Communication with the divine, or prayer, is one way that people connect with the sacred realm to bring overall wellness to their lives.
Why do we pray? The very definition of prayer involves making a connection to the divine or subject of worship (such as God, deities, spirits, ancestors, or other ideas). Why we pray may be personal and for many people, it is visceral. Most commonly, people are petitioning the divine for blessings for themselves, their families, and their communities: for good health, wealth, and happiness; for security and peace; for guidance in making appropriate life decisions. Faced with profoundly difficult realities of life (such as loss, starvation, war), prayer asks for help from the sacred realm. Prayer may also declare one's faith, ask for forgiveness, and express gratitude, all of which bring people into the good graces of the divine. In the good graces of the divine, people feel safe and blessed. These ideas of divine communication relate common themes in religion and cultural traditions.
Acts of prayer and practices of belief vary widely by cultural tradition and even by individual philosophies. Prayer may be private or it may be communal. It may involve personal submission to one God; it may involve a reciprocal relationship with the divine, such as giving thanks, prayers, or offering gifts in exchange for blessings and protection; for some, it involves literal interaction with the divine. While some prayer is silent, much prayer in Asia is highly sensory with incense and spices, chanting and song, music and movement, flame and water, and food and drink.
Explore arts and objects that people use in prayer to connect and communicate, in different ways, with the sacred realm.