Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine Ė What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group Ė Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowleyís Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
What You Do On Your Knees
Article ID: 13979
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,323
Times Read: 2,759
RSS Views: 14,394
Author: Fire Lyte
Posted: July 25th. 2010
Times Viewed: 2,759
Controversy seems to happen a lot when you get on your knees, but not more so than when what weíre doing on our knees is praying. The basic definition of prayer is a solemn request or thanksgiving to God or an object of worship.
Prayer is what happens when people talk to themselves and hope somebody is listening. But, then again, itís not. Prayer is also a powerful exchange of energy. There are many aspects of prayer to consider, but letís first look at the two sides of what prayer is:
The actual act of prayer ranges from the simple bowed head and fervent thought to the complicated rituals of meditation and transcendent projection of more ceremonial prayer. In its simplest form, prayer is done by voicing (internally or externally) a thought that either asks for something for yourself, asks for something for somebody else, gives thanks to whomever or whatever the petitioner considers the divine (or, otherwise, the recipient of that prayer) , or simply a focusing on that divine - these come, typically, in the form of mantras.
Ok, before we get to the other component, Iíd like to inform you of something: praying is universal. Name a spiritual path, and I can guarantee you that its adherents pray. Buddhists donít believe in a god like most people think of god, but they still pray. Jains donít believe deities can assist or intervene in peopleís lives, but they do pray for knowledge and insight into situations. So, if everybody is praying, and not everybody is praying to the same god or force, then something else has to be happening.
Now, on the flip side is the mystical component of prayer. The mystical component of prayer has to do with the sending of energy - i.e. raising energy with intention and sending that out to the universe in general. Many pagans equate prayer with spells, and there is something to that. Iíd call prayers spell-lite. They are a sort of programmed energy, but they are not the focused, mystical equivalent of spells. At least - and this should go without saying - in my opinion. Prayers are typically sent out to the universe, to Ďgodí, to the earth.
Quick clarification: spells are not prayers in the sense that spells specifically state an intended goal and then donít wait for a middle man/god/force to get the results done. You are taking matters into your own hands instead of hoping somebody/something else does it for you.
However, prayer has been around since at least the time man recorded the events of life. One could say that prayer is as old as god (dess) . Since the concept of the divine came into the minds of man, man decided we should have a conversation. Because, you know, god doesnít have anything better to do than gab with 7 billion people. And in these conversations, weíre asking for favors or special treatment, insight, etc., and people are convinced that prayers are answered.
Letís be honest, prayers are hardly ever answered. When I was growing up in the Christian church, I was told this is because sometimes the answer is ĎNo.í Sometimes, though, the questions wasnít a distinct yes or no question. Sometimes I was a 14-year-old boy begging for guidance, because I was having these different feelings from other boys and that wasnít ok in East Texas. And, when that guidance didnít really comeÖwhat then? When I call my mom and I tell her Iím sick, her response is that sheíll keep me in my prayers. Likewise, when I have an interview, an important meeting, an expectation of response from a publisher, or anything else that could go on in my life, her answer is prayer.
Why? Really, why? Prayer is one of the most ineffective measured forms of accomplishing anything. We have been studying the efficacy - or the effectiveness - of prayer since the late 1800s. Now, I could site several studies to make a point. I could site a mid 1990s study that claims prayer actually benefited heart patientsí recovery. This would be especially helpful if I were writing a paper on how the benefits of prayer are medically proven. Findings such as these are held on to tightly by many in the religious community who want to feel that prayer is mankindís best method of combating the ills of the physical world.
Findings such as these make us believe in the miraculous. One study done over 6 years (1990-1996) from Israel found that those who were given intercessory prayer - that is prayer that is done on behalf of someone else - had shorter hospital stays and duration of fever. These results might seem divine. The more you pray, the more you get a response. Right?
