I love words and the power they hold. I also love blessings and the transformation they can bring. Prayers and blessings can connect us to the sacred and also help to create a better world.
So are prayers and blessings an act of power and independence in modern times for all faiths and none, or a pointless exercise?
You may be forgiven for thinking what is the point? Why should I bless anything, what a ridiculous notion, I may as well shout at the wind for all the good it will do. You may think “I don’t believe in any kind of god or higher power, what rubbish!” … I invite you to suspend judgment and read on.
We have all seen places in nature for example where ribbons have been tied to trees and very often these are asking for something, perhaps to bring luck or help in healing. This is very different to approaching a place in nature with reverence and gratitude with the wish to gift it something and to honour it
Prayers And Blessings As Mindful Living For A Better World
Humans have become highly efficient at stripping the earth of its’ resources so I think learning the art of blessing and practising blessing is a small step towards living more consciously and therefore more sustainably
It may seem an old fashioned and outdated notion to some to pray or to bless, especially for those who have no belief in any higher power but I think prayers and blessings do have a place and relevance now … even for those who have no belief in any kind of a god, gods or universal intelligence.
The reason I feel this is because prayers and blessings are a way of creating greater awareness both in ourselves and also of the world around us. They can be used as a positive gratitude practice in a world that so often has no time for anything but endless rush and endless consumption. (With climate change and the current environmental destruction taking place we can all see perfectly well where this attitude is taking us and our fellow beings). A brief prayer or blessing even of just a minute can be a tool used for good mental health through developing self awareness to reconnect us with life and our surroundings and to change our perspective of the natural world and our place within it.
Last Wishes Celebrates Sacred Connection
Here at Last Wishes our connection with what each of us regards as sacred is extremely important to us. We can all celebrate what is sacred to us each in our own unique ways. Sacred means to regard something with great respect and reverence by a particular religion, group, or individual. Therefore regardless of our belief systems or none we can all have our own personal and sacred connections with nature and/or the divine. When you bless something you honour it.
We have largely lost the art of blessing. We got caught up in the propaganda that only certain organisations or individuals can bless anything but this isn’t true. Have you heard the phrase “Bless You!” when somebody sneezes? That is because it used to be thought that the soul left the body momentarily and was vulnerable to attack by demons and so the act of blessing a person at this moment protected them. So, when you say “Bless You” to someone when they sneeze, you literally are blessing them.
The ancient art of blessing is available to us all and it is a powerful practise. This is an important thing to do, not just as an act of power and independence in a world of climate crisis and environmental destruction but as a beacon of hope in a world where we have lost so much in terms of community, mental health and in sacred connection with all those things that we hold dear.
What Is The Difference Between A Prayer And A Blessing?
So what exactly is the difference between a prayer and a blessing? We as humans often confuse asking for something with the sacred act of gifting something. To illustrate this point I would say that prayers are an invocation or entreaty and blessings are praise and expression of gratitude. A prayer asks or wishes for something. The blessings however are a kind of gratitude practise. More than this they are paying court to what is beyond the human, out in the natural world, the sacred world in whatever way sacred or divine means to you Blessings are about recognition and gifting. They are also, put very simplistically, for those who believe in such things, a way of directing positive energy to give to others be they human or other-than-human.