Recent personal events have led me thinking about prayers, and prayers in general. When my uncle had a heart attack and was in a coma before Christmas, of course my family was worried, and many of us have been praying. This is what got me thinking about what prayer is, and how we use prayer in our modern world. As a youngster I would kneel by my bed and say a prayer, or at mealtimes when I was at school. As I grew up, who I prayed to changed, but the fact was, I still prayed.
What is Prayer?
This one is a hard one to answer because the answer depends on who you ask. John Bunyan, a 17th Century preacher wrote that prayer “is a sincere, sensible, affectionate, and pouring out of the soul to God”. While Ralph Waldo Emerson described prayer as “a study of truth”. However, you perceive Prayer to be, it can have a very profound effect on a person. I have been asked in the past if I prayed, and my answer was always “Yes, who I pray to may differ, but I still pray”, while this got a rumble of confused murmurs and puzzled looks.
**Nixie Note** For me, prayer is a way I can connect or reconnect with my higher self, my deities, Spirit, the Universe…
For this article, I am going to define prayer in broad terms as “prayer is a means of communicating with Spirit or Divinity.” When you are communicating with Spirit, you are doing more than just speaking to a higher power, you also need to LISTEN, and pay attention to messages. Prayer can take many forms, it could be a simple request, being grateful for what you have, a plea or just allowing yourself in that moment to open up to Spirit. When you are speaking but not listening, so much is lost and missed.
Prayer in Witchcraft
I’m not sure if “prayer” (as it is known in organized religion) has always played a part in the craft, but one thing I have learned over the last 25 years is that you can call it what you want, as the name of it is not important. What is, is the connection between you and your divine figure. Since many in the craft have come from a background steeped in a faith they felt no connection to, it can be very difficult for them to reclaim the power that prayer can have. As we move forward, times have changed, and more people are using prayer s parent of their practice
When a witch approaches prayer, they do so in the knowledge that it is like a deity-directed spell.
Prayer – If you are wanting to manifest something, you would ask your deities or Spirit to lend their guidance, protection, and aid through the manifestation process.
Spell – If a witch wishes to craft a spell to manifest something, she will use words, herbs, crystals or meditate as she directors the energy of the spell to their desired goals. If you are a veteran of the craft, you understand that the power behind every spell is you and your intentions…. Much like prayer it would seem.
How each individual approaches the concept of prayer is as vast as the ocean is deep. I approach prayer in a different way from my fiancé (who is also Pagan). Recently my mum has been saying silent prayers for her brother, while I wrote a prayer to our ancestors and beloved dead. I lit a candle, pouring my intentions into that flame.
What to expect from prayer?
I believe it was Socrates that said, “God knows what is good for us”, and while I struggle with this idea, I do believe that 99.9% of prayers have good intentions, not everyone has a pure heart. There are times when we try to do something good, but we do not realize that the actions may have negative consequences, and I think therefore many witches end a spell, prayer, or ritual with phrases like:
For the good of all, and it harm none
As it harms none, so mote it be
If it harms none, this spell/ritual/prayer be done.
You aren’t going to get answers or results like we have seen on TV and in movies, they are works of fiction where anything can happen with the wave of a magic wand, or the clicking of heels three times. Prayers require moments of quiet contemplation to hear Spirit’s messages and patience.
*)O(* Rainbow Love, Light and Blessings *)O(*
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