Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by John Beckett, author of the new The Path of Paganism.
One of the most universal spiritual practices is prayer. Whatever else it may or may not do, prayer keeps us connected to that which we pray and that for which we pray. It serves as an affirmation of our values and our priorities, and at least when it’s done thoughtfully and reverently, reminds us that much of what we enjoy comes to us as a legacy from our ancestors and by the grace of the Gods.
My usual routine is to pray four times a day: before starting the day, before lunch, before dinner, and before going to bed. These are times when it’s easy to stop what I’m doing for a few minutes—I’m much less likely to forget about it than if they were scheduled for arbitrary times during the day. It also lines up nicely with the four elements and directions.
A full prayer life has room for both scripted prayers and extemporaneous prayers. Choose a mixture that incorporates the traditions that are meaningful to you while allowing room to express the yearnings of your heart on any given day.
Here’s my daily round.
Morning: Face East and Invoke Air. I offer Peace to the Quarters and the Druid’s Prayer (both from the modern Druid tradition) and pray for justice. I’m not a morning person, so these are the shortest and most scripted of all my prayers.
Noon: Face South and Invoke Fire. I pray for my family of blood and my family of choice. I pray for my health and safety, and for inspiration in my writing and speaking.
Afternoon: Face West and Invoke Water. I pray for my ancestors, those whose names I know and those I know only by where they’re from. I give thanks to the spirits of the place where I am and to the spirits of Nature.
Though I have a separate meditation practice, here I pause for a moment to listen. Most days I simply hear the background noises, but occasionally I pick up a bit of inspiration…or an instruction. I follow this up with a prayer to accept that which is and to do that which must be done.
Evening: Face North and Invoke Earth. I pray to each of the deities with whom I have an on-going relationship: Cernunnos, Danu, Morrigan, Brighid, and Lugh. These prayers are extemporaneous, but they usually focus on thanksgiving and on the work I am doing for and with them. I pray that I may be a dedicated and effective priest.
I end my daily prayers by toning the Awen three times, another part of my Druid tradition.
Our thanks to John for his guest post! For more from John Beckett, read his article, “A Pagan Framework For Discernment.”