Thoughts and prayers, the saying that has been a point of contention for many of us, myself included. Used as a phrase to bandaid and avoid bigger humanitarian issues versus actually sending healing energy, even thinking of praying can be triggering for some. Dominated by the church and organized religion, this is exactly where our minds go when we hear the word pray. And not even our minds, try googling prayer and the top 10 pages will be littered with literature by and from the patriarchal churches that want to keep themselves between you and God. But just like many things that were taken from us by the church, it is time we reclaim prayer.
Taking a moment to sit with the fact that much of organized religion as we know it comes between us and God, between us and Source, I pray brings you to that 'ah-ha moment' of seeing how manipulative a plethora of these organized religions are. Because something that acts as the middleman to 'salvation' is unsettling and terrifying, hell the fact that it's taught we need salvation because we are "inherent sinners" is a whole other fucked up belief we won't get into. But back onto prayer, many of these religions constrain prayer as their own when, quite simply, it's not.
Prayer is powerful. Prayer is not owned by anyone including the church. Prayer does not have to be made to the version of 'God' that many of these churches describe either.
Prayer is ubiquitous and there are an abundance of ways to pray.
You can pray to the Universe. You can pray to Source. You can pray to the Moon. You can pray to your Ancestors, to Gods and Goddess. To anything or anyone. Prayer is universal despite what Christian, Catholic and other organized religions may want you to believe.
Prayer is a special form of meditation blended with surrender and affirmation. As we know and as studies suggest, meditation is highly beneficial. We also know the power of affirmations and verbalizing. And while scientific evidence may not be able to prove the power of surrendering, and of releasing control, I can tell you from experience it is one of the most powerful practices I know. The beautiful thing about prayer, is it embraces each of these practices into one simple practice.
When we're low and lost, we can pray for guidance. When we're grateful and full of love, we pray to let that be known.
Whatever it is we desire to pray about, when we verbalize this and/or acknowledge it within ourselves, we recognize that there is a force bigger than us in the world, and that that force is a benevolent one, with a desire to help. Which is something I believe to be true, and I'd imagine if you're here, reading this, you believe that too.
Reclaiming prayer looks different for everyone, and that's the beautiful thing about prayer. There is no right or wrong way to do it. It can be customized to you, for you, exactly as you need in that moment. Prayer is like water, taking on many forms, shifting and changing as we do, being what we need in every individual and unique moment.
For some, it's praying in the morning when waking up, or at night when going to bed. It can be praying in a freestyle form, letting whatever needs to come out be spoken. It can be done out loud verbally or within our minds. Prayer can be the same recited words daily, weekly, or once a month. Some forms of prayer use prayer beads and specific mantras or chants that are recited for every bead. We can choose to pray only when we're lost and in need of help and guidance or we can choose to make it a reoccurring practice. We can pray over our food, when we travel, or really anytime!
The point being, prayer is ubiquitous and there are an abundance of ways to pray. Prayer is not owned by anyone or any religion. You can make it yours and pray how best suits you. At the end of the day, prayer is powerful and I encourage and lovingly challenge you to try it, to incorporate it into your life.