Many of us grew up thinking of prayer as prescribed and one-sided. But we can also view it as an ongoing, creative conversation with the divine; something that connects us to the God of our individual understanding—and helps connect us with other people, too.
“Prayer is so often misunderstood,” sighs Rev. Bridget Kelso Anthony, the minister of engagement at West End Collegiate Church in New York City. “It doesn’t always have to be a formal practice,” she says. “You don’t have to sit in one place and in one posture or say certain words. Prayer is as natural as the heart beating.”
Prayer can be deeply individual. Your prayer life need not look like anyone else’s. “I find myself in conversation with God in a number of ways,” says Rev. Bridget. “In fact, I find myself more aware when I’m not in conversation with God than when I am.” The role of a religious leader in prayer, she posits, “is like opening a door. I don’t pull you through. I set the mood so you can feel the presence of God, so you can feel you are surrounded and guided by love and support and find whatever you need in that moment.”