How do you pray? Some say that prayer is a personal thing. Others say that group prayer or public prayer is better than praying privately. Some say they do not pray at all. How do you pray and when do you pray – if you pray at all? I began writing this article because I noticed a book on my desk that I bought about three years ago. I read parts of the book and placed it away somewhere and just came across it today. The book is about emails and God. It reminded me of how I pray sometimes.
Some might say that my method is strange, but my answer to that statement is that, “It simply does not matter to me. It does not matter to me how strange I look when I pray. It does not matter to me if people think that I am talking to myself. What is important is that I pray. I pray to God and or with God because God is a vital part of my prayers. We, as humans are spiritual beings. Everyone is human so everyone has their own way of praying, their own place of prayer and their own style of prayer. There probably are a million ways to pray on any given day. What is your way? What is your most spiritual way of praying? Where is your place of prayer? Are you still sitting there saying that prayer is personal? You get the idea that prayer is personal because people say that prayer is a personal connection with God. So what do you think about that?
It is not so much that prayer is personal as which method a person uses -that is the personal choice. Do you belong to a church or to a cult? Churches and cults pray differently and the members of both pray for different reasons. We have all seen others pray. We see people praying at weddings and at funerals. Some of us have the opportunity to see whole communities pray. Some watch their children pray. At one time in your entire life, even if you are an atheist, you probably have seen someone pray somewhere about something or for something. Just that alone proves that prayer is a universal event. No matter what country you live in, there are people praying around you. Yes, even in those countries where religion or spirituality or prayer is forbidden or against the law, even in those places, prayer is still happening. In some lands, people are being murdered for praying. Wow! This prayer thing must be really special and really something! Nothing else, except breathing and possibly loving is more universal than prayer. You can go to the last places on earth where you would expect to see or hear prayer and you probably will see some remnant of prayer or someone praying at that very moment. On September 11th, the whole world prayed. I believe that even thousands if not millions of atheists prayed on that day. Prayer took over schools, businesses, places of public transit and prayer was resilient and surrounding the people of our entire world. That is how strong and how lasting and how powerful prayer is. There are some who will lay their life down rather than denounce their beliefs. They stand strong in their prayer. Wow. That is an awesome testimony of something powerful in our world.
So, methods of prayer are as different as the locations you find prayer in. I write this article to share with you my methods of prayer that help me. First, I preface this sharing by stating that I am not religious at all. I believe in God, in Jesus, and in spirituality, but I have a hard time believing in some religions, so I have no church that I belong to officially and I have not been to church in a long time. So, what qualifies me to speak about prayer? Prayer does not have to be collected to any religion. Lots of people pray daily; some pray a few times a day, yet they belong to no religion and they are not members of any church. Yet, they pray. Prayer has no requirements or regulations. Though, it is true, that some prayer is more likely to be more effective than other prayers. I pray. I have observed people in prayer, listened and watched. I have prayed and have many of my prayers answered. I’ve read and researched about prayer, so that is enough for me to be able to write here about a very important process in the lives of human beings.
I have asked how you pray and where you pray, and yet, I have no answers yet, from you. I will share my ideas and experiences here and hope that you write and share your ideas with me also.
Rather than make it all about me, I’ll give you some ideas, share some ways that you can pray. I have used some of these methods, if not, all at one time in my life:
- Write an email to God, speak in a manner as if God is sitting next to you and you were sharing your thoughts with Him.
- Go to a natural body of water (i.e. ocean, river, stream) and gaze into it knowing that you have the ability to talk to the Almighty Creator who made every drop of water on earth.
- Wherever you are, look up at the sky and take that as a great reminder of the magnificent power of your Creator.
- Make all of your music – “spiritual” music. (The song from Sting, “Every Move You Make,…I’ll be watching you ” — Remind yourself that God is with you always. You can make any music spiritual if you think of the song as coming from God. “You are the wind beneath my wings”. Choose music you love and let that be a reminder of your God. That is all spiritual and all prayer. Yours can be a musical prayer. Spiritual songs also, are prayers. Amazing Grace is a most powerful prayer.
- Write a letter! You do not have to be crazy to write a letter to God (though some might think you are). Writing your feelings, your thoughts, your prayers on paper just solidifies your prayer. The writing makes it firm in your memory; the writing makes it so much more real than just “words”. Think of how you feel when you receive a letter instead of a phone call. Is the letter just a little bit more important? Same with prayer. Write your thoughts; write your prayer. (No, you don’t mail the prayers). These writings are personal , between you and God.
- PLAY your prayers. If you can play a musical instrument, then do so. Play spiritual songs and songs that are about God or to God. These are prayers. Singing, dancing and playing music are some of the best prayers that you can ever say for God and to God.
- OF course, there are the more traditional prayers that one does when in churches or synagogues.
- Combine more than one type or style of prayer. (Use conventional prayer along with the music and along with the written prayers.
- Silent prayer– another very effective prayer style is silent prayer. Just your thoughts; that is all you need. Thoughts to God, just as effective, if not more, than out-loud public prayer.
- The Bible also says that wherever two or more are gathered..well, you know the quote. As we know that when you pray with someone else that should be a doubly effective prayer. That is why people go to church to pray collectively -because of what the Bible says. So, another form of prayer is traditional group prayer.
Probably the most important thing that you need to know is that if your prayer does not come from your heart, you are cheating yourself and cheating God. So when you finally decide to pray, do it from your heart. Prayer from your own heart, no matter where the prayer or when the prayer or how you pray, the prayer that begins in your own heart is the most loving, most effective prayer.
Remember that when you pray, you just might get what you ask for. Once many years ago, I remember saying a quick, spur of the moment prayer to God. I bought a used car after I had just spent all of my money on a different car. (I was going to sell the first one and keep the second one). I couldn’t afford two cars or two insurances. But this used car that came along was my “dream” car, the one that I wanted since I was a young child. Accidentally, I found it on the street with a FOR SALE sign in the window. I checked it out, and test drove it. And then, after I put my money down on the car , I said my prayer. Right there in the street where I was, I said, “Dear God, let me have six months of this car without needing any repairs at all”. Interestingly enough, I got exactly six months without needing repairs. Of course, I said to myself, “I should have prayed for ten years without needing repairs, but I chose to pray for six months. At the time I thought that six months without needing any repairs (on a car that I did not check out with a mechanic) was a long time. But, that is life. I prayed and I did get exactly what I prayed for.
So, pray, pray with gusto. Pray with your heart. Pray with sincerity. Pray as if you believe your prayers because you should. Pray any way that you like, any style, any place and any how, but do pray. Your prayers will be reflected in your life.