how we pray

Bodhi (taking a drink from the water bucket intended for our rose plant)…I filled this bucket a few weeks ago to take outside and left it by the door but it quickly became our cats favorite watering place, ….so now we keep it filled

Yesterday I received an email from a friend who wanted to let me know that as she was driving home from a several-day trip away, a happy image of me had flashed through her mind and in that moment she sent a blessing. I was so touched and grateful for this prayer. I could feel the power of it as I read her email, and it gave me the idea for today’s post. I love hearing about the ways that we pray, and invite you to share any part of your “prayer life” with us.

One of the ways that I pray for others, is to bring that person to mind and imagine them telling me that something good has happened in their life. I know that my prayer has been “effective” (my positive intention for them has been received so to speak) when I can feel the happiness myself.


If we send out only good thoughts, no evil, no curse can ever reach us in our being. That is why we must always bless friend and foe alike. Not only will the blessing fly toward its objective to fulfill its mission of appeasement, but it will one day or another return to us with all the good with which it was loaded.” (Tierno Bokar, African Sage, quoted in the book,  The Gentle Art of Blessing)

33 thoughts on “how we pray

  1. What a wonderfully spiritual way to share our Friday morning by sharing such a meaningful part of ourselves…I love this post Mary and the quote you have chosen!

    I have loving cheerful pictures (the mental images of actual photos that I have taken) in my head of those I care deeply for…I call them my “heartlinks” (based on a breathing exercise I learned a long time ago)…it’s the picture I intuitively call up from my heart when I am thinking of someone special to me. When I am in a peaceful place (taking a walk, sitting by the pond, driving past a favorite special spot) and thinking of a particular friend or loved one, I call forth that cheerful picture, my heartlink, think about it, recall the happy moment of the picture, feel it, and when I feel my heart smiling, I bless that person in that very instant! I get such a warm feeling. I have learned not to let these special moments of warm thoughts pass by too quickly. I like to dwell in them for a bit…I rejoice in that person for awhile. I can often feel their spirit, their energy as they receive my blessing prayer…and I smile.

    Happy weekend to all! XOXO

    • beautiful, beautiful Kathye….and what a fantastic idea (to actually use the photographic image as the touch stone)…thank you for sharing this

  2. Dear Mary…..a beautiful post and another wonderful weekend activity! Whenever I want to pray good thoughts towards someone or something, I visualize a pyramid of white light surrounding them, bringing them goodness, protection, awareness and beauty. I see the pyramid filled with love, filling that person (animal, situation, etc.) with the wisdom and peace of divine light. I think one of the most wonderful and powerful results of praying and sending blessings is that we, as the sender…..also receive multiple blessings simply by generating the goodness within ourselves as we send it forward.

    • The image of the light-filled pyramid is so powerful Debra…I love it…thank you!

  3. Hello Mary, This is a wonderful way to keep cool! I tried a version of this walking up to my mother’s home. Her next door neighbor has an adorable little black dog who is fearful of everyone and barks at anyone’s approach. I slowed down my breathing and sent positive and peaceful wishes to the dog. The dog didn’t bark at me! Thank you for your great blogs. Susan G

  4. The other day I was emailing a friend and told her that I would pray for her sister-in-law who has breast cancer. As I was writing, I remembered that the friend I was emailing struggles with spiritual concepts…so I added the phrase sending “good healthy vibrations”. Whatever words we use are not as important as our good intention is. I once heard that prayer does not change God but that prayer changes us.

    My daughter is taking an important test this afternoon; part of her New York State Teacher’s Certification. Please pray for her with whatever words you use. Note to Jack, Katharine was very happy to hear you were sending good thoughts her way and enjoyed her historical journey through your unique antique shop.

    Happy Weekend to all who fly by this blog space.

    • Many good blessings to your daughter, Mary Rita. With all the good thoughts coming her way, she will sail through the test!

    • I can see your daughter happily finding out that she has passed the test Mary Rita and will hold that thought

  5. Love this post, Mary (but then…when DON’T I)!

    I have a small altar on a shelf in my second bedroom. It was hand-made for me about 10 years ago by a person who only does them when she feels moved to. The back of it is in the form of an arch, and built into the body of the arch, and sitting on a base is a suggested form of a goddess, her arms forming a circle in her lap. The circle by itself forms a receptacle of sorts. The base of the altar is covered with dried flowers that seem to grow upward, forming a frame for the woman’s figure. On the rest of the base are a couple of small crystals, an area that holds a small tea candle, a tiny stone pot raised up on a tripod made of sticks, and a small Medicine Wheel made of stones.

