In times of calm or crisis, prayer helps us focus our psychic energy. Prayer is a solemn request or expression of thanks to a deity or other object of worship (Google dictionary). This article explores prayer as a psychic tool for mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
How to Pray
Since prayer is a solemn request or expression of thanks, we should engage in the practice with respectful and responsible intention. While you can pray for your team’s best athlete to triumph over the other team’s athletes, the prayer I want to discuss involves the use of concentrated psychic energy to perform ritual healing for your mind, body, and spirit.
When you are troubled, anxious, or depressed, the impact is not just on your mind and spirit, but also your body. Frustration, worry, anxiety, and persistent sadness all produce chemicals in the human body that are different than the chemicals for love, happiness, joy, and calm. Once these negative chemicals start producing, they can easily build and build until your physical system gets overwhelmed along with your mental and spiritual system.
Prayer is a way to break the feedback loop of negative thinking and sustain positive energy throughout your day and life, which is why the act of praying is much more than thinking the prayer or saying it out loud. How you prepare and deliver your prayer are as important as what you pray for and about.
My father was a home builder for most of his life, and I worked for him as a teenager and young adult. He passed on to me the adage, “measure twice, cut once”. He firmly believed, with many things, that there was a best practice and professional way to do work. There was also a poor practice and a sloppy way to do work.
One of the best practices for prayer involves getting into a relaxed state of body and mind. Your reason for praying may be anxiety, but the act of praying will help you the most if you can do so from a place of calm in the moment of making the prayer. Physically speaking, that means steady breathing, awareness of your body posture, and, whenever possible, a sacred space in your home or outside.
The power of breath is tremendous. When we get anxious enough to hyperventilate our breathing is out of control. To prepare for and deliver a prayer, silently or out loud, you should slow your breathing by taking controlled breaths for 30 seconds to a minute. An easy way to regulate your breathing is by taking in a breath to a count of numbers and releasing it to that same count. If you can take a deep breath by counting to three or four, and do so for the suggested amount of time, you will find your focus increases significantly.
Kneeling or sitting in crossed leg position (the Lotus position in yoga) are two of the most common ways to put the body into “prayer mode”. Placing your hands together in front of you is also a common practice.
Whenever I can, I prefer to stand outside and face towards the Sun, lifting my face to the sun and turning my hands’ palms out. It is also a common practice to close your eyes during prayer, but not a necessary one.
Framing your Prayer in Words
Prayers can be specific or general. A general prayer is one you use when you do not have a specific topic to address. It is a good practice to have a “thankful” prayer and a “guide me” prayer that you put into the universe on a regular basis. Just like your body needs regular exercise, your spirit benefits from regular prayer.
Specific prayers address specific situations in our lives when those situations strain us. And while we may pray for a certain outcome, it is important to remember that the outcome, whatever it turns out to be is but one piece of a larger puzzle of the spiritual lessons behind and around the situation. You can pray for money if you have a worry over bills or you can pray for the wisdom to resolve your money concerns. The second prayer will offer you more because it addresses your immediate worry and future concerns.
The Best Practice is Having a Ritual Practice
Regardless of how you choose to “hold your body” for your prayer – kneeling, sitting, or standing – and how you word the prayer, it is essential that you follow a ritualistic pattern because the act of ritual is key to focusing the prayer energy. Prayer energy is comprehensive, meaning you send it out into the world and use it to anchor yourself in this reality.
Simplicity or complexity in your prayer ritual is a matter of choice, but having the ritual pattern is necessary if you want to get the best internal and external benefits. A healthy prayer regimen can ward off negative energy in your life and sustain positive energy.
Praying to …
There are many deities and spirits to pray to. You may have already found or been guided to one or many different ones, depending on your upbringing, life circumstances, and personal choices. Properly addressing certain deities is another ritual way to focus the energy of the prayer so you can receive the energy you need from the prayer and give the energy you want to go out into life.
Prayer is and should be a sacred purposeful act, performed with reverence and discipline. The more seriously you approach the prayer process, however, you construct it or have been taught it, the greater the benefits. The healing and calming power of prayer can truly be amazing if you embrace the work needed to make the most of this ancient spiritual tool.