He Who Gets the Most Prayers Does Not Always Win (and how to actually pray)

We all seem to have gotten the misconception and the comforting idea that that he with the most prayers wins.

“I’ve got my whole church praying for him,” people would whisper as my brother-in-law fought his last year of cancer. Our whole church at the time was praying for him. I have been reliving this the past few days over Facebook while a friend’s great love battles in intensive care (and from a realistic acquaintance’s view, probably not going to make it). “My whole church is praying for him,” someone says. Others nod through their keyboards and agree. Everyone is praying. The more prayers he gets, the faster he heals? It doesn’t work that way, folks. People die. People get sicker. My brother-in-law died. This young man may as well. We aren’t praying for the outcome we want. There are reasons beyond our limited knowledge. It is not a popularity contest.

Now, I have, myself, experienced three mighty big miraculous healings. My husband as well. I know that miracles exist in the day to day and are not uncommon. But, what if the fellow in intensive care gets one thousand prayers and he dies today; did Creator ignore everyone’s prayers? We are praying for the wrong things.

Creator already knew the outcome of Ken’s illness. The spirit world knew when he would die. He was never going to get better, no matter how many people, across how many religious walls, were praying.

When you pray for someone, particularly this time of year, pray for comfort. For strength. For peace with the outcome. For guidance. Pray for love.

Then after you are done praying, BE THERE. If you are close to someone (or even if you are not), see what you can do. You can’t just say a quick prayer then be on your way. Creator can’t do it all alone, the spirit world works through you! Don’t ask, just do. A meal for the freezer. A letter. See if they need errands run. Animals need checked on. Offer a hug. Send love. Love is prayer. Put them in your mind and send them great love. Everything is energy, send love and they will feel it. Light a candle.

By continuing to believe that the most prayers wins, we leave out those that don’t have large families or large churches, or maybe anyone. Do they lose out? This is not a competition, folks, pray for everyone, pray daily (doesn’t matter who you pray to…it all goes to the same place, Creator is everywhere), and pray for love. The universe has the rest taken care of. Instead of getting your whole church to pray for something, listen. You will hear in your heart when someone needs an uplifting word, when you can do something, when you can be the prayer. And if you cannot, pray for peace.

The Witch Myths

501a94c193cd108c975a0b7379e57d3b“What exactly do you mean when you say you are a witch?” my cousin asked honestly.

True, when one thinks of witches they often think of skyclad or ornately draped women, perhaps on acid, chanting at the moon.  Or of satan worshipers killing bats and tagging walls.  Or perhaps the old Disney witch pops into mind.  Is there even such a thing as a witch?  And if you are a witch, does that mean you are Wiccan?  Pull up a chair and a cup of coffee and let’s go back a few years to start this story.

One of my favorite farm memoir authors is Jenna Woginrich.  In her books she speaks of agricultural holidays.  She never said the “W” word because that would bring up images of the above.  In fact, until her last book she never said the “P” word…pagan, another word that brings up images.  I was enthralled with the traditional Celtic calendar.  As a farmer the holidays and festivals made so much sense. Everything centered around the earth’s cycles and community.  It was beautiful.

I was a good Christian girl, now, and looked down on any little witchy girls, ’cause who knows what they are up to.  It wasn’t until I began to see in history how all of the Christian holidays were in fact pagan that I starting delving deeper into history.

I have been a flower child since the start.  Planting dandelion seeds in the neighbor’s grass when I was eight, spending vast amounts of time as a teenager alone in nature.  Becoming an herbalist and spending time walking through woods.  I am in love with the plants, the creatures that share this planet, and the cycles of the earth.  I realize how small we are in the whole scheme of things and that we are intricately connected to all things.

I spent a lot of time mentoring with Native American elders and the American Indian religions are the same as the Celtic.  Earth and nature based.  As I continued to research I found that all over the world the ways of thinking and connecting with Great Spirit was the same until organized religion came about (not just Christianity).

Enter the “W” word.  The word “Witch” means wise woman. Okay, hold onto your coffee cups, we’re about to get real here.  Lighting candles to send prayers to heaven, sending intentions to the Universe in hopes that they come true, all of these things are essentially a part of our genetic heritage and inner knowing.  We do them in church, but they are not religious practices.  We are interconnected with everything in the Universe and we can manifest and imagine whatever we want into being.  We are not hopeless little creatures running around hoping God will save us.  We have been given great power to do good and make changes and be instruments of healing.

So a working witch might help you put together a mantra, a spell, may help you dispel negative energy in your house (like a priest would), may help guide you, may make you some amazing tea that helps with arthritis.  She/he may go out and look at the intensity of the stars and may follow biodynamic farming (by the moon), they may be a vegetarian because they love animals.  None of these things make someone a witch.  And being a witch doesn’t mean that you aren’t Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist.  Being a witch does not mean you are Wiccan. Wicca is an organized religion and not all of us want to jump back into that boat!  Being a witch might just be seeing the Great Spirit in waterfalls and sparrows, in all of creation.  A witch sees through people.  They don’t need to be in organizations that are based on power and fear.

Pagan means “rustic villager”.  It was a moniker given by the warriors that came to convert the villagers.  The spirituality of our indigenous ancestors was not taught.  It was known.  In your spirit, it is still known.  It is the most natural spirituality there is.  It is universal.  A Witch is someone who helps people.  They often have intuitive abilities, they can help heal, they can help guide, they can teach you how to manifest, they see the glory in all of creation, and live their lives by it.  They help create a better planet, a more compassionate community, and they see magic all around them, every day.  That is the world of the Witch.  It’s a beautiful place to be.

That’s what I mean.

 

 

The Journey of Color and Life

Can I be everything?  Can I recognize the ribbons of similarity running through each divine celebration and realize they are all intertwined and so similar that our entire life is a joyous journey overlooked by the Divine?  Can I be Amish and Catholic and Jewish and Messianic and Methodist?  Can I be Buddhist and Hindu and Wiccan and myself?  Can I celebrate Hanukkah, and Beltane, and Christmas too?

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Love God, Love ourselves.  Are those not our only commandments?  Those can certainly be taken from meditation to maypole.  Those that use their books of designated scripture to pick out what they wish and translate it how they wish, to feel pity on others and make themselves feel better are sadly stuck in chains.  That the One created all people and traditions and colors and life is bigger than we can fathom.  I breathe in the excitement of all this.

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I love all people to a point of heartbreak sometimes.  I love to read about different cultures, different foods, different religious celebrations, different lives, and the knowledge that our lives are all simply intertwined in much bigger forces makes us all one enormous family.

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Just as I am Irish, English, Scottish, Dutch, Cherokee, German, Black French, and who knows what else, I am every religion too as I embrace the ways the world celebrates.  I have had amazing physical healings, have seen miracles beyond description, and my faith is deeply rooted.  I am as comfortable in an American Indian ceremony as I am going to confession as I am remembering my loved ones at Samhain.  So many beautiful traditions and ways to worship.  The world is not black and white but rather grey.  No, not even grey, but a kaleidoscope of color.  Celebrate.