How to Pray (For People Who Can’t)

When I was three-years-old, my mother taught me The Lord’s Prayer. Each night before bed, she would take out a set of flashcards with pictures of stick figures illustrating each part, and we would run through it. I recall numbly reciting this prayer thousands of times in dry Sunday services throughout my childhood. Then, when I was fifteen, my parents enrolled me in a Christian school, and suddenly I had to know how to “pray from the heart.”

5457714789_167c8a8d4f_b

I was never good at conjuring up the “right” prayers in a public context. I’m still not. I am embarrassed to say that I have a Masters of Divinity, and therefore should be an Expert Pray-er – so good, in fact, that people would pay me to do it. But if you were to eavesdrop on the particularly painful Thanksgiving dinners when I am asked to pray over the food, you will hear me say something like, “and thank you, God, for this day. And all that’s in it. And the people. Amen.” This is why I don’t usually let on about my MDiv…

And this is also why I found MIRACULOUS SILENCE by Mitra Rahbar so refreshing. Mitra is a spiritual teacher, and both her open-minded approach to prayer and her definition of the divine allow spiritual seekers to explore various means of connecting with God (which Mitra says can also be defined as spirit, energy, or source). More than a string of piously uttered words, prayer—or communion with a higher power—can be experienced in a variety of ways. Mitra has some suggestions for those who find that words are too cumbersome to formulate when trying to create a divine connection.

  • Meditate on behalf of others. When our compassion urges us to pray, but we don’t have the eloquence to express it, we can meditate for others. Throughout the meditation, imagine a healing white light enveloping the affected person, region, or situation.
  • Practice visualization. Hold images in your mind that lead to healing for our loved ones, our community, or ourselves.
  • Practice mantras. According to Mitra, the sound waves of a mantra create a vibrational resonance that helps to remove internal blockages, connect us to the seed of the soul, and create a deeper connection to the divine. You can use an existing one or create your own, and practice chanting the mantra with a specific intention in mind.

In the end, the most effective prayers are those executed with sincere intention; and whether that is expressed as articulate prose in a public forum, or as silent meditation in private, the connection made with the divine is transformative.


~Post by Kelli, nonfiction reader, skeptical spiritual seeker, reluctant Pisces, and blocked artist

9780399175503These tips were taken from MIRACULOUS SILENCE, available at these retailers:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
BAM!
Hudson Booksellers
IndieBound
Powell’s
Target
Walmart

Keep up with the latest from TarcherPerigee on Facebook and Twitter.