Personally, I grew up with no encouragement to pray. I used to have a vague sense that prayer was for simple, naïve folks – that it was the “opiate for the masses.” So I do understand if you don’t relate to the concept.
But perhaps you do.
Because according to a Pew Research Center survey, 55% of Americans say they pray every day. Another 21% say they pray weekly or monthly. Even many who are not religiously affiliated say they pray daily.
Mentors Can Help
Before I learned to pray, when I wanted to get past what was blocking me from marrying, I found mentors and role models who seemed to excel at prayer. I suppose I was hitching my wagon to a star. Their deep faith bolstered mine and I became more comfortable with prayer.
Why do I think praying is important? First, because it helps us connect to the concept that there is a benevolent G-d, Universe, or other Higher Power that cares for and supports us. Praying can mean asking for help, praising, or thanking. It takes humility to ask for help and to be open to believing that something exists that is bigger than our small selves.
Benefits of Prayer
Praying helps you to:
- Feel that you are not facing your challenges alone
- Trust that help is there, even if it seems abstract or mystical
- Gain confidence that things will work out okay
- Let go of angst and negative thoughts that may be holding you back from making your dream come true
These ideas apply regardless of whether or not you view yourself as religious and whether or not you attend a place of worship. Prayer can take different forms for different people.
Different Ways to Pray
My friend Arlyn says she’s an atheist. She explains that she experiences something like prayer while walking in the woods. There, she allows a calm and sense of order to emerge inside her, gaining faith that things will work out okay. I experience something like this at a beach, watching waves or walking along the shore. So whatever form of prayer or spiritual practice fits you, treasure such moments when you can let go of all your expectations, worries, and pain.
Let the power of prayer guide you to find your partner for life and to keep your relationship fulfilling.
Going Beyond Prayer
But prayer is only part of the picture. There is wisdom in the saying, “Pray as if everything depends on G-d. Act as if everything depends on you.” In other words, while prayer can be wonderful, we are not passive bystanders. We need to keep acting in ways that support reaching our goals.