Prayer is communicating with the divine. Each one of us has an integral connection with the Creator. Everything animate and inanimate is directly connected to the very center of the universe. This is the meaning of Mitaku Oyasin, we are all relatives, all of us and everything. We all share the same spirit. Spirit is the one thing that science will never understand, no one ever will. Spirit is formless, colorless, odorless, timeless and yet, it is one thing. it is everywhere but also lives independently within everything. It is through our spirit that we are able to reconnect to the source, for strength, direction and prayer.
Prayer is more complex than than just communicating through the spirit though. Prayer is something that all living beings do. All animals have a form of prayer and meditation. Even an atheist will pray and talk with the divine with out really knowing it. We all have a voice to talk to each other. Our voice is sacred and was given to us to express ourselves.
It is said that long ago, that the creator wanted to create a being that could artistically appreciate the art of his creation. The human was destined to artistically appreciate nature and to be a guardian of it. For that reason we were given intelligence. To see this world in yet a different and unique way and also in order to communicate with divine beings. The Creator wanted us to safeguard nature, a being that could hear the divine beings, understand them and do what was needed.
We may have lost the ability to hear the spirits clearly but we still have the ability to to speak to them. As a species we have become self absorbed. we confuse the words of the divine beings with our own thoughts. We talk to ourselves almost incessantly, so much that we can barely hear the words of the spirits. Other animals use there voice to speak to each other, to the spirits, but not to themselves.
After the creation of humankind, another type of being was created. angelic beings known as Wakankin. One specific type of Wakankin was designed to hear the people and to help them. They could carry our messages to the gods and goddesses and help us when we need it. For this they were attuned to the human voice. This is why it is important for us to pray out loud, to reach this particular type of angelic being. So although we may have lost the ability to hear these spirits well, they can hear us very clearly. These Angelic beings were created for the specific purpose to help the people (and all the other animals) when ever they need help.
We can pray at any time and in many different ways. Special times and places can make the act of talking to divinity more special and powerful. For instance, praying from a mountain top or by a sacred spring. One can make prayer more effective by singing a song with a specific intention. The use of sacred objects or by praying in a ritual can help. Ritual is, after all, a form of prayer. Just by drawing a design into the earth with your prayer can give it much more substance.
Praying with the Chanupa, making prayer ties with tobacco, doing Hanbleceya (Vision Quest) or greeting the morning star can all help in projecting your intention. It is not just the act of prayer that gets things done, it takes sacrifice. A ritual is a form of sacrifice, but there are many things that you can do to as a sacrifice. Putting out water, food offerings, a feather or even a shell. depending on the purpose of your prayer, you could offer things in many different ways, to the fire, in a tree, on an altar or just upon the earth. Whatever the case, it is said “be careful what you pray for”. Prayers can be answers in many ways. Whenever someone prays in arrogance, for example, they could expect an outcome that may teach them a lesson. Especially when praying at a time or place of power, it is advised to be careful with your words. On the subject of praying, there is much that can be said. The most important thing is your intention. What are you praying for and why, is it selfish or selfless? You do not have to wait for a good time to pray, you can pray at any time, just address the divinity. Most importantly, know that you have the ability to pray effectively. Each one of us contains the very center of the universe, each one of us has a direct connection to the source of all life. It is your birthright to have your voice heard in times of need. It is always good to have others pray for you and with you, but do not be fooled into believing that you need someones permission to pray. Your words may gain more validity as you become more humble, but every voice is heard!