What is Prayer, How to Pray, Why Some Prayers Aren’t Answered, and Suggested Prayers for Protection and Guidance

by Anne Reith, Ph.D.
Hands in prayer position surrounded by white and blue light
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Hands in prayer position surrounded by white and blue light

What is prayer?

Prayer is simply a time when you are communicating something to God/Source/Spirit.  The goal of this communication often includes:

  • A request for assistance, guidance, or protection. 
  • An expression of gratitude and thanks.

How should we pray?

Contrary to some belief systems, Spirit has repeatedly told me that there are no rules about how to pray.  For example:

  • Prayers can be done aloud, silently, or written down.
  • You don’t have to organize your prayer in a specific way (e.g., beginning, middle, end).
  • You don’t have to use any specific words or phrases in order for the prayer to be effective.
  • Your prayers doesn’t have to be directed to the “right” entity in order for it to be heard or acted on.

Just pray! Those on the other side love hearing from us . . . and they want to hear from us often!

Why aren’t some prayers answered?

All prayers are heard. But sometimes we can feel like they haven’t been received or heard because we don’t get what we are asking for.

I definitely have had this happen. This is particularly difficult to believe that we are being heard when we have been praying for something repeatedly, fervently, and over a long period of time. These are the times when doubts creep in and it’s hard to not take it personally.

But there are times when prayers do go unanswered. There are many theories about why this happens, and some of these include the following:

  • We Haven’t Asked: Due to the Law of Free Will, they can’t provide assistance unless you ask.  The exception is when it’s a life-threatening situation and it’s “not our time.” But otherwise, we need to ask for assistance.
  • Our Life Script: Also due to the same Law of Free Will, those on the other side can’t provide us with what we ask for if it will interfere with your ability to make certain choices that are part of your life script.  For example, if we have written into our life script that we want to learn how to earn our own money in this lifetime, then your prayers to win the lottery would be in violation of what we chose before coming into this lifetime.
  • Another Person’s Life Script: It is always good to pray for others, but sometimes we want for them is something that would violate their life script (see bullet Our Life Script). It could also be that what we believe would be for their highest good isn’t really what is best for them (see bullet Perspective).
  • Motives: When we pray for another person, usually this is because we want an improvement in their life. However, there are times when we are (a) trying to force someone to do something we want or (b) asking for them to receive punishment for something they have done that we believe was hurtful.
  • Spiritual Perspective: We may be asking for X, but those on the other side know that Y would be so much better. We have limited perspective, but spiritual perspective is so much broader. Sometimes we have to trust that they know more than we do, because they do! This is referred to as trusting in Divine Order.
  • Divine Timing: This is related to Spiritual Perspective. We may be asking for X and asking to have it NOW!. But those on the other side may know that either (a) it will be so much better if it happens a little later and/or (b) those on the other side need more time to get all of the related people, places, and things in order before it can be provided. This is referred to as trusting in Divine Timing. Sometimes it is coming but it’s just not the right time.
  • Law of Attraction: I do believe in the Law of Attraction, and I have personally spoken to people who say that they are praying for X, but their underlying belief system is that X is impossible for them to have. When this happens, it’s like we are giving Spirit conflicting message. The result is that nothing happens. Or if we do get what we want, it comes slowly and with many challenges. If we can get our prayers and beliefs aligned, then our message is clear and Spirit can respond (if possible).

At this point in the discussion, many people then ask whether it’s even worth praying. For example, if we don’t know if our life script would allow us to win the lottery or would allow our best friend to be cured of cancer, should we even ask? Absolutely!

We don’t know what is written into our life script (or the life script of someone else); therefore, it’s always worth asking. We just have to have faith that those on the other side will respond if they can. And if they can’t, then it will help if we can step back, look at it from a spiritual perspective, and trust that there’s a Divine reason a prayer isn’t being answered (at least not right now).

Suggested prayers

As previously stated, prayers are not more effective if they use specific words or phrases. It can simply be a conversation with God/Source/Spirit.

However, some Lightworkers do enjoy using “ritualistic prayers,” at least some of the time. If a more standardized prayer approach is preferred, then either of the following options is fine:

  • Religious Prayers: You can certainly use any of the prayers that you learned in childhood during your religious upbringing. For example, those who were raised within the Christian faith may still use The Lord’s Prayer. John Edward, one of the most famous mediums working today, still uses The Lord’s Prayer before doing all of his mediumship readings. 
  • Spiritual Prayers: Other people within the metaphysical field would like to use a “ritualistic prayer,” but either (a) they weren’t raised in a faith that used this type of prayer or (b) they would like to use a prayer that reflects their expanding understanding of spirituality.

The following prayers are those that would be described as Spiritual Prayers that do not reflect one specific understanding of spirituality. These are simply suggestions, and these options aren’t meant to be an exhaustive list.  Many others are available.

If one of the following prayers sounds interesting, then “take it for a test drive.” See how it feels. But if it doesn’t feel “right” to you, then keep searching. Also, remember to ask your guides to help you find what will match your needs. 

The Light Invocation

The Light Invocation exists in many languages around the world. It is often used for protection, but it can also be used whenever you feel a need to connect with God/Source/Spirit.  Here is one of the most common versions:

I invoke the light of the Christ within.
I am a clear and perfect channel.
Light is my guide.

Alternative versions of The Light Invocation

The Light Invocation is very versatile. You can alter it by replacing the pronoun “I” with “you,” “she,” “John,” “we,” etc. So for example, a group of people who are meeting together could use this version:

We invoke the light of the Christ within.
We are clear and perfect channels.
Light is our guide.

Within The Light Invocation, the word “Christ” simply represents “Godlike energy” and is used because it works well with the meter of the prose. However, if desired, you can certainly replace the word “Christ” with a word or phrase that is more comfortable to you (e.g., “Source,” ‘Divine,” “the light within me”).  Also, other words within the Invocation can also be replaced if you feel more comfortable.  For example, here’s another version:

I invoke the light and love of the Universe.
I am a clear and perfect conduit.
Light and love are my guides.

Prayers requesting Divine support & guidance

There are many prayers that can be used when asking for spiritual support or guidance.  Here is a possible prayer to use if you were raised in a Protestant or Catholic faith but are in the process of integrating metaphysical beliefs into your life:

Father, Mother, God,
Lord Jesus,
Blessed Mother,
Holy Spirit,
All Beings of Light in the Universe for all good,
All hierarchies of angels of light, love, healing, and forgiveness,
Please be present.

Before starting an activity, you might want to ask for Divine assistance with the following prayer:

I ask for your help to do the work that is before me to do.
Be with me always, and allow only positive energy that is for my highest good to flow in, around, and through me.

Ending of a prayer

Because there are no rules to prayer, you don’t have to say anything at the end of a prayer. God/Source,/Spirit will know that you are finished.  But if you feel guided to do so, here are some alternatives:

  • And so it is, let it be so
  • Amen (translation = so be it)
  • With gratitude and thanks
  • Sending you my love and gratitude
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By Anne Reith, Ph.D.

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