Spirituality

Thoughts on Prayer

Today is being recognized as a National Day of Prayer so I thought I would take a moment to express my thoughts on prayer.

Being brought up in a Christian home, prayer used to mean speaking to God. It meant acknowledging the existence of God, being obedient and asking for his help in making my life better. When my beliefs on God and Christianity began changing my thoughts on the meaning of prayer, and my activity with prayer did also.

A man praying at a Japanese Shintō shrine.

A man praying at a Japanese Shintō shrine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now I consider prayer a time of contemplative thought, meditation and a purging of my detrimental self. It is a means to connect with God as a universal and supreme consciousness but also a time to connect to my super consciousness, that state of awareness where ordinary thoughts and perceptions are transcended and a more acute sense of reality can be achieved. I hold the belief that even if God, however perceived, hears and answers prayers, this answer comes through the super consciousness, and that it is in the state of higher awareness that we hear the voice, whether of God or the higher self,  that guides us out of turmoil or into a better state of mind and being.

I have read many negative posts today against prayer, usually because prayer is being associated with its religious context. Some are specifically irritated that someone wants to pray for them. But I consider prayer from another to be a gift. It is basically that person saying to me that I matter to them, and that they are willing to take a moment of their time to show concern for me. In a society that is broadly self-absorbed, I find the act of praying for another to be more an expression of goodwill toward a fellow human being than I find it offensive that a person with particular religious beliefs is praying for me.

So today I will take a moment to not only contemplate the spiritual aspects of my life but to join my thoughts with others who are praying for love, hope, tolerance and goodness in hopes of making a better world.

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6 thoughts on “Thoughts on Prayer

  1. Not only is prayer good for the soul, but also those who pray (or meditate) seem to have happier, longer lives. There’s something of positive value to that. How could anybody be against wishing well?

    • Somewhere I heard it said that prayer is seeking God and meditation is hearing him. I like that thought. If people who pray/meditate live longer happier lives I can understand why. Meditation and quiet thought/prayer is the best way to de-stress and rebalance that I know of.

      The negative posts I read were mainly from nonbelievers who take offense that the government overlooks its secualr obligation and permits a Day of Prayer. It seems that they are overtly sensitive to anything that speaks to religion.

      • It seems atheists are sometimes as frightened of words relating to religion (such as god or prayer) as the old Victorians were of words having to do with sex. That fear could reflect insecurity about deep urges they might not be able to control.

  2. I’ve got an atheist friend/fellow blogger who I’ve been going back and forth with for a while on prayer. He believes that relying on prayer is a way to escape responsibility and avoid actually having to do anything yourself. I’ve pointed out that there are studies which show that sick people who are prayed for have hastened recovery times and increased chances of recovery. But I also agree with his basic point that we shouldn’t just sit around waiting for a savior to rescue us. “I sent you two boats and a helicopter” and all that. However, I believe that prayer can be an empowering tool to help us take action, or for guidance when we don’t know what those actions should be.

  3. Work of doctors such as Dossey and Koenig who are recognizing a further healing dimension in medicine beyond the body and brain, and the ideas of scientists such as Radin, Newberg et al. are, I believe incredibly important in helping us gain an understanding of a further dimension in religion beyond the dogma and doctrine. There is a massive overlap between the phenomena described by the scientists and the power of prayer, meditation and healing for example in a religious or spiritual setting. But there is still a great deal of prejudice against these views, particularly those where the focus is specifically on religion, rather than on a more generalized concept of spirituality.

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