When things get uncertain and you don’t know what to do, or maybe there is nothing you can do, there is always prayer. Yet some people didn’t grow up with a spiritual practice and may not know how to pray. Here’s a quick tutorial to get you started.
To Whom Are You Appealing?
Prayer is generally used to appeal for help. Before you begin, you have to have a focus so that you know to whom you will appeal. If you are a monotheist, “God” works. If you are an agnostic, appealing to the Universe or your own higher power might seem more appropriate. If you are a pantheist, you might reach out to the Universe. If you are a polytheist, the world is wide open!
If you are anything but a polytheist, the energy that you are appealing to will probably be the same each time. Polytheists have a multitude of gods to choose from. It generally works best if the deity has some relationship to the purpose. For example, if you are praying because you are worried about the coronavirus, you could appeal to one of the plague gods (Aplu, Artemis, Erra, Goddess I, Kope Tiatie Cac, Nergal, Resheph, Sopona, Vejovis, Wen Shen, or Xipe Totec).
Or perhaps it makes more sense to you to appeal to a god of healing like Aesclepius, (since Aesclepius is a demi-god born of Apollo, a god of healing, and the moral Coronis, this looks like a good choice), Aja, Apollo, Babalu Aye, Bona Dea, Brigid, Eir, Isis, Panacea, or Dhanvantari. You could also simply appeal to the Great Mother or Father.
Prayers work best when you have a relationship with the deity. You want to know their personalities. Make sure they are in alignment with your request or you could anger them. In most cases, a virgin goddess probably isn’t the one to ask for parenting or fertility help.
How Do You Greet Them?
Once you know whom you are addressing, you need to call out to them. Say something like:
- Oh, great Goddess
- Dear God
- Great Spirit
- Great Mystery
- Heavenly Mother
- Lord and Lady
- Shining Apollo
There isn’t a right or wrong way to begin. The best way is personal, meaningful, and authentic to you.
What Do You Want?
Next you speak from the heart. Tell him, her, or it why you are reaching out. What do you want? Are you asking for help? Do you need healing? Understanding? Resources? Peace? Compassion? Be sincere and specific. Some gods will give you what you ask for. If you aren’t clear, your results may not be clear either.
Speak Your Closing
Many prayers end in the same way. It’s a way to signal, “I’m done. I’m back in apparent space vs. sacred space.” Some ways of doing this are with a gesture like a bow or touching the heart or earth. You could also use words like “Amen.” “So be it” is another option. It’s a way to affirm that your wishes have already been granted.
Modern animism is a relational spiritual path. It’s normal for you to speak to your spirit helpers. They want to help you. You don’t have to bow your head, get on your knees, put your hands together, or do it in any particular way. Just come with sincerity and an open heart. They will hear you.
Prayer has power, but it only works if you use it. If you are shy because you don’t know how to pray, try it. It’s easy to learn. Maybe you find that it’s a great way to connect to the spirit world.