Then you have studies like the 2006 prayer study done in association with Harvard Medical School that found 59% of cardiac patients that were certain they were receiving prayer actually worsened. This study found that individuals who were told they were being prayed for had a higher expectancy of recovery and were more distraught when hearing unwanted results. It was felt that the expectancy of getting better had a kind of pressure put on it by the patient that was counterproductive to their healing process.
Results like these seem to suggest prayer is bad. Not only does prayer not work, but when something doesnít happen to our liking fast enough we get worse. Thereís something to that, too.
When you buy a new plant, and youíre a new gardener, and youíre so excited about growing your first herb, what do you do? You overwater the damn thing. Youíre staring at its leaves and limbs waiting on it to grow, watching it for signs of flourishing. Youíre imposing your expectancy on the plant, when all it needs is time and a good foundation to grow. The minute a leaf looks limp or the top grains of soil get dry, you pour more water into the pot. More and more and more until the plant just canít take it... it canít live up to the expectations you put on it. The bits of unwanted results combined with your overcompensation killed the plant.
Thatís exactly what this 2006 study found. We get so bent out of shape because our leaves get a little droopy, so we overcompensate, because weíre not getting the results we feel we should be - especially after talking to the One In Charge.
Then there are the dozens of studies in between that found prayer didnít really affect patients one way or the other. No significant detriment, and no significant improvement. Prayer was a nice thing to do, probably, but it didnít make a lick of difference.
And what about all of those miracles?
You almost canít swing a pitchfork without hitting someone who claims theyíve received some form of miracle. The lame walking, the blind seeing, the afflicted beingÖnot so afflicted. A miracle is defined as a welcome event unexplained by natural science and therefore thought of as being wrought by a divine agent. This is really what everybody is praying for, isnít it? Or, is that a cynical view of things? When youíre praying for your sonís illness to go away, donít you really mean immediately? When youíre praying for the money to pay your bills, donít you need it today?
The miracle is the epitome of prayerful desire. They are also the statistical outliers when it comes to the plotting of the effect of prayer. For, whatever the average of success to failure ratio is when it comes to prayer, every now and then you get that miracle. Questions, though, arise from pondering why Joe down the road got the miracle, and Bill didnít. I canít answer this, nor can anybody else. We know from study that neither the amount of time, nor the quantity of prayers, nor the number of people praying, nor any other factor significantly helps or hinders the chance of prayer taking hold.
But, to the point of study, should we even be doing it when it comes to prayer? Does it take something away from the mystery of prayer to quantify or qualify its modalities and efficacy? This is actually a subject of contention for many philosophers. One of the big issues some philosophers have is that prayer seems to be akin to humans telling the divine what to do. This can truly be a problem, as prayer has displayed an incredible type of cyclical evolution. In its inception, prayer seems to have been a simple conversation with the elements: praying to the fire to last longer, the sky to rain, etc. Then we decided at various times in history that either we or the divine were better than the other, making decrees to the least powerful entity.
We tell the divine what to do sometimes. Sometimes we wait for instruction. Neither of these seems to be getting us anywhere.
The most acceptable and modern interpretation of prayer is that it should be a conversation. Whether youíre talking to your higher self, the universe, the spirit of nature, the divine, or a specific deity, a conversation with that entity - in which you are both talking AND listening - seems to be the most beneficial. Sure, you might not get everything you want, but you might just develop an understanding of why things are the way they are. Youíll understand that life isnít about getting and giving, but about being a part of the entire system.
No man is an island, and nobody merits special, standout treatment by the divine. We quite deserve, however, a relationship with the divine. This is what prayer is for and what it should be. Never commanding or whimpering or begging or direct, but a friendship, a love relationship with the universe.
Copyright: (c) 2010 - Fire Lyte - Inciting A Riot
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Author's Profile: To learn more about Fire Lyte - Click HERE
Other Articles: Fire Lyte has posted 32 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Fire Lyte... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren‚Äôs Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches‚Äô Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).