A Few of My Favorite {Prayers}

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I may not go to church every week (or ever) but I have a profound relationship with the divine and I believe in the transformative power of prayer. 

It opens doors, facilitates understanding, and heals pain. Prayer is everyday magic and one of the most powerful weapons we have in our spiritual toolkits.

Best of all, your prayer life can be whatever you want it to be. You can talk to God any way you like.

A note on the “God” label:

I use it here because I find it’s most universal or all-encompassing. However, I usually use the word “spirit” when I pray because I’ve learned this is what works for me.

When I say “spirit”, I’m largely beckoning the divine within. A religious or spiritual path that doesn’t acknowledge my own sacred knowing doesn’t work for me. My relationship with the divine isn’t about talking to some guy in the sky. It involves checking in with my own sacred energy and that which exists all around me.

But I didn’t always know this was allowed.

For the longest time, I felt like I had to talk to God in some specific way or call him or her by some specific name.

It sounds silly now but I was raised Catholic, a religion in which there’s a right and wrong way to do everything. And if you’re unsure, you’re probably in the wrong.

Twenty years (and lots of spiritual study/practice) later?

I now see that God is bigger than any label we choose to employ and God is not prone to human reactions like judgment, acceptance, scorn or even mere preference.

God is love. God is energy. And God doesn’t give a crap what you call him/her.

Pray in a way that makes sense to you. When authenticity is the goal, the form matters little.

According to a recent article by author and thought leader, Elizabeth Gilbert, our earliest ancestors understood prayer to be one of three things:

“You can pray in gratitude, you can pray in beseechment or you can pray in anger.”

~Elizabeth Gilbert

I can attest to the validity of all three, especially that last one. And guess what?

It’s totally okay. God (or whatever your preferred label) won’t condemn you to hell for getting angry or cursing in your prayer life. “God” and “fuck” can coexist in the same sentence. Trust me!

The important thing is we’re talking—a dialogue with the divine is present. And that’s always powerful, profanity or not.

Like any other relationship, the one you maintain with the divine will change over time. Again, this is ok—wonderful even!

My prayer life as an adult is less bible verses and more earnest pleas for help. It’s less wishing and wanting things and more declarations of gratitude for a desired result. In other words, I thank God in advance.

And when I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or scream; I turn to these trusted prayers to get me through. I pray one of them may be of use to you one day, too.

1.  St. Francis Prayer  {Catholic Prayer}

“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is error, the truth;

Where there is doubt, the faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled, as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”

2. 7th Step Prayer   {Recovery Prayer}

“I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.

I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands

in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength,

as I go out from here to do your bidding. Amen.”

3.  Buddhist Prayer {as presented by Thich Nhat Hanh in The Energy of Prayer}

May I be peaceful, light & happy in body & in mind.

May I be free & safe from accidents.

May I be free from anger, unwholesome states of mind & worries.

May I know how to look at myself with the eyes of understanding & love.

May I be able to recognize & touch the seeds of joy & happiness in myself.

May I learn how to nourish myself with joy each day.

May I be able to live fresh, solid & free.

May I not be caught in the state of indifference or be caught in the extremes

of attachment or aversion.

May you be peaceful, light & happy in body & in mind.

May you be free and safe from accidents.

May you be free from anger, unwholesome states of mind & worries.

May you know how to look at yourself with the eyes of understanding & love.

May you be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy & happiness in yourself.

May you learn how to nourish yourself with joy each day.

May you be able to live fresh, solid & free.

May you not be caught in the state of indifference or be caught in the extremes

of attachment or aversion.

May all beings be peaceful, light & happy in body & in mind.

May all beings be free & safe from accidents.

May all beings be free from anger, unwholesome states of mind & worries.

May all beings know how to look at themselves with the eyes of understanding & love.

May all beings be able to recognize & touch the seeds of joy and happiness in themselves.

May all beings learn how to nourish themselves with joy each day.

May all beings be able to live fresh, solid & free.

May all beings not be caught in the state of indifference or be caught in the extremes of attachment or aversion.

I would love to hear some of your go-to prayers or spiritual practices below. We learn best in harmony with one another 🙂

Wishing you peace and a powerful prayer life!

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