Does Prayer Work - and Why?
Most of us have been taught to pray from the time we were young. Be it that disturbing “now I lay my head to sleep…” and let me dream about dying tonight prayer, a word to God in a life situation, or a sincere conversation with our revered deity of choice or custom. But in some form or other we have or continue to engage in prayer.
What is interesting is the fact that every spiritual philosophy has a form of prayer and they are as varied as they are many.
As a teenager, it was fascinating to watch people get on their knees and “walk” from the gate of the Shrine of Guadalupe in Mexico City to the church – a good 2 city blocks or better in distance. I engaged some of them in conversation to understand what they were doing as they left a trail of skin and blood behind them. It was a show of devotion for favors asked or blessings received from God or the Virgin of Guadalupe.
As a member of the LDS faith, I would often pray following a specific protocol and prayer structure but inserting my own petitions and expressions of gratitude several times a day. As a missionary, I taught people the same protocol and structure and watched prayer change their lives.
As an eclectic Pagan, I have engaged in incantations and spells using charms, candles, crystals and incense and I have watched my creations flourish before my eyes.
As a non-denominational Minister, I have engaged in a variety of blessings, healings, personal and congregational supplications and again, the results have been consistently positive.
Having interacted with people of many religious backgrounds, from the nature based, Goddess based, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, to agnostic hard core What the Bleepers, everyone has a form of prayer or communication with a higher source to create a given outcome.
So, looking around at the plethora of prayer types, formats, positions, songs, etc. you have to wonder – do they work?
The short answer is of course they do!
Would people REALLY go to the trouble if it didn’t produce some kind of perceived result? Eventually, even the die-hard inertia driven zealots would figure out that something wasn’t working and give up or change their approach.
So How Does it Work?
If we take every example of prayer or communication with deity or a higher source to create a given outcome and look for the common denominators, we find the following: Faith or a confidence in the ability to produce the desired result and focus of intent.
A beautiful statement by the Shaman Dr. Serge Kahili King says “Energy flows where attention goes”. And there isn’t an easier way to sum up why prayer, or personal creation works.
The structure adhered to by Mormons is a way to stay focused on the intent of the prayer. As things become more sacred in nature, the prayers become more symbolic or ritualistic in nature. This focuses e that intention and faith at even a higher level, producing miraculous results.
As a catholic counts the beads of the rosary or holds a crucifix or gazes intently at the effigy of a saint, it serves the same purpose – to focus faith and intent on the desired results.
Pagans focus their attention or energy through the use of rituals, spells and incantations.
Native peoples focus their intent and energy through the use of totems and charms.
Every single person that successfully produces a desired result via some form of prayer or ritual does so by focusing their faith, energy and intent on that result, and the laws of the Universe are such that when that combination of thought, feeling and emotion are set into action, creation is inevitable – in fact, it is already done.
So, does format or protocol matter?
There is not a black and white answer to that question, but the simple answer is - it does to you, to each individual. Our social formation and background will have a huge bearing on what type of format works most effectively for each of us – at least initially or as long as we want it to.
For example, a person with a Christian background will probably not get very good results from kneeling towards Mecca and praying on a mat and by the same token a Muslim will probably not get very good results from placing their hands on someone’s head and blessing them in the name of Jesus Christ.
What is a definite and proven fact is that as we realize what the driving forces behind successful prayer or personal creation are, it becomes easier and easier to produce the results with less ritual. Positive results are 100% independent of the deity one chooses to believe in or worship too as is evident across the globe. Sorry my Christian friends, but its true – our brothers and sisters of all spiritual or religious backgrounds produce the exact same wonderfully miraculous results from the deepest parts of the Amazon to the highest Tibetan peaks to the dirtiest streets of Bombay or the most remote islands of the sea. Would anything less make sense at all in such an immense universe of such perfect balance?
As we understand the concept of “energy flows where attention goes” and we become proficient at focusing our thought, feeling and emotion on our desired results, we will create those results with less and less “effort” as our knowing of the universal laws of creation grows. Then we become powerful in our creation as we realize that it goes on even when we aren’t praying, just at a less focused intensity at times. The fact is that we are always creating – as long as we engage in thought, feeling and emotion, we will create and our daily life is the result of that very creation.
Subjects for another area of the Rabbit Hole.
Does any religion, ethnic group, spiritual persuasion or cult have more or less access to higher power, universal energy or divine intervention on behalf of their creation or prayer?
Absolutely not. Anyone can create miracles, change their life, heal the sick or any other result they believe they can. The ones that are more proficient at it aren’t closer to “God”, they are just better at focusing the ingredients of creation and producing the desired results.
Firewalkers, snake dancers, faith healers, shaman, priests, missionaries, Gurus, Fakirs, Wayne Dyer, Rhonda Byrne, Jesus Christ, Buddha, the masses of people oblivious to this discussion, you and me – we all have access to the same creative potential. The question is – how good at manifesting the results you want do you want to be?
“Energy flows where attention goes” and as we focus our thoughts, feelings and emotions as Mr. Gregg Braden so succinctly explains in his many writings on the subject, we will become more and more conscious of our constant creation and consequently raise our proficiency to the level we are willing to pursue. The masters raised it to the level of master – what do you want to be?
More on another day.
Love & Peace
David “Pawpa Dog” Moreno