Prayers, visioning, chanting — are they something? Part 1

Back when we were gearing up for the Iraq War I was very excited when James Twyman put out the call for a million to participate in praying for peace.  I believe in the power of prayer and the collective power multiplied when people pray together so I thought it had a good shot.  We didn’t get called together more than a few times before the war started (and after that Twyman quit calling us to prayer and used the large list he’d garnered to market his products endlessly…).   I don’t know if others felt that prayer failed — I just felt we didn’t have enough time and/or enough people.

When the collective prayer stopped I started saying the lovingkindness chant every day for half an hour.  The chanting changed me–softened me, changed my attitude about the president and bin Laden.  I believe that when we each make those changes it has an impact on the whole web of oneness but of course I have no way of knowing whether there was a specific impact outside of me due to the chanting.

At the time this was going on, all around me people talked about how we had to do something.  Among many people I knew the same theme kept emerging and whenever I suggested that the best course would be to hold a vision of peace, to create peace within ourselves, to chant and pray for peace, etc. I was told, “That’s all nice, but we really have to do something.”  I didn’t realize that praying was doing nothing, that it counted as nothing.

I kept thinking, “What if prayer is something?”

Many political issues have arisen since that time.  I know lots of people who feel called to act when each issue arises  I was a long time activist myself so I get it. But  I keep hearing the vitriol, the name-calling, the fury that seems to fuel a lot of that action and I cringe every time I encounter it.  I keep praying and chanting and trying to clear everything in me that stands in the way of being peace.  When I suggest that becoming peace and praying for peace and holding the vision of harmony might be useful I’m told, “But you have to do something.  When you see this wrong you have to do something.”  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, apparently praying is seen by most as nothing.

I keep thinking, “What if prayer is something?”

Lately I’ve been around lots of talk about global warming and the horrible future we face if people don’t change radically in their behaviors.  I suggest that it would help if we gathered to envision the earth as healed, prayed about the earth being healed, healed ourselves.  I’m always told, “That’s nice, but you have to DO something (often followed by lists of behaviors that ‘people’ must change…).”  Yeah, it seems I’m hard to convince of the truth so many apparently see, that visioning and praying and chanting and healing are nothing.

I keep thinking, “I believe it’s something.”

27 thoughts on “Prayers, visioning, chanting — are they something? Part 1

  1. I believe there is great power in prayer whether it’s done collectively or individually and I applaud you for sharing your thoughts. Each and everyone of us can make a difference.

  2. Collective consciousness is very powerful and wonderful. Like the Blogger’s for Peace badge we sport. Collectively let us manifest peace and let it begin in each of our hearts today. Namaste and so it is!

    Sindy Sue is brand new!

    • Yes, I hesitated over the word prayer because I don’t think of it in so much a religious way. I loved a song we used to sing in Unity called “Our thoughts are prayers” — “and we are always praying”.

  3. Great blog..

    I believe individual acts of kindness keep this world alive.
    I also believe a one thinking consciousness of love and caring for humanity exists.
    We just need more people on board. I see where you are going here.
    We need to all tap into this energy and make this place a better place.

    Well said! Well worth a RB

  4. I think prayer is something.

    But I also think we need to do some other things, too. Largely because I don’t think we can change other people’s wills . I think we need to persuade people, and feel prayer can help with understanding how to do that, in addition to creating positive energy in the universe.

  5. Prayer IS something. Did you know that reciting a mantra, prayer or the rosary actually produces physiological changes in your body such as: reduced heart rate and changes in brain waves? There are also studies being conducted that show the power of prayer of large groups. I think your intuition about prayer being “something” is spot on. I’d like to invite you to check out the Global Prayer Project: http://www.celestinevision.com/

    Thanks for this post. You have encouraged me to get back into my practice of prayer and meditation again!!

    • I’ll look into the Prayer Project — there are quite a few. I used to work for IONS and they did quite a bit of research on the effects of prayer, although they’ve backed off a bit now from the assertion that it definitely works. I still believe it does.

  6. Pingback: Working on a plan… | Not Just Sassy on the Inside

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