Wednesday, 14 September 2016
The Importance of Prayer
I grew up attending a Catholic school. My family are Catholics, though not practising and nor am I. They certainly are not, were not religious so I am not sure why we were baptised and attended Catholic schools. I think because they were thought to be good schools and they were too. All those hours of sitting in church and attending RE classes, that is, Religious Education classes, meant that the word prayer had for me, a distinctive nuance about it for many years. Even to this day it still does. But praying and prayer is so much more than the activity which comes to mind when we think 'prayer' on bended knee before a God in the sky.
I pray daily, I pray many, many times a day and I'm sure you do to. Whenever we have a wish, an intention then that is a prayer if our heart is in it. Whenever we connect to someone, somewhere, something with our heart than that is also prayer. Whenever we wish someone well, whenever we think.... I hope such and such feels better soon, then that is prayer. Whenever we write a list of goals or create a manifestation board with gratitude in our hearts than that is also prayer. Whenever we give thanks, that is prayer.
Prayer empowers us because it is a process that allows us to speak and be listened to. It gets our hopes up because when we pray we aim our thoughts at something good. Prayer releases our stress because when we pray we get to take what is in our mind, in our hearts and put it 'out there' rather than carry it around with us. Not only do we put it out there we do so with the hope that we will get help. It is awfully cathartic to ask for help, to be honest. That process starts with ourselves realising and owning up to what we need, what we need to change and when we pray we are saying 'I'm ready'.
Prayer unites us with our world, it erases the delineations of separation. When we pray we are not alone.
Whatever it is that we do that connects us to more than our ego self is prayer. Whatever it is that we do which expands our hearts to encompass more than our own little paradigm is prayer. I see my morning yoga routine as prayer too. I breathe and I expand and in that expansion I breathe some more and I connect to the deeper parts of me and this is prayer too.
Before I eat a meal, I chant the mantra AUM followed by three Shanties and Hari Om Tat Sat. I do this to bless the food and to give thanks to Lady Gaia and to all those that helped (including the nature devas and divas) create/grow the meal for me. I do this to connect. To disconnect from whatever it is I have been doing and to become present with being and eating.
Prayer is important because it is a way to connect. It is a way to step outside our own routines and our own thoughts, desires and own little world. Prayer empowers us because it humbles us. In prayer we are acknowledging something bigger, something that is love and gratitude and life.