Prayer is one of the most personal things we can do in life because, when genuine, it flows from our innermost desires and beings. It can be one of the most sincere expressions of our true selves, laying bare our souls.
For me, prayer started out as a basic ritual and has since become a comforting, sometimes meditative experience.
Early on and for most of my life, I prayed in the traditional Christian way, thinking that it pleased the God I was taught about, and I was also looking for something real that would help me find my way. It wasn’t bad or wrong. It was all I knew, and I tried to be as honest as I could.
Now, I have a broader perspective—I really don’t know anything for sure about a Higher Power, but it comforts and encourages me to believe that there is one, based on my life experiences.
This way of believing also opens up different and more fulfilling ways to pray.
Sometimes, it’s crying out from the depths of my heart for what I want most in times of crisis. I believe that is natural to do when I’m desperate for help from any possible source, and it’s been a much-needed release. Did it make a difference? Did it bring about the outcome I wanted? I’d like to think so, but I can’t prove it. But that’s why it’s called “faith” and not “proof.”
Other times, it’s stillness and meditation in an effort to connect with my own spirit and intuition. I listen to meditation music and try to focus on my inner self, my inner voice, for any understanding or realizations that may come. It’s not so much about saying anything, but more about being still enough to allow something new to surface and become clear.
And yet another way I pray is simply talking out loud as if talking to another person, putting into words my thoughts and feelings. There is something about verbally saying things that gets them out of my head and makes them real. I somehow process and release what’s inside of me when I can say it to someone, even if that someone is me or a guiding spirit.
No matter what it looks like, prayer is an important part of my life, not just as a ritual, but as a key to my spiritual, mental, and emotional health.
And I believe that it will look different for each person, no matter their beliefs, and that is as it should be.