel" and being receptive to what may be coming through. Prayer is no longer sending a message to God, but more about waiting to receive a message or guidance.
Prayer has nothing to do with a particular location, a particular set of words, or even a particular ritual. It has to do with an openness of soul. It has to do with communing, or at least being open to communing, directly with our Source, our Creator, the All That Is.
Reading Material: Reflective Prayer
The articles in this section focus on prayer, the traditional and the non-traditional type of prayer. They open up the possibility of making your life a prayer and spreading the blessings to the world as your inner peace increases.
by John Selby. I grew up in a Christian prayer tradition that was mainly focused on asking God to do things for me and for people I loved: “Please, God, hear my prayer and do such and such.” I no longer experience a God who does specific favors for me or others simply because I ask him to. I cannot imagine...
by Marie T. Russell.
In 1952, a bill proclaiming an annual National Day of Prayer (NDP) was unanimously passed by both houses of congress. President Truman signed it into law. In 1988, a bill was introduced to Congress which fixed the annual National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May...
There are no elaborate sets, no dramatic overture, just three people sitting at a table with a single candle in its center and talking about the most powerful force in the universe -- prayer. Each character speaks from the level of his or her own expertise, drawing from their experience examples and insights to support their convictions. In the end...
Vibrations created by precise combinations of sounds have long been thought to affect living beings and inanimate objects. The most powerful use of the voice in Buddhist belief is reciting a mantra. A mantra is a phrase or sentence, generally in Sanskrit or Tibetan, the sound of which embodies the power of...
The most direct way to encourage your children to ask for help is to teach them to pray. Most kids like to pray once they learn how and will do it naturally in some form or another anyway. Whatever approach you take, the truth is that you can choose how you pray. After all, prayer is really having a private chat with God...
by James F. Twyman.
In mountains of Bosnia, a community of mystics who call themselves the Emissaries of Light, said to me: "Our role is not to bring peace to where it is not, but to reveal peace where it is hidden." Peace, the Emissaries said, is not something that can be understood with the mind, but must be experienced with the heart.
The phrase "thy will be done" in the Lord's Prayer is a statement of resignation for many, the calling down of a power to do something that may not be what we had in mind. It's as though we're saying, "Since I can't have what I want in life, I guess I'll have to settle...
by Rebecca Z. Shafir, M.A. CCC.
Misunderstanding, not being heard, and missing key information due to poor listening are at the crux of societal ills. One of the main reasons we listen poorly is because our internal noise levels are so turbulent and obtrusive that they mask most of what others are saying. Only bits and pieces of their message survive the barrage of our mental interference.
A woman told me that gratitude was her constant prayer, and I was impressed. But, I realized that her gratitude was actually a defense against life. 'I am so grateful for sunshine, health, my wonderful family'. 'Do you express gratitude for the storms, for the illness, for the down times too?'...
'START FROM WHERE YOU ARE' is generally good advice in any undertaking. But, like many travelers on the highway, sometimes we don't even know that we don't know where we are and yet we are unwilling to admit it. Instead, lost as we may be, we keep driving, ashamed to ask...
There is a three-step process of inner healing that I have found to be very helpful in my life. Although it is a simple process, it can be powerful. Although those three steps are simple in theory, they are not always easy to practice. However, I find that they can produce very tangible results.
The power of affirmation, prayer, and blessing has been used for thousands of years in both spiritual and folk rites, by priestesses and priests, and by people trying to bring health, harmony, and happiness into their lives. In earlier times at the gigantic stone temples that dot the English countryside...
by Ron Roth, PhD. The 23rd Psalm is one of the most popular prayers in the Western world. This beautiful collection of words can be the key to reclaiming spiritual power. Most of us recognize the 23rd Psalm's familiar phrases, but what we don't often appreciate is the impact of the principles contained in the Psalm, probably because it doesn't fit the model of what we've been taught a prayer should be.
Thank you, infinite goodness, for your bounteous gifts, including peace, love, freedom and joy, health, energy, and abundance which liberally surge through me and to me each time I live fully in the here-and-now with you, and let go of all my perceived pain from people and circumstances in my past, and all my behaviors and habits born of ignorance and fear.
Prayer can be a most difficult and trying task. Many of us live in a deadlock between belief and unbelief. Underlying an ardent prayer can be the question, "Is anyone listening?" The experiences of our century with its massive blind destruction, suffering, and carnage cast doubt on the concept of a God involved in the welfare of the created universe.
Life is a prayer in the sense that it is a continuous request to the universe and its God to present us with what we choose and desire. God understands our desires not just through the occasional utterances that we call "prayers" in the traditional sense, but through every thought we think, every word we speak, and everything we do.
We, meaning you and I, as Awakening Light Beings, have taken vows within the Heart of our Father-Mother God. We made a commitment to be the Heart, Head, and Hands of God on Earth. We promised to be the clearest instruments of God's Light we are capable of being, and we vowed to be "the Open Door that no one can shut."
Is there anything more pure, more full of wonder and hope for the future, than the prayer of a child? We find it difficult to imagine what that might be. For a child's heart, when it forms a prayer of thanks or praise or petition, has none of the self-consciousness and ambivalence of adulthood; it is a laser beam of light and love -- focused, clear, and burning with urgency.