WHY DO YOU PRAY? HOW DO YOU PRAY? WHAT DO YOU PRAY?
These questions have occupied a lot of my thinking time recently. A few months ago, I embarked on a personal quest to reclaim Christianity from so-called “Christians.” I realize that I’ve let them hijack one of the most important tools of my religious tradition: prayer.
Like so many religious things, I feel that prayer has been corrupted. For many people, prayer is “Amazon Prime.” Just ask Jesus for something, and it will be delivered in two days.
I’ll admit that in my youth, I used prayer and Jesus as a personal concierge service, but as I’ve struggled recently to renew my spirit and relationship with the Divine, I’ve wanted a better approach to prayer.
I’m taking a theology course at my church, and this week we took a survey of our personal beliefs and attitudes about God. One question asked us to describe the purpose of function that prayer fulfills in our lives.
Here are some of the options:
- Communion with God
- Petition (prayer for self)
- Intercession (prayer for others)
- Autosuggestion (planting ideas in our subconscious mind to effect change in our lives)
- Communion with Inner Self
After reviewing this list and seeing the richness and fullness of how others use prayer, I realized that I needed to apply some of my Virgo-attorney-left-brain skills to praying.
Here’s what I’ve come up with as an outline for my prayers. And I realize that I need to structure and schedule daily prayer time. This isn’t something I can just do on the fly. I need to write things down and block out a chunk of uninterrupted time for this daily communion with the Divine.
- Acknowledge God and the sacred
- Express gratitude for the abundance in my life.
- Personal requests.
- Prayer for others.
- Sit with my thoughts and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit.
- Write down any thoughts, feelings, and reflections on this time of communion.
Like my spiritual journey, this prayer habit is a work in progress, and I’ll keep you posted on changes and my progress. And I would LOVE to hear from you about your prayer habits and the purpose of prayer in your life.