    When I am thinking of someone, especially if they have a special intention, I hold them in thought, send them blessings for whatever they need, and then I write their name on a small piece of paper and place it in the arms of the figure/woman/goddess. This ritual is one I love, and it solidifies the act of prayer for me when someone is in need.

    If I am going about my day and happen to think of someone, I picture them surrounded in light and love, and just release the image to Spirit. In fact, I am now doing this for Mary and the entire WFF. Have a blessed day and a weekend of nothing but bright things.

    • Oh Thank you Suzanne! I gratefully accept your blessing, and am imagining that goodness flowing out from your altar to us all..and back to you in waves of Good

  6. Mary, what love is flowing today! Thank you for sharing your friend’s email with us, and her blessing and prayer for you. And then inviting us to share ways in which we pray. . . – Years ago in a Bible Study our group was using a book by Maxie Dunnam that offered a most simple and beautiful way to pray for others. It is also extremely relaxing as it involves slow, deep breathing. I also find it helpful when I don’t really know what it is my friend or loved one may be needing, but I know that God does, so all I need to do is offer up that person’s name. Sitting quietly, on a slow inhale, say to yourself, “I breathe the love of God within”, and on an equally slow exhale, say then, “and pass it on to _________” (with the name of whoever you are praying for. You can find yourself covering quite a prayer list with this simple request! Suzanne, I can almost see your altar, beautiful! Blessings to all – this morning, I will breathe the love of God within, and pass it on to each and every member of the flock.

    • This is a wonderful method, Susan….pocket-sized to carry with you for use whenever needed. Really love this and I thank you for sharing with us all!

    • What a stunningly simple and beautiful prayer Susan…it makes me want to take a deep, calming breath just reading it, thank you and thank you for the blessing which I gratefully accept and send back to you mulitplied 1000 times

  7. Thank you for your post Mary. I was having a frustrating day when I read it, and your suggestions along with the many offered by your readers were such a lift. I believe the best way we can help ourselves is to try and help someone else. I’ll always remember the Sunday School teacher who taught us that every time we heard a siren to say a prayer for whoever it involves. To this day, whenever I hear one, I silently say a prayer whenever I hear one. Thanks to you and all those who shared their stories…I’ll be using the ideas. And as I wrote this, I offered up one for everyone here!

    • You are so welcome Marisa and thank you for your prayers for all of us…they are happily received and sent back to you with love

  8. Today is my daughter-in-law’s birthday. Because she has had to leave her family and travel halfway across the country to be with her mother, who is dying, it didn’t seem appropriate to send the traditional “Happy Birthday” wishes. Instead I sent her a variation of the blessing contained in the Buddhist Lovingkindness Meditation: “May you be well and peaceful.” (The original includes the word “happy”.) I, too, visualize the person each time I send that blessing.

  9. Dear Mary,

    How greatly I enjoyed seeing Luke yesterday bringing you lovely gifts which you I’m sure happily accepted. Then today, honoring your kitties’ wishes with their choice of a new water dish.

    I’m remembering Ben taking over your suitcase as his new bed, and another kitty, (Fred?) taking over part of the landing you were trying to clean, thereby changing your plan to accomodate his.

    How very greatly blessed are all who venture into your sphere of this world, real and virtual!

    Thank you for these uplifting and inspiring messages. My weekend has been blessed by them.

    From Fran

  10. When an ambulance passes with sirens blaring, I make the sign of the cross and ask God to keep them in the palm of His hand to comfort them.

