How do we pray?

Some pointers on prayers


There is much to know about what modes of operation our universe uses in order to manifest creation.  I highly recommend Greg Braden’s book ‘the Divine Matrix’ in which he explains to his best ability, with back up from science and the indigenous people, a way the Divine Matrix operates.  One of the pieces that came out of this was that the energy which underlays all of creation responds to coherent feelings and is holographic in nature.  When we make a small change in one place, the imprint shows up everywhere.  It is our heart and our beliefs that creates and shapes our reality and world.


In the two decades that I have been doing ritual now I have come to some insights too that I love to share here so you can get more out of the rituals we do.

The prayers that are most effective are those that come from the heart.  Many in our culture are not used to praying in this way.  Over the years in facilitating ritual I have been observing great prayers, a lot of attempts to prayer and a lot of silence.  And there are a lot of people that do excellent prayers silently and there are also many who are lost.

There is not so much a right or wrong in how we do our prayers.  There are however, types of prayers that are more effective to bring in what you are asking for.  Different cultures have different approaches to prayers as well.  In general, prayers are the most powerful when we become the prayer, already live it, and be it as if the prayer already happened.  The idea is that we never leave the prayer. 

There are prayers of request that ask for help and interference from the other world in an issue we struggle with and there are prayers of gratitude for the requests that were fulfilled.  The gratitude prayers are of the highest nature and they become the food for the other world.  Essentially there is no difference between the prayer of request and the prayer of gratitude.  Every prayer could start with gratitude.  It is our power to envision the healing already occurred and giving thanks to that.  But sometimes we just need the other world to know our pain and give our burdens and suffering over to them.  Sometimes we have to send things back to where they originated or belong.  Key is to ask for the help from the other side and be clear about it.  There are all different reasons as to why we pray.   And there are all different ways as to how we pray.


Our voice can become a powerful vehicle through song, sound, and poetry to crack the heart of the other world open.  Eloquence and beauty is what feeds the spirits.  Efficiency kills the spirits.  In ritual every move and act is asked to be executed with elegance and artistry to feed the spirit world.  It is a license to totally express our creative abilities.  This does not mean that it is all about the beauty of life, rather about how we have turned our suffering into beauty to feed something larger than us.  


Another aspect of prayer is to address the spirits, ancestors, the Divine, the Great Mother or God personally.  And in some practices you address the ancestors to speak on your behalf to the Spirit of the Earth or Nature.  The key is that you have a personal relationship with the one you pray and work with.  In the evolution of the planet we are looking to co-create with the other world and are stepping out of the hierarchical unequal relationship that was imposed on us from the major religions in the world.


There are differences if we are working with forces outside of us (invocation) or calling the force and the knowing up inside of us (evocation).   What is important in either type of prayer is the language.  What words are most effective?

- Speaking in the now; talking as if it already happened.

- Avoiding verbs that express what you are inviting in life into the future or on ‘someday island’ like, I hope, I am going to, I will, I can, I try.

- The verbs ‘want, need, desire, long’ means to lack.  You are telling the universe you are lacking this and that is what they send to you.  ‘To long and to desire’ do get used when it comes to enhancing the poetry in the prayer. 

- Avoid prayers that focus on what you do not want.  Energy follows attention.  The universe does not make a distinction between yes or no.  The more you push for what you do not want the more it shows up.  Words carry vibrations and that is what the universe responds to.  Speak to creating a world where people have the ability to express themselves rather than having a world without oppression.  Or have a world of race-embracism rather than having a world without racism.  It is crucial at this time to put the effort into the vision.  Without vision there is no direction and we will keep rehashing the old story over and over again.  It is hard to create change if our only reference is healing the thing we do not want.

- Prayers that you want to control the outcome of I have found to be very ineffective.  We call upon the other world because they know something you do not know and we need to leave room for them to maneuver and create an outcome that is even better than you could ever imagine.  Also if we control things we lose track of the very understanding why we are in this predicament in the first place.   The mind and soul without conscious awareness are in opposition.  The soul is here to evolve and will push for the crisis so we make the change, which may not be the thing the mind wants; as Neil Donald Walsh says - ‘To want what we get and not, get what we want’.

- There is a basic understanding that we are the masters of our own reality and the universe makes sure to fulfill that need by creating the evidence.  We therefore are also the ones that have the power to un-create our reality.  You can rally every force to talk to you to help you navigate your choices.

- Not all prayers are pretty either.  Powerful prayers are the ones where your bones are rattling and you feel the urgency and the need for healing.   In prayers of emergency you rally all the forces to show up and help out in an immediate crisis.  When things are rough express it.  When we deal with ancestors there is an interesting mix of emotion as they passed on their troubles, as well as the amazing gifts that got us here.  And we have to let them know how we feel.  If we cannot give our suffering and feelings over to them, where else do we go?  There will be times that we are angry at the ancestors or angry at God.  Give it voice.

- Be specific in who you call in.  Avoid calling in ‘all entities’ without specifications because you could be in for trouble.

- In some cultures naming that what is so sacred is a blasphemy and poetry becomes the way this energy you want to bring in is called into life.  In that way the language for ritual is different than for daily life.


What truly counts is, are we able to crack the heart of the world open with our prayer?  Only when we are molded and touched by life and speak from the heart is this possible.  In the end, what we find, as we get more proficient at these forms of praying, is that the other world comes through in our speaking.  As you address it you become it.


My very first prayer, as I stood in front of this enormous shrine I had created at one of Malidoma’s trainings, was me trembling and stammering and saying, ‘Ancestors, I don’t know what I am doing’.  Everybody commented on the fact that I was so honest.


So here, dive into this wonderful world of speaking you heart out.  It is between you and spirit.  At times nobody needs to hear it and at other times everybody needs to hear it.


I want to express my thanks to the people who’s prayers have touched me – Malidoma Somé, Martin Prechtel, Ina Moffett, Neil Donald Walsh, Greg Braden, and many of my peers that have grown with me.

May your prayers manifest in the best possible way.


Katja Esser