When you think about it, our prayers are usually monologues with the Deity. A lot of mine have been give me this, I’d like something to happen, I need something. Oh yeah, please. It finally occurred to me that I’d rather have a dialogue. I tried praising, thanking, and confessing my short-comings with a promise to do better in the future. I found myself conversing with the Big Kahuna.

According to my trusty Encarta World English Dictionary the word prayer comes from, you guessed it, Latin. Precarius means “obtained by entreaty”, from precari to “entreat”. The first definition is “communication with God or other being”. It goes on to say, “It may express praise, thanksgiving, confession or a request for something such as help or somebody’s well being.”

In this busy world there isn’t always enough time for praising and thanking the Deity. Also, the old ways may not be appropriate or adequate for today’s times. Many people are on new paths, creating new ways, combining differing old traditions into hybrid rituals that work for them. What is prayer, after all? I grew up learning that the main ‘prayer’ in my life was Sunday Mass. The rest of the week prayer was relegated to grace at meals and at bedtime. As a child, I said a prayer before crawling into bed. After the first hundred or so recitations, I didn’t particularly pay attention to what these words were really saying. I’m kinda glad I didn’t. I don’t think a child should be thinking about dying in their sleep.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
Should I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

This prayer has been around since the 18th century, it’s about time it was put to rest. Like everything else, prayers should be updated to present circumstances and individualized in order to remain useful. Rather than a ‘death’ prayer, I choose a life affirming prayer to send me to my rest.

As well as I did today,
help me to be a
better person tomorrow.
Good night, Pachamama,
pleasant dreams.

In searching for websites that had Pagan prayers, I came across this prayer which beautifully replaces the antiquated, traditional night prayer for children and adults alike.

Thanks Apollo for the light
Welcome Hypnos of the night
Please, Morpheus, stand by me
Bring good dreams that I can see

After childhood I went many years without formal prayers. Then I figured my life was more or less a prayer after I became aware of the ancientness and power of Goddess. Then I figured I could do more. I could become conscious as much as possible throughout the day. Could I weave my spiritual life into every mundane moment? Could I become conscious in, and for, every moment? What could I say prayer-wise in the morning? As I was dressing? As I was eating? As I was enjoying a sunset (very rare in Southern California, darn it)?

I came up with the following, trying to create awareness first thing in the morning, and to honor the Mother Goddess of South America–Pachamama (my personal, go-to Goddess) and Hawaiian Pele, She of volcanoes, Creatrix and Destroyer of land. As I’m dressing, before putting on my socks, I massage my feet. Using my thumbs, I press on the soles of my feet, paying particular attention to any tender spots. As I’m using my unschooled technique of accu-pressure, I say the following for each foot.

Awaken to the
Love and
of Pachamama.
Walk gently on Her body.

My wish is that I will remain aware throughout the day of the Goddess energy which surrounds me, which radiates upward from Mother Earth. My feet are the conduits between Her and me. My wish is to also be so conscious of my footprint on Mother Earth, that I will do nothing to further pollution and instead be an instrument for Her healing. Remember, it’s not the words you say that are important as much as the intent behind them. Say whatever comes into your heart. Prayer is a very special, intimate conversation. Make it yours.