Did you know that most Americans pray daily? According to a Pew Research Center survey, 55% of Americans say they pray every day. Another 21% say they pray weekly or monthly. Even many who are not religiously affiliated say they pray daily.
Many people who grew up with no experience around prayer can learn from mentors and role models who seemed to excel at it. Their deep faith can be contagious so others can become more comfortable with prayer.
Praying Fosters Optimism
Why is praying important? First because it helps us connect to the sense that there is a benevolent G-d, Universe, or other Higher Power that cares for and supports us. Praying can mean asking for help, praising, or thanking. It takes humility to ask for help and to be open to believing that something exists that is bigger than our small selves.
Praying helps people to:
These ideas apply regardless of whether or not people view themselves as religious and whether or not they attend a place of worship. Prayer can take different forms for different people.
"Praying" Different for Some
Arlen says she’s an atheist. She explains that she experiences something like prayer while walking in the woods. There, she allows a calm and sense of order to emerge inside her, gains faith that things will work out okay. Many people experience something like this at a beach watching waves or walking along the shore. So whatever form of prayer or spiritual practice fits for you, treasure such moments when you can let go of all your expectations, worries, and pain.
By harnessing the power of prayer, many people are guided in finding their partner for life and in keeping that and other relationships fulfilling.
But prayer is only part of the picture. There is wisdom in the saying, “Pray as if everything depends on G-d. Act as if everything depends on you.” In other words, while prayer can be wonderful, we are not passive bystanders. We need to keep acting in ways that support reaching our goal.
Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW, LCSW, author of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You've Always Wanted (New World Library, 2014), is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in private practice. A former executive director of a family service agency, she previously worked in the fields of child welfare, alcoholism treatment, and psychiatry. She teaches continuing education classes for social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and counselors. www.marriagemeetings.com