My partner woke up this morning and asked if we could go and sit in the church where he grew up and say some prayers together. He was raised Catholic and the church he is talking about is one he has attended since he was a baby. I'm up for prayer of any kind so I responded with a keen 'yes' but it got me thinking about what prayer is and what it means to each of us. In this reflection I realise I have a very broad and open-minided perspective on what it means to pray (I talk more about this in my book 'Mindful Living') and I'm inspired by any practice which brings us closer to the Divine. This is the true essence of Bhakti - a life lived with meaning in sincere relationship to our highest ideals and the version of God resonant for us.
I loved this extract from the brilliant (if slightly harrowing!) book 'Bright Burning Things' by Lisa Harding. I love her idea of prayer as 'a line of communication with a Higher Power'.
Here is what my teacher Sharon Gannon says about prayer in her book 'Magic is a Shift in Perception':
'Prayer is asking, and to ask for something you have to have a pretty good idea of what it is that you want - a picture in your mind. By praying we can develop our natural psychic skills of divination. In this way prayer can help provide us with a compass to navigate through our lives.'
Whatever the essence of prayer may be for you my invitation and recommendation would be to not over think it but just do it. Like so many things in our spiritual lives prayer is a practice and it doesn't need to be perfect for it to be of benefit.