Praying to and communing with your Creator is one of the best ways to be happy. Study the scriptures or other holy teachings of your religious leader(s), and your spirit will be filled with the best thoughts than mankind has ever produced. And knowing the answers to such age-old questions as who you are, who created you, why you are here on this planet, and what will happen after your time on Earth is over, will give you a peace of mind that not much else could ever replace.
Although I of course have a personal belief in God and my own way of expressing and exercising that faith, I understand that you may not hold the same beliefs or practice the same rituals as I do. Or you may be a person who used to pray but has stopped praying, or maybe you’ve never uttered a single prayer in your entire life.
That’s ok—just take what I’m saying with a grain of salt, and either try it for yourself or move on to the next section. All I can tell you is that during my close to six decades on this planet, I have lived through extended periods without prayer, and other times with prayer, and the times I’ve been the happiest have been while keeping in close contact with my Creator through the practice of prayer.
If praying is something that interests you, and/or you’d like to see a succinct synopsis of why and how to pray, including examples from several religions, check out this 3-part guide to prayer, which covers 1) where, when, and why to pray, 2) the act of prayer itself, and 3) prayers and spiritual actions listed by faith.
Now some people get touchy about this kind of stuff, so if you’re one of them, I’m not saying this article is perfect or goes into any great depth about any particular religion’s fine theological points. It is what it is, and at the end there is a list of “Prayers or Spiritual Actions by Faith” that you can click on to find about your own or any number of the world’s religion’s approaches to the practice of prayer.
In addition, here’s a list of several books that discuss the subject of prayer. I’m not recommending any one in particular, but each of them do a good job of covering the subject, each from the author’s personal point of view.
That said, here a few books to get you started:
- How to Pray by R.A. Torrey
- How to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Say by Elmer L. Towns
- Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? By Phillip Yancey
- Buddhist Prayers and Mantras by America Selby
- Chanting from the Heart: Budhhist Ceremonies and Daily Practices by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Davening: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer by Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi
- The Way Into Jewish Prayer by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman PhD
- How to Pray: A Step-by-Step Guide to Prayer in Islam by Mustafa Umar
- The Muslim Prayer Book by Muhammed Ali
The important thing, of course, is that no matter which religious tradition you choose to follow, prayer can be an important tool in keeping you happy.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief, non-theologically dense discussion of the importance of prayer in your life.
In our next installment we’ll discuss how mindfulness and meditation can help you to reach and maintain a state of happiness in life.
In the meantime, be sure to Live Well, Eat Well, and Be Happy!