On his 1984 album Tonight, David Bowie sang, Prayers, they hide the saddest view. Believing the strangest things, Loving the Alien. And your prayers will break the sky in two, believing the strangest things, Loving the Alien.
Loving the Alien was a song about religiosity and the folly of believing false doctrine, especially religious doctrine that denigrates the beliefs of others, or using prayer against other people themselves. Something that all mainstream religions have sought to do at one time or another through the ages.
Prayers are funny things. Too many times they have been used as cannon fodder against those whom we disagree with politically, socially, or spiritually. Too many times we fallible mortals weaponized prayers to strengthen our fears, rather than seek peace within. The movie Monty Python and The Holy Grail satirized this human frailty in a scene where a group of monks are called upon to offer a blessing to The Holy Hand Grenade. To paraphrase: And Saint Attila did hold forth the Holy Hand Grenade saying, bless this Thy Holy Hand Grenade that we may blow Thine enemies to tiny bits….
I begin and end each day with a prayer of Thanks. My morning prayer: Thank you, Dear God for this perfect day. Today is a day of completion. Miracle will follow miracle and wonders will never cease.This is taken from the book The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovell-Schinn, and I have found that it really works for me.
My evening prayer is a little more in-depth: Thank you, Dear God for this wonderful day. Thank you for blessing those I love and Me. Thank you for blessing our home while we sleep. Thank you for blessing our families, our friends, and all those we love and care for. Thank you for my health, my writing, my opportunities, my art and my photography. Thank you for blessing us all, and thank you for all your blessings.
Whenever I feel a little scared or nervous I’ll also give a prayer of thanks, thank you Dear God for blessing our way to our destination and our way home. I will also envision me or us arriving at our destination with smiles on our faces, and sometimes that’s difficult for me to do, especially when I am feeling very nervous or scared.
I learned, a long time ago the power of giving over your worries to your Higher Power, (however you conceive that to be), and letting that Power work things out for you. I have come to know that this action, in of itself, is the ultimate expression of Faith. But the actual ritual of incorporating daily prayer into my life was through my experiences with the Traditions of the local Indigenous Cultures. This, in turn has brought me to a new level of understanding of my own Indigenous family background, (my Grandfather was Mohawk).
In Traditional Indigenous cultures the world over, thankfulness is the key to everything in their lives. I spent eight years immersed in Canadian Indigenous Cultures, working with incarcerated Indigenous people, their families, their Elders, and their communities. I became immersed in their traditional ways: their healing circles, their sweat lodges, their talking circles, their feasts, and their pipe ceremonies. Prayers of gratitude always play a key role in everything that happens from community meetings, to parole hearings I was involved with, to healing ceremonies and feast gatherings. We were always taught by the Elders to offer prayers of thanks every day, from the moment we wake until it’s time to slumber once more. Thank You is the most powerful prayer we will offer.
In the past I have kept Gratitude Journals which I would write in every morning, along with profound quotes which would resonate with me. I’ve not done that for a couple of years and perhaps the time is right for me to start that process again. I will continue to pray every day as I have found the most amazing thing about offering prayers of gratitude, is that you always find more to be grateful for.