What it Means to Pray without Religion.
Updated: May 11
How using our thoughts can help create change.
Growing up, I only associated prayer with religion. I was also only familiar with one type of prayer: the prayer of request or supplication.
I thought to pray meant to ask for something. In fact, if you Google the word “prayer,” you’ll get hundreds of images of clasped hands, seemingly begging for something.
The act of prayer isn’t only passive, beseeching, or religious. For me, to pray is to align my thoughts with my Higher Power. When I pray, I’m connecting to something greater than myself and strengthening my energy.
It may seem passive, but out of prayer comes right action. I’m given the guidance to do something, go somewhere, say something, and take the action I trust I’m supposed to take in the world.
The type of prayer I often use is affirmative prayer. I affirm what I know in my heart to be true no matter what the situation appears to be. “All thought creates form on some level,” A Course in Miracles says. We may not see or know what form it takes, but every thought and every prayer has a corresponding vibration that goes out into the world.
Whether we believe this to be true or not, our thoughts do create. Whether we believe in the power of prayer or not, inspired action is the result of right thinking. We are powerful creators, and when we align our thinking and use prayer to speak truth into negative situations, we are, in fact, taking powerful action.
A few weeks ago, I was driving in the car with my mom and she mentioned how she could feel fall in the air. I was in Arizona visiting and remember thinking, “Arizona only has two seasons: hot and kinda hot.” But even in the desert, there’s a subtle change in the air that you feel—an unexplainable change of season you can sense.
I shared this in class with a group of 6th and 7th graders recently. We were talking about energy, and I asked whether or not they can usually tell if their parents are in a good or bad mood based on how they feel when they’re around them. They all responded, “Yesss!” I said, “When I open the door and walk into the room, you’ve already experienced my energy before I’ve even said anything.” I continued, “The same way my mom can subtly feel the change of season in Arizona is the same way each of us feels and experiences energy.”
When I was younger and coming to terms with my sexuality, I used to pray to God to help me not be gay. I thought I could “pray the gay away.” Then, when I was 25, I met my first boyfriend and fell in love. That very night I decided to stop praying. Prayer for me had always equated religion and a God that didn’t love gay people. When I made the choice to stop praying, it wasn’t like the universe stopped responding to me and cut me off. As a human being, I was still creating energy and the world around me continued to reflect my vibration, intention, and thought. It’s just that I was calling it something different.
The other day I was thinking about prayer and what it truly means when we say, “I’ll pray for you.” Or when we experience a challenge and ask someone to keep us in their thoughts and prayers. Modern science tells us that all forms of energy are associated with motion. Through scientific technology, we can now measure our thoughts and feelings. Thereby, when we pray, there’s an actual measurable transference of energy. That’s not to say when we pray it’s like waving a magic wand and whatever it is we pray for magically appears. But behind every thought and every prayer is a subtle force of energy—just like the feeling we sense when summer becomes fall.
When we offer prayer as a means of support and our intention is pure, there’s an energetic vibration that attracts a similar frequency. Whatever it is we’re praying for may not change, but we change. What we do, where we go, and what we say is affected. We may find ourselves sitting next to someone at a restaurant. We strike up a conversation that leads to the creation of an event. The event we find ourselves working on inspires others to take action in their own community. The ripple effects created from sitting next to a stranger at a restaurant were the result of consciously connecting to something greater than ourselves. This is the power of thought. This is the power of prayer.
After the shooting in Las Vegas happened, I took time to grieve and to be sad, and then I prayed. And I will keep praying for the guided action I trust I’m supposed to continue taking in the world. Directing our thoughts, praying for what we want to see more of, and taking action is powerful.
We are all here together right now for a reason. Whether we call it prayer or not, connecting to something greater than ourselves and helping create positive change on the planet is only a thought, or prayer, away.