How to pray

July 5, 2008 at 8:30 pm (humor)


1. Take the time to pray. No matter how or to whom you pray, it can be difficult to find time for prayer during busy times. One way to deal with this is to make prayer part of your daily routine, such as praying as soon as you wake up in the morning, right before you go to sleep, or before every meal. Many people also pray during emotional times, like when they feel sad, scared, or happy. You can pray at any time of day, and as much or as little as you feel is sufficient for your spiritual life. Some people make it their goal to maintain a state of prayer all the time by remaining conscious of their spiritual connection throughout the day. No matter what, if prayer is an important part of your life, you need to put first things first and make time to pray on a regular basis.
Find a good location to pray. Look for a quiet place if you have a hard time concentrating when your surroundings are noisy and bustling. Or, you might turn to prayer during times of chaos to find peace. As you become more comfortable with praying, you may find that you can pray anytime, anywhere. It may help to be in a place where the focus is on spirituality (such as a church or temple) or where the environment reminds you of your spiritual bond (like a natural setting, or a spot with a big view). You can choose to pray in the presence of others, or you can pray privately.
Get into your prayer position. This depends on which custom you’re following, if any. Sometimes expressing your thoughts physically can make the experience more complete. As with any form of expression, people vary widely in how they position themselves during prayer: sitting, kneeling, lying face down on the floor, hands folded, clasped, or raised high, holding hands with other people, head bowed, dancing, whirling, swaying, and so on.
Prepare for praying. This also depends on custom. Some activities help to get people in the mindset of prayer. Prepare in whichever way you feel is comfortable or appropriate. People do this in a variety of ways around the world, including washing, anointing with oil, ringing a bell, burning incense or paper, lighting a candle, facing a specific direction, making the sign of the cross, or fasting. Sometimes the preparation is directed by someone else, such as a spiritual mentor or formal teachings of your religious tradition.
Begin the prayer. You can pray by speaking out loud, chanting, singing, whispering, or thinking. Some prayers are recited from memory or read in a book, while other prayers are more like conversations. Your eyes can be opened or closed. You can ask questions, seek strength, send good wishes to others, or give thanks. How you pray depends on how you see whoever you’re praying to, and what you think will enhance your connection or bond. Are you worshiping a powerful deity, worthy of utmost awe and respect? Are you talking to your best friend? Or is it a little bit of both? Every relationship is different, even if the relationship is with an entity you can’t see or touch. The important thing is that you find a way to feel closer.
6. End the prayer. Some people end or close the prayer with a special word (like “Amen”) or phrase (like “May God receive our prayers”) or a gesture (like bowing or making the sign of the cross), or simply by standing or sitting in silence for a minute or two.

That’s too much shit to do to get what I want.


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