I’m sure we can all recall a time of when we’ve felt a great unity. Whether it be with God, family, or even ourselves, it’s something that most of us have experienced. For many, this time may involve our family circled around the table at Thanksgiving staring at that luscious turkey our mother had plucked and shoved chunks of bread up its rectal cavity before cooking it to a nice golden brown. My mouth is watering just thinking about it and I’m not talking about that delicious turkey, either. What I’m talking about is hearing those orgasmic words of hallelujah that lubricates the orifice in my face and lifts my spirits to full erection as I’m thinking about what I’m going to be doing to that turkey in the near future. I’m talking about prayer.
Last Spiritual Sunday was about forgiveness, which served as a precursor for allowing me to forgive myself for that slightly vulgar and immature word salad we call an attention grabbing opening.
It has also allowed me to continue building on the foundations of that first Spiritual Sunday blog, Grappling with Our Spirituality. We’re getting into the meat and potatoes here, kids. Prayer is quite possibly the most powerful tool any spiritually sound individual can have in their toolbox.
When many of us think of prayer, the “prayer of request” is most likely what comes to mind. This is where we petition our higher power to do something for us. A typical example of this is me asking God every night to grant me the gift of maturity, only to wake up discovering my hand to be in a bowl water and I’ve pissed the bed for the third straight night. Speaking of bowls of water, another prayer is that of consecration which is best exemplified in the book of Matthew (26:39) when Jesus went outside, falling to the ground and saying, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” The cup, of course, being a metaphor for the coming crucifixion he was about to endure and not his father playing juvenile pranks on him.
The Bible actually outlines 8 main types of prayer, which is roughly 6 more than I thought there were (give or take 2). These prayers are:
The prayer of request: taking our requests directly to God.
The prayer of faith: used to request the healing of a sick individual.
The prayer of worship: praying to God for who He is, our Lord and
The prayer of agreement: this involves praying together closely, as the disciples did after Pentecost.
The prayer of thanksgiving: praying to thank God for what He has done in your life.
The prayer of intercession: making a request for someone else.
The prayer of imprecation: to bring forth God’s wrath and judgement down upon the evil.
The prayer of consecration: to set ourselves apart to follow God’s will.
. . . and that’s just Christianity.
However, this article isn’t about the different types of prayers that are out there, rather, it is about understanding how powerful it truly is and how it’s the most important tool to use on a journey to spiritual well-being. If spiritual well-being were a Swiss Army Knife, then prayer would be the credit card you used to purchase the knife.
According to an article by Larry Culliford titled What is Prayer? published July 7, 2016 in Psychology Today, the benefits go beyond spirituality. “Emotional blockages get subtly and gradually worn away, promoting protection from anxiety, healing from loss, and growth towards joy and inner peace.” As the article further states, this could be attributed to feeling a deeper contentedness to the universe and a deep sensation of being loved. Is no coincidence that every major organized religion has prayer in one form or another? It would seem that being human tends to carry the tedious burden of desiring to know how it is that we came to be and prayer (along with religion) helps to fill that void.
Larry Culliford says that part of the healing property of prayer is the constant repetition of it all. Very seldom do our prayers get answered in one heaping delivery.
This emotional healing is gradual and subtle, usually going unnoticed, but your prayers are being answered nonetheless, albeit slower than you’d like them to be. He suggests praying the same short prayer every night to get used to the repetition of it. Repetition, like learning anything else in life, is key. In order for prayer to work, it must be lifestyle change. Get into the habit of praying every night before bed and then slowly work your way up to praying every morning. Before you know it, you’ll be a spiritual guru with a line so direct to the big guns upstairs, it’ll make the NRA jealous.
The next time you’re alone at night, just take a moment to close your eyes and feel that contentedness in the universe. Feel as your mind struggles to grasp the concept of an infinite and loving energy that we are all connected to and then accept that you may never full understand what it is that’s out there watching over us. Feel that energy all around you and then try praying to it and hopefully you won’t wake up with shaving cream smeared all over your face.