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What Is Prayer? A Personal Reflection

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Prayer in Action

When you wake up how do you do feel? Do you remember your waking words, thoughts or emotions? Or do you just get up and get on with your day?

This post is a personal reflection on what prayer means to me.

How I Start My Day

Some days, I wake up so happy, so glad and thankful to be alive. I’ll lie in bed-even if it’s just for a few minutes and mentally give thanks, first of all for waking up alive, thanks that my girls and parents are healthy, alive and well. I say a little prayer and send a message of peace to friends and family in my life or for someone who has specifically asked me to hold them in my prayers. As I lay there I recall all the things I’m thankful for. I smile, stretch and get ready to do my daily spiritual practice.

Prayer Is..

I see prayer as a form of gratitude. A way to acknowledge the sacredness and beauty of life, a way to honour the hallowed connection you have with your “God”.

When you express gratitude, when you say hello, good morning, thank you, or I love you, I’m sorry, let’s start again you make a mark, you add your piece to the peace of the world.

How Do You Pray?

I remember many moons ago, a sistah-friend asked in a group meeting, “how do you pray?” It was a heartfelt question.

Like most of us, she grew up, going to church, reciting the Lord’s Prayer and asking for forgiveness for her sins. Yet my friend’s question belies a deeper meaning. How do you pray? How do you genuinely pray?

Yes, we can all kneel, bow our heads and murmur a few words, but is that prayer?

What Is Prayer?

Prayer has been described as a way of talking to god, often disguised as a request for help or assistance for troubles and sometimes as a way of saying thanks to “God.”

I believe prayer is a personal message you send to your God. Even if you do not believe in a God or a Supreme Being, I am sure there have been times in your life when you wonder “who is there, who really cares and really listens to me?”

Without going all deep and philosophical or even dismissive, I believe, deep down, even people who profess to be an atheist or deny the existence a God, even you must feel a stirring, a sense of awe and wonder at the majestic of a rising son or birth of a new born baby. There has to be a God, a force, energy behind all the wars, famine, gory death and rays of light which fill our world.

What Happens When You Pray?

We are human be-ings. And in our being-ness you crave a connection, a reason to be noticed, loved and appreciated. When this doesn’t happen, you seek the comfort of drugs, abusive relationships, over eat or indulge in excess sexual activity. Anything, just to dull your sense of alienation from source. Humans desire to feel something to belong and be part of something outside of them.

Life has shown me that the more I pray, the more time, space and energy I give to prayer, the more I accomplish; not only in the physical material world but in the inner realm of my soul. In the inner world, the shift is so subtle and sublime that it is easy for me and others to miss the inner growth and transformation taking place. So easy, too easy in fact, to forgot just how far you have grown and transformed.

So, What Happens When You Pray?

Prayer, saying a prayer, isn’t the be end of it all. There is more to life. Yet I believe prayer forms the foundation of your being-ness.

Prayer offers you an understanding, a way of navigating through life, it can offer a sense of hope, a wisdom that there is more to life, more than the everyday mundane way we live our lives.

Does It Work?

Asking if prayer works, if it changes lives, creates miracles and magic in life is like asking how long is a piece of string, or the nebulous question why did the chicken cross the road?

Prayer can bring a sense of relief and comfort when there is nothing left for you to do but prayer.

I recall, witnessing my aunty and uncle knee deep in prayer praying for a miracle that their daughter wouldn’t die.

I prayed a thousand prayers that my miscarriage was somehow just a small trickling of blood and my baby would still be alive.

I prayed that somehow I would find the money to enable my daughters to continue in their private school.

Where these prayers answered?

Did my cousin live, did my unborn baby survive, and did I find the funds for my girls to continue their education at private school. No, I didn’t find the funds. No, my cousin didn’t live and yes it was a miscarriage.

So does that mean prayers don’t work? Does that mean I should give up? Abandon further prayer; hope and, seek another way of finding the answers to the questions I seek. No, it just means my prayer wasn’t answered. The things I so desperately wanted to happen didn’t happen.

Was I upset? Did I cry and break down? Abandon God and forget all the good already existing in my life. Yes, it did. I went there and beyond. I gave up and gave in to sorrow, sadness, pain and grief. Yet it was the silent prayers of my family, friends, guides and earth angels, who held my hand, gave me the space to breathe and eventually let go of my pain to find my peace, once again in prayer.

What Next?

This post is my personal reflections on prayer.

If prayer is not part of your daily life or way of looking at the world. I invite you to give it a go. Take a moment to say “thank you” to the next person who meet. Even if it’s a stranger or neighbour you don’t like, just silently say “thank you” and wish them well.

You will feel better as you tap into that divine intelligence and add a spark, a quiet spark to someone else’s life.

And now its time for me to wish you well and thank you for taking the time to pause, reflect and add meaning to my sense of purpose in the world.

Before you go, I invite you to share your experiences and thoughts about prayer? Do you have a story or view about the power of prayer? Do you believe prayer works and if not, why not? Whatever your view, take a moment to share and enlightened someone else day.

Write your comments in the comment box below.

Thank You and have a Happy Day.

Image – with thanks to Zed Zap

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4 Responses to “What Is Prayer? A Personal Reflection”

Hey Ntathu,

It's my first time here, can you believe it? Yet your face is very familiar to me.

Paying is a very personal thing and many people pray in different ways, however, the point is to pray with belief/faith. If not, what is the purpose of paying.

Thanks for this beautiful insight about payer 🙂

Comment by @LifeCoachingPro on March 5, 2012 at 12:46

hey Ntathu praying is good for your soul …….embracing different religions is an awesome experience
i am a muslim, married to a hindu and i have friends from all different religious backgrounds!
i would like to think thati am more spiritual then religious!

lots of love suraya

Comment by suraya on April 23, 2012 at 08:35

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