How We Pray

Unitarian Universalists vary in their approach to prayer—regarding both what it means and how it might happen.

UUs generally agree that prayer is aligning our full attention with something greater or something deeply internal.  But individuals approach prayer differently.

Some focus on meditation, the slowing of thoughts and the deliberate placing of attention on the present moment.

Others understand prayer-as-meditation to be creating a detached relationship between themselves and their mind — they become a witness to their thoughts.

Many view meditation as the practice of fostering inner stillness, so that our wisest voice, our most important voice, can emerge from the clatter and chaos between our ears.

For some UUs, the word prayer suggests the participation of a receiver, a listener, a Higher Being who receives their prayers.

And other UUs pray primarily to cultivate more open-hearted love and compassion toward others.

Most UUs would agree, however, with theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who noted, “Prayer does not change things; prayer changes people, and people change things…. Prayer is not hearing voices; prayer is acquiring a voice.”

[SUUF Member Paul Friedman continues to provide weekly articles for publication in the Red Rock News. This article – or a variation thereof – appeared in the Oct 7, 2022 issue]