Does Prayer Really Make a Difference?

Ruby SaraBy Ruby Sara

It depends.

If by "prayer," you mean making wishes or requests of your god, and by "make a difference" you mean to get jobs, win games, avoid accidents, etc., . . . in my experience, how, why, and whether it is successful will always depend on the perception of the person praying, and the veracity of its successes and failures will always rely more on the power of anecdotal evidence than quantifiable science. But I can say that I will continue to employ prayer (and spellcraft) in this way, whether or not it makes a verifiable difference, because at the very least, it kindles hope.

If, however, by "prayer," you mean standing beneath the vault of space, on a night that is so clear and sharp that you can imagine each star a fixed diamond in the dark honey of the sky, and firelight throws luminous shadows into the faces of friends, and the song of earth is humming in your heels . . .

And if by "make a difference," you mean allowing the Ineffable Shattering Ecstatic Shout to come rocking and rolling up from the earth and down from the stars to break you open like a green-lined seed in the rich pith of the earth, and fill you with a hunger for justice, a reverence for Beauty, and the strength to continue loving and working in the face of the great human sorrow-made-joy-made-sorrow-made-joy inherent in this precious, exquisitely embodied, finite existence . . .

Then I'd have to say . . . Yes.

Prayer, unequivocally, makes a difference.

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Poet, liturgist, and performance artist, Ruby Sara is a regular columnist for Witches and Pagans magazine and a member of the Pagan performance collective Terra Mysterium. She blogs at Pagan Godspell

10/4/2010 4:00:00 AM
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