Those who know me hear the expression “prayer practice” a lot. For me it is a literal term. Prayer is an art form, requiring commitment, intention and action; a distinct curvature of language and need, worthy of reverence; a discipline of essential communication that can alter the landscape of a moment or a life almost instantly. And I continuously field questions from clients, students and readers about prayer—why, when, and how to do it.
The why is easy. Prayer stirs up in the human psyche and self the most powerful form of energy known to mankind. The act of prayer creates a distinct vibration that is both ethereal and corporeal in nature, capable of literally changing events, circumstances and experiences to divine ends. It is the crucial component to the “Secret” of successful manifestation, going far beyond the “Ask”; it is an elemental necessity in “Believe” and “Receive” as well.
Contrary to much popular belief, we don’t need to pray to earn or entreat God’s love. We need to pray in order to open up to receive it. The one aspect of the human being that simultaneously stands between and connects us to God is our mind… and prayer gets the mind in line with the Divine. (That would make a great little jump rope rhyme, wouldn’t it? Try it sometime!)
The human brain processes through words and pictures, and prayer is just that—creating the ultimate treasure map to kingdoms and blessings beyond.
When is easy too. One word: constantly. I think God should be involved in picking out your breakfast cereal in the morning, as well as mapping out your career path and helping you raise your kids. Prayer is an ongoing dialogue with the one resource you can count on without fail for unlimited insight, favor, and support, no matter how large or small the issue at hand.
And if you’re starting out with a less than solid belief in that resource, prayer will help systematically build the foundation necessary to allow you to naturally consort with faith and witness miracles.
The how of prayer is infinitely more complex, faceted by imagination, ideology, and desire. I definitely believe in a particular attitude when it comes to prayer—affirmative, authentic, from the heart—but the means and the motions by which your prayers are executed leaves plenty of room for exploration and personal interpretation.
As we like to call it here at Faith Squared, “exprayerimenting” calls for creativity, curiosity, and a willingness to trust your intuition regarding what to pray about, which kind of prayer to employ, and for what length of time the intention will remain focused.
However you choose to pray, consistency is key, and at the same time, like all aspects of a great relationship, your spiritual practice should change and grow as you do.
The original Sanskrit word for prayer means, “judging oneself as wondrously made.” Brother Lawrence, a 16th century French layman called prayer, “practicing the presence of God.”
For me, prayer is the invitation to intimate relationship with God; my time to open my heart, engage my imagination, and hang out with the one who not only completely gets me, but loves me because of my humanness, not in spite of it.