Calling to the Goddess: How We Pray
Those of us dedicated to the Divine Feminine tend to shy away when we hear the word prayer. Many tend to think of it as being a strictly religious practice; something, as one student told me, “only Christians do.” However, prayer is a universal act that is vital for your spiritual connection, regardless of your faith or the deity you worship. It is one of the most powerful tools a spiritual person can utilize on the path to happiness, wholeness, and enlightenment.
In many instances, Goddess followers tend to forget about the power of basic prayer, instead going for invocations, evocations, and complicated rituals and spells. While these things are wonderful tools for the expansion and celebration of our beliefs, at times our practice can become more production than spiritual rite. We forget about the simplicity of sitting quietly and offering up thanks; we gloss over the power of the spoken word when it comes to spreading energy in our lives and the world. Our practice slips into showy rituals on full moons and equinoxes, but we rarely make the daily time to communicate with Goddess/God/Spirit.
In a teleconference class session recently, I went off on a tangent about prayer. The amount of questions that flowed into my inbox after the call made me realize that it’s a subject many practitioners have little knowledge of. So, I thought a quick little breakdown of the different types of prayer would be beneficial to all. These categories are based on my personal experience as a practitioner and a High Priestess of the Goddess.
Devotional Prayer - This type of prayer is giving honor and praise to a deity. You're not asking for anything, you're not calling anything forth. These prayers are for the glory and honor of the deity, to express gratitude for an answered prayer, to say thank you for their continued presence and blessings in your life. There are many different styles of devotional prayer, including songs and hymns, expressing adoration, praise, and thanksgiving to a deity. Saying grace before a meal, i.e., thanking Goddess for the bounty, could also be included in this category. Typical devotional prayers are most often used by Priestesses and practitioners in a spiritual/ritual setting.
Manifesting Prayers - Also known as petitions, these are the prayers where you are asking for something, when you are trying to call something (tangible or intangible) into existence. These kinds of prayers are often confused with spellwork, but they are not the same.
Spellwork and witchcraft are using your own energy with the energy of the elements and magickal tools (such as herbs, crystals, etc.) to manifest change.
A manifesting prayer depends solely on a deity to call forth change, which means you are asking Goddess to intercede on your behalf.
Petitioning a deity is a bit of an unspoken agreement: you are turning the problem over into deity’s hands, and moving yourself out of the way. This means you don’t tell Goddess how you want something done; a proper manifestation prayer means you are willing to accept your answer in whatever form deity provides. If you are looking for a specific outcome, that’s more spellwork; however, spell work and manifesting prayers can be combined.
Manifestation prayers are the kind that only need to be recited once. In my experience, repeating a manifestation prayer is an act of faithlessness. If I keep asking Goddess for the same thing over and over again, I’m expressing the belief (conscious or unconscious) that She didn't hear me/isn't listening.
Goddess heard you five times the first time. She’ll answer your petition in Her time, not your time. There’s no need to repeat yourself. After your initial petition, your prayers should move into a space of gratitude, i.e., a devotional prayer. This way, you are demonstrating your faith: you are expressing the confidence your prayer will be answered by showing your gratitude.
Example: Day one is “Goddess, please bless me with a car” and everyday thereafter it’s “Thank you Goddess, for blessing me with a car” until that car manifests.
Energizing/Vibrational Prayers - These are prayers to raise and shift energy, and to connect with Goddess/God. This category is where chanting and mantras come in. When we study the translations of Sanskrit mantras, we see these verses are calling to a deity and giving them praise.
We repeat these phrases to get our energy in line with that of the deity, and to raise our vibration to their level, so that we may connect with them and access their blessings for us in a different manner than manifestation prayers. The same effect happens when we chant a deity’s name. Vibrational prayers are often used as daily prayers, and as an energetic alignment before spells and rituals.
When we chant affirmations or personal phrases that do not include deity, we are attempting to raise our energy to the vibration of that particular phrase. We repeat the phrase to strengthen the flow of power and connection.
Intercessory Prayers - These are prayers offered on someone else's behalf. When you perform any act of prayer for the benefit of another person, place, or thing, it is considered intercessory prayer. As the Intercessor, you become the spiritual ally, and a Priest/ess of sorts: you are intervening and communicating with deity for the wellbeing of the world around you and its inhabitants. You are pleading someone else's case, raising energy for them, worshiping and/or petitioning deity on their behalf. Altar blessings, prayers for ancestors, and prayers for the environment can also be considered intercessory prayer.
Of course, these different styles of prayer can be combined amongst themselves, as well as with other spiritual practices. The possibilities for your practice are endless, and it pays to experiment. Try writing a prayer in each style, and keep a journal about your results. Remember, the goal of prayer is to speak to your chosen deity, to connect and strengthen your relationship with Goddess. As long as you stand firm in that intention, the blessings and wisdom of the Divine will fill your life and your heart.
excerpted from Prayers to the Goddess: A 39-Day Devotional Practice by Priestess Brandi Auset.