Unity Magazine

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It would be impossible to provide a list of religions and spiritual traditions around the world. While we all know the most popular religions such as Judaism and Christianity, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of other practices that can be called “religions” or spiritual experiences and traditions.

Though most religions are seen as equal parts cultural and belief systems, they all have different ways of expressing them. One of the most common features of them all is that there are organized gatherings and behavior that could be summed up in the word “prayer”.

However, prayer is never standard, typical, or done in the same ways. For some, prayer is done in a building, at home, and with prayer groups. For others, prayer is done as a form of meditation. The list of “ways” that people pray could go on and on, but the one thing that most will agree upon is that there is power in prayer.

The Powers of Prayer

An article in Time Magazine looked at the ways that distance healing occurred when groups prayed for those who were ill. Some astonishing things happened. This story is certainly something to consider, but there is also another way to view the power of prayer.

When people pray, they can be asking a higher power for assistance. They might also be seeking some sort of enlightenment or guidance. Generally, it is a form of communication that is expressing either a need or gratitude.

And it is this latter expression that many point to as one of the strongest powers in prayer.

The Gratitude Study

In 2013, a study was released that demonstrated that the happiest people in the world are those who are grateful. Simply feeling gratitude towards others or just in general was shown to boost the level of happiness that test subjects experienced.

This tells us that when we are looking for ways to improve our state of mind and to boost our well being, it can be as simple as feeling gratitude. For instance, one woman lived her life according to one very firm principle, and it was to seek something to feel grateful for each day of her life. She wrote down what it was and said the words “thank you” out loud whenever that moment came.

She noted that it made her feel very open to others and had really helped her through some very bad times in her life.

Was this a form of prayer? According to many of the definitions of prayer, it does qualify. However, there is not necessarily a need to pray in a way that meets formal definitions of the term. Instead, what is more important is to experience that sense of spiritual outreach and communication, which many think of as letting go. Forgiveness, as an example, is similar to prayer because it involves a letting go and an outreach.

If you are looking to free the mind, improve your sense of well being, and lead a more vital life, consider how you might add prayer of some kind to your day.