  11. Today’s poem in Writer’s Almanac is such a fitting “P.S.” to Mary’s post yesterday about watching for signs. The little twist here is that the sign was found by getting lost! Enjoy –


    by Jeffrey Harrison

    Sometimes, out of nowhere, it comes back,
    that night when, driving home from the city,
    having left the nearest streetlight miles behind us,

    we lost our way on the back country roads
    and found, when we slowed down to read a road sign,
    a field alive with the blinking of fireflies,

    and we got out and stood there in the darkness,
    amazed at their numbers, their scattered sparks
    igniting silently in a randomness

    that somehow added up to a marvel
    both earthly and celestial, the sky
    brought down to earth, and brought to life,

    a sublunar starscape whose shifting constellations
    were a small gift of unexpected astonishment,
    luminous signalings leading us away

    from thoughts of where we were going
    or coming from, the cares that often drive us
    relentlessly onward and blind us

    to such flickering intervals when moments
    are released from their rigid sequence
    and burn like airborne embers, floating free.

    “Interval” by Jeffrey Harrison, from Feeding the Fire. © Sarabande Books, 2001. Reprinted with permission.

    • Made me feel like I was coming home, in some very gentle, subtle, way. Lovely, Susan. Thanks.

  12. I was planning to be all sweetness & light today, calm, in a positive frame of mind & not let the little stuff rattle me like the puppy taking a half pound of butter off my kitchen counter when I was trying to bake a blueberry crumb cake just now for my B&B guests coming in later today. Thankfully, I heard the knife drop that I’d sliced the butter with & racing into the kitchen, found her in bed devouring her catch. I managed to grab most of it, wash it off & it’s gone into the crumb topping, along with one or two dog hairs. so calm & collected I do not feel at the moment but I loved Kathe’s wonderful comments and others here as well. I am mindful of all the good things that I see in life…this morning driving to a nearby farm for my eggs, I passed hundreds of brightly colored prayer flags flying at the International Taoist Health Recovery Centre. It’s teacher’s training week starting tomorrow. Then, leaving the farm, the garbage truck came to the end of the farm laneway, backed up, the driver hopped out in his bring orange shirt & began chatting with my friend, the lady farmer who was in the vegetable patch. These two vignettes stayed with me all day until the butter episode. And now I’m reading all these wonderful posts & calming down again. thanks, Mary. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop reaching for my mental poison darts but I’ll sure try to bless those who annoy me…I will try.
    SandyP in Canada

    • I loved reading what you wrote Sandy….your puppy and the butter, your trip…it was a wonderful little scene for me to jump into for a couple of minutes…thank you!

    • LOL! You keep it so real, Sandy P. Love your response! Better to have butter with a couple of dog hairs than no butter at all, I say. 🙂

      • An addendum, after correcting the shirt colour from ‘bring’ to bright orange on the young man driving the garbage truck…I met my friend, the farm lady in town yesterday and remarked on how wonderful it was to see all that happening when I went to pick up my eggs and she said: “I’ll let you in on a little secret. I give him cookies all the time !”

  13. I learned that for me, physicality is strength and true intentions. I actually kneel by my bed ,fold my hands and put my head down in reverance and pray. I ‘ve been doing it like this for several years and it feels so right to me.
    Have a nice weekend everyone. 🙂

    • Cindy, I so relate to this, the physicality of assuming a posture that sometimes makes words unnecessary. It is a prayer in itself. One of my favorite in yoga practice is when you are invited to take Child’s Pose, totally prostrate, head on the floor, knees relaxed and spread, the body utterly relaxed and grounded –

  14. It is evening and I am feeling so blessed by your post and all of the comments here, Mary. I pray very simply, like a conversation, with a dear friend, I pray for blessings for loved ones, including the souls here, that I only know by name, but feel a kinship to. Blessings abound!

  15. Mary – I think Bohdi looks like he’s praying and is thankful for an abundant water supply! Thank you for sharing the blessing from your friend, as well as the lovely quote. It has been wonderful to read everyone’s comments and I feel blessed by the love generated in such openness. My prayers are very simple and often end with the sign of the cross. Although I was not brought up in the Catholic Church, my best friend was and I spent a lot of time there while growing up. After reading Cindy’s comment, it struck me that the physicality of making the sign is what has appealed to me over the years. Neat to figure that out!

  16. In the dark quiet of the early morning as my dog and I walk in silence, I am teaching myself the Rosary as a way of reinforcing my intention to be more prayerful in all aspects of my life. Though not a Roman Catholic, it is a comforting biblical prayer style I discovered from annual silent retreats to a Jesuit Retreat Center in south Louisiana.

Comments are closed.