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About Prayer
by Diana Robinson, Ph.D.
Do we expect too much of our prayers? Do we expect too much of ourselves when we pray?

There are people who pray rarely because they fear that they cannot "do it right." There are people who think that they do know how to "do it right" and that there is no other right way. There are people who believe that prayer involves whatever we want to say, however we want to express our feelings to the Creator.

Some say, "Why should I pray? If the Creator is omniscient, then the Creator knows my thoughts. I do not need to verbalize them."

But whoever said that prayer was solely intended to carry information to the Creator?

Prayer is more, I believe, a link, a way for us to remind ourselves of the link that exists, whether we acknowledge it or not, between us and the Creator. It helps us to bring the inner thoughts and words to the center... when we prayer spontaneously and use our own words.

Sometimes, however, we are bereft or otherwise without words, and then words given us by others can help us, for others have always walked where we are walking today.

Sometimes the words of others can help us to focus, can work as a mantra that stills and calms the soul, puts the raging brain on hold, and let's us focus on our divinity.

So there is no one right way to pray. Someone wrote "Pope John Paul II has said 'How to pray? This is a simple matter. I would say: Pray any way you like, so long as you do pray.' You can pray the way your mother taught you; you can use a prayer book. Sometimes it takes courage to pray; but it is possible to pray, and necessary to pray. Whether from memory or a book or just in thought, it is all the same."

From another Catholic source (and fear not, this piece will address the prayers of many religions) comes this advice: "It seems obvious when you say it, but pray as you can, not as you can't is a maxim that is frequently overlooked, leading to a lot of unrealistic expectations, and frustration." Sacred Space

We are not graded on our prayers. It is what is in our hearts that matters. Else, one would say that a literate and articulate person could earn more grace in the eyes of the Creator than could one who could barely put a sentence together. I do not believe that this is the case.

Prayers are prayed the world over, in every culture, whether in secret or out loud, in a house of worship or on a mountain path, a street corner. Muslims are bidden pause in their day and pray five times each day. It is a good reminder.

One formula that is suggested for constructing a prayer is that it start with praise, move on to requests, and end with thanksgiving. This seems to me to work well - we do not start with our own selfish thoughts, and we end by moving ourselves from any possible scarcity thinking into abundance thinking by focusing on the things for which we are grateful. (I continue in my endorsement of the idea of keeping a gratitude journal in which we daily write the things for which we give thanks. Increased focus on our positives and the subtle move toward abundance thinking are two of the benefits.)

I began a web search to find examples of prayers from many religions, but then I found that someone had been ahead of me (as is usually the case) with a web site that gives examples of prayers for peace from twelve different belief systems. You can find this lovely site at Prayers for Peace

Here are some of the other sites that I found while searching:

Buddhist prayer

Prayers for peace - Jewish, Christian and Muslim

Native American prayer

Wicca prayer

Hindu prayer

Sufi prayer

A search on the web for the prayers of any religion is amazingly rewarding - I recommend it.

It matters far less how you prayer than THAT you pray... however you wish, in whatever words reflect you, and your relation to the Creator.

� Diana Robinson, Ph.D. Work in Progress may be reproduced in its entirety only, including this copyright line. Disclaimer -The contents herein are solely the opinions of Work in Progress owner, and should not be considered as a form of therapy nor advice. There is no guarantee of validity or accuracy. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, services of a competent professional should be sought. TO SUBSCRIBE to Work in Progress send a blank e-mail to workinprogress-On@lists.webvalence.com. To offer feedback e-mail Diana