Why is prayer important?

“Whether or not a divine power truly does exist might be a matter of opinion, but the neurophysiological effects of religious belief are scientific facts that can be accurately measured. Here, we take a look at some of these effects, as shown by the latest research.” https://tinyurl.com/ycsrlovs

What does it mean to pray? Many of us think of prayer as simply a Judea/Christian/Muslim religious practice. Traditionally, prayers as we understand them, comprise four main categories. First, prayers of respect and the acknowledgement of a power greater than ourselves. Second, prayers of confession, owning up, asking for forgiveness. Third, prayers of petition, expressing desire demonstrates our faith that they can be achieved. Forth, prayer to give thanks, express gratitude and appreciation.

There’s no doubt that prayer is absolutely fundamental to finding well-being in religious practice, but it is not exclusive to religious practice. Other belief systems and philosophies, including atheists, integrate prayer in comparable forms, like singing, chanting, silence, dancing, playing, exercising, yoga, Thai chi, running, walking, and working can serve the same purpose of religious prayer. In groups or alone, prayer is simply a way of being in the moment, being present and thoughtful. There are as many different ways of praying as there are people on the planet!

Prayer is a way of relating to ourselves, and by extension, to those around us. In opening our hearts, minds, and souls to prayer, we are challenged to grow and change. Just as we make time to sleep to recharge our energy and eat to keep ourselves strong, by making time to pray we are nurturing our relationship with our selves. For some people meditation is their preference and for others action is their way to pray. For some of us, it’s music, or reading. For some, it’s public and loud, for others it is private and silent. Becoming a person of prayer means being a person open to transformation, to becoming more peaceful, gracious, and compassionate. It’s not an easy practice and it can often be a painful experience as we find and confront those parts of ourselves which we we’ve been struggling to deny.

As I child I mostly used prayer to express desire but as an adult I’ve learned to use prayer to keep the ship steady!

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