"Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart."
- Mahatma Ghandi
What is prayer?
The dictionary definition of prayer is "a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship." Prayers can be practiced communally or by individuals and usually take one of the following forms: prayers of faith and testimony, prayers of thanksgiving and worship, prayers of consecration, and prayers for intercession and supplication. It is commonly said that prayer is for talking to God and meditation is for listening to God.
How do I practice prayer?
In her iconic poem, The Summer Day, Mary Oliver says that, "I don't know exactly what a prayer is, but I do know how to pay attention." Whatever form it takes, when we reverently turn our attention to Creation or the Divine, we are indeed practicing a form of prayer. Prayers can be spontaneous, improvised, memorized, ritualized, chanted, sung, or spoken. Creating a work of art or cooking a meal can be done prayerfully. Likewise, working in a garden or simply being with an injured relative or friend can be acts of prayer. It is often said that the power of prayer is in the intent - so take Mary Oliver's advice - start by paying attention to your intention.