If meditation is opening to the highest power, then prayer is the speaking through that opening– with praise, requests and thanksgiving. We connect and invoke the power of creation to bring forth goodness into the world. The highest prayer is for Divine Will to unfold through us. Our ishta deva or chosen deity could be named or unnamed, Mother Nature or Jehovah, Krishna or the Great Spirit. For me these are all names for the same Power & Love, just as we are all separate impulses of the same Oneness. Maybe I am a bit like the character in “The Life of Pi” who worships as a Muslim, Hindu & Christian with equal fervor and belief, even though his various teachers all saw it as impossible and improper to do so.
I remember praying as a child before I went to sleep each night: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take.” It was a little scary to me to contemplate that I might die before I wake every night just before sleeping. I have amended that prayer over the years—“Now I lay me down to sleep, I ask you Mother, grant me peace. Fold me to your loving breast and nourish me with healing rest.”
As I grew I learned the prayers of my Lutheran heritage—my favorite was the Lord’s Prayer:
“Our Father Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil for Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever & Ever. Amen.”
Then as my matrix of faith shifted from God the Father to God the Mother I learned to invoke the Goddess in ritual, but there wasn’t much emphasis on prayer.
When I began the path of Siddha Yoga, meditation, chanting and selfless service became important spiritual practices to feed my soul. But prayer was not a practice we were taught per se.
Ayurvedic studies included vedic mantras, the invoking of divine power through sacred Sanskrit syllables. It is prayer in a very pure form. Once I was treating a woman with a painful tailbone, hurt over a month before in a fall from her horse. Even her experienced chiropractor husband couldn’t replace it. I was inspired to chant the Sanskrit healing mantra
“Om–Tryambakam Yajamahe, Sugandhim Pusti Vardanam, Urva Rukamiva Bandhanan, Myrtyor Mukshiya Mamritat”. This mantra protects as well as heals. It calls upon Lord Shiva, who was the first to utter it to transmute poison he had swallowed to save the world. In ayurveda school we had chanted this mantra thousands of times and it’s also part of the Siddha Yoga tradition in the ancient vedic Rudrum chant, so I was empowered to use it. As I gave her reiki, holding my hand gently over her tailbone, I chanted. Suddenly I felt the tailbone move of its own volition. She reported that it felt better and that the pain was gone from then on.
In giving Reiki we invoke healing energy to course through us, asking that it bring the highest possible good to both the receiver and the practitioner. It is a prayer in action.
Studying Maya Healing work with Rosita Arvigo and Miss Beatrice Waight made prayer more specific & essential to my healing work. Miss Beatrice taught me to pray again, as I had as a child, “with all my heart, with all my heart”. My blessings for those I cared for became more focused through prayer, using words to bring it into form.
Miss Beatrice taught me to pray to Archangel Rafael, the patron saint of healers, happy marriages, and casting out of demons. As taught by Rosita & Miss Beatrice, I always pray for my clients and students and myself, to bring the highest good to us all. I invoke many faces of God, which I see as just different energies or languages which are accessible to different people at different times, asking the Higher Power to heal through me and guide me.
“In the name of the Father, the Mother & the Holy Child, the Nine Mayan Spirits, Shri Krishna, Jesus my Christ, and Archangel Rafael
I am the one, calling upon you, asking you to heal ____________, of her physical & spiritual disease.
I ask you this with all my heart, with all my heart, and I ask that the spirit of the rose assist with this healing.”
While at Cozumel, the island of Maya women’s spirituality, I got to attend to praying at the Temple of Ix Chel, goddess of the moon, She who lives in Sacred Waters, fertility and healing goddess, goddess of weaving. An iguana did a fertility dance for me at one temple—whether to entice me or scare me away from her eggs I’m not sure. We shared the traditional prayer of the Primicia ceremony with all the participants in the Maya Abdominal Massage conference there at the central temple plaza. That night we had a sudden rain—an indication she received our prayers. The next day we did the full ceremony and buried our offerings in the sand at the beach. Then we did a healing spiritual bath with flowers in the ocean waves. We played and splashed in Her Sacred Waters – a prayer of laughter.
A few days later I was lucky enough to return to the temple with my friend, Samantha, & her teenaged daughter. Samantha had been told the best place to make offering to Ix Chel, so we went there to offer our personal prayers. When we got to the small pyramid, we found it guarded by two very large iguanas who were about half way up the temple—it was intimidating to look up at them, especially since it was the fierce time of nesting. We started climbing up and the one closest to us went inside the rocks of the temple. When we asked if we could go up further we received a “no” , so we did our prayers where we were, sang a song, and then threw our offerings up to the top of the temple. A few minutes after we descended, both of us felt the answering wetness of a few drops of Her sacred rain, telling us she had again received our prayers & offerings. Samantha’s prayers for pregnancy were soon answered.
Responding with Prayer
Recently I read the book “Illuminata” by Marianne Williamson. In it she gives examples of prayers for many situations and talks about their use throughout our lives. I’ve been finding that praying more often, extemporaneously, really has been very helpful. I was inspired to pray for guidance when my teenaged daughter came home very late after her curfew, in a state that mothers don’t want to see their daughters. It helped me avoid taking it personally, getting overly emotional and allowed me to focus on her problem, rather than on an emotional reaction on my part. I believe that this helped her learn rather than just react too.
I hope you will try praying more freely in your life. Let me know how it works for you. Prayer is a way to relate more personally to God as we know God, to give thanks, ask for help for ourselves and others, and to bless. With prayer we acknowledge that we are children of God/dess and that God/dess wants the best for us, just as parents do, even if we ourselves don’t know what is best.