Prayer (Latin, to beg, entreat) is an act of relating the soul, or self, to God in trust, penitence, praise, petition, and purpose, either individually or corporately. Several of these aspects of prayer have been isolated, such as petition s intercession, as have the ways that the person presents himself before God through contemplation, meditation, and recollection. In this regard, the term “prayer” is applied differently in various traditions. Within Eastern religions, prayer falls more naturally into the realm of worship (puja) and devotion (bhakti) as in nam simaran, the calling to mind of God among both Hindus and Sikhs.
Below are various forms of prayer:
The reason for including the “Invocation of the God/Goddess” in prayer may be questioned, but invocation as defined “is to ritually or magickally draw a spirit or deity into an object, place, setting or target.” Within the act of Drawing Down the Moon the consciousness of the Goddess is emerged with the consciousness of the high priestess–in the act of Drawing Down the Sun the consciousness of the God is emerged with the consciousness of the high priest. In like manner, the same in all prayer, the divine power is sought to be materialized; one of the best examples of this, if not the supreme example, is the Christian Communion ceremony. Catholics believe through the act of substantiation that the bread and wine, although the physical appearances remain, actually change into the body and blood of Christ, and they partake of this divinity when consuming the bread and wine. Even though the two acts are not identical, they are similar in their objective: to bring divine inspiration and help into people’s lives.
However, throughout history the question has remained concerning the use of Christian prayers in magic and divination. There have been incidents of Christians saying prayers while picking medicinal herbs to help them in the discovery of the herbs and to increase the medical potency of the herbs to cure illnesses. During these times prayers were allowed to be said but not pagan or magic charms. During these and similar incidents the distinction between prayer and magic becomes blurry to the objective observer as both are performed to serve the same purposes.
Historian Keith Thomas in Religion and the Decline of Magic, (1971), suggests that the Church may have made it more difficult to eliminate made when it muddied the distinction between magical charms and Christian prayers. Many magical healers and magicians employ Christian prayers in their practices. The Church claims these persons render such prayers ineffective and debase them. They become pagan charms. However, many people believe in these healers and prayer and simultaneously rely on both. A.G.H.
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 763-764
Grimassi, Raven, Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft,St. Paul, MN, Llewellyn Worldwide, 2000, p. 194
Shepard, Leslie A., ed., Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, 3rd ed.Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1991