Does Prayer Really Make a Difference?

K.C. HulsmanBy K.C. Hulsman

Yes, undoubtedly.

I understand that prayer is one of the foundational touchstones of every faith. It encompasses petitions, religious observances, any sort of conversation, and any type of spiritual communion between an individual and a God or Goddess.  Unlike other traditions such as Christianity, as a practitioner of Asatru I only have one surviving non-Christianized prayer, Sigdrifa's Prayer, to draw on for ancient inspiration. In it we can see a microcosm of the vast macrocosm of those ancient beliefs.

When it comes to prayer, as an Asatru I understand that I must first uphold my end of the exchange. Part of this applies to a virtue upheld in my faith: self-reliance. This means that if I pray for help finding a job I'd better not be sitting around, but actively searching and applying for jobs while circulating my résumé. Why should the Gods help those who won't first try to help themselves? We see stories of the Goddess Holda punishing those who have not done their work.

Beyond self-reliance, when dealing with the Holy Powers we also don't want to treat them like college students who only call their parents when they need money. Having a true relationship with the Holy Powers in our life is just like having a relationship with the living people in our lives -- it takes work. It doesn't just magically happen with a snap of your fingers. You talk to one another, share a meal, go for coffee, do activities together, and generally just keep in touch. It is only by engaging in a regular practice of communication with these holy, numinous powers that fulfillment is achieved, and our lives are enriched with blessings too numerous to count or reckon.

Do not be discouraged in prayer. There is no such thing as an unanswered prayer. All prayers are answered; they just may not be answered in the way we hoped -- sometimes, because our Gods know better what is truly needed, or because they have something even better planned for us.

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K.C. Hulsman is a gythia of Urdabrunnr Kindred and an active member of her local Asatru community.

10/4/2010 4:00:00 AM
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