“Prayer can cut through our intellectual barriers and touch our hearts, enabling us to feel truly held and embraced… The most meaningful prayers are not cleverly written but sincerely delivered. Cerebral prayers can leave us cold. The purpose of prayer is not to outline one’s systematic theology; it is to put the mind and the heart together in a spirit of attentive, calm, and quiet awareness… In theistic language, to pray is to make a humble presentation to [the Gods]. It is an acknowledgement of our limitations, a statement of our hopes and longings, and a concession of our will.“ Worship That Works: Theory and Practice for Unitarian Universalists
Do you pray? I mean really pray?
Pagans, especially those of us hailing from Wiccan or Wicca-esque backgrounds, tend to have wonderful ritual language to call on. We have cleverly constructed phrasing for lighting candles, pouring out offerings, hailing the Gods and Spirits and invoking various forces. We have rhyming incantations, ritual gestures and all the smells and bells you could ever desire.
But do you pray? In a pastoral counseling session, one of the first things I ask about is my client’s spiritual practice – what forms it takes, what practices they follow – and I’m always surprised by how many of us don’t pray. We make offerings. We go for walks in nature. We meditate, journey or do pathworkings. We build elaborate altars. But prayer? Deafening silence. It’s a tool of connection we’re collectively leery of. Without realizing it, many of us hold ourselves rigidly apart from one of the deepest wells of sacred connection. We conflated some of the poison of the religious systems we left with some of the forms those religious systems contained. Read more…