This is a traditional triad that I often contemplate because I feel there is much wisdom in it; it has a particularly Druidic feel to it, I think. In looking at the saying I wonder how I can make my home my altar, my daily work worship, and my service into a sacrament and it seems to me that a key to doing so, to making my life itself sacred, is prayer. So I have developed a practice of daily prayer that pulls the different aspects of my life together and keeps my focus on my spirituality even when I am doing the dullest daily task.
Many modern pagans eschew the idea of prayer, despite its long history. We have endless examples of pagan prayers from ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece, and less extensive examples from areas that kept oral records before converting to Christianity, including the Celtic countries. I believe though that when we look at the habits of daily prayer in the Celtic countries we are seeing a pagan influence on the new religion reflected in the habit of praying throughout the day. These prayers, such as those we see in the Carmina Gadelica, show the way the people brought their spirituality into everything from bathing a child to harvesting the crops, from hunting to greeting the new moon.
In my experience people have an idea that prayer must be long and complicated, or else must always be asking for something, but really prayer is very flexible. Some prayers ask for certain things, like protection, but others may be prayers of thanksgiving or praise of a certain deity. And prayers do not need to be poetic or complicated, they are just as effective when they are short and simple, in fact some of the most powerful prayers are those extemporaneous ones that come directly from the heart. I often sing my prayers, especially the ones that are repeated each day, but I may also pray silently; I once wrote a prayer in limerick form, and have also prayed by simply speaking in a stream of consciousness way. I think there is no wrong way to pray as long as you are actively engaged in the process and not just repeating by rote.
Although prayer can sometimes be controversial in modern paganism, it is one of the most important aspects of my daily practice. I pray throughout my day because to me prayer is a way to speak to the Gods and spirits. It is my side of an endless conversation and an important way for me to stay connected to things beyond myself. I pray to my ancestors, I pray to the spirits of the place I live in, I pray to the Gods, sometimes using versions of traditional Irish and Scottish prayers or prayers I have written myself, sometimes simply speaking from my soul.
I get up in the morning when my youngest child wakes up and I pray as I nurse him, a simple prayer to Flidais. When he is settled I go stand before my altar, light a candle and say the same morning prayers I have said for years: Sigridfa’s Prayer, my own Lorica Prayer, a prayer for blessing. Later when my daughters wake up I fix their breakfast, with a blessing prayer as I cook; my 5 year old daughter takes medication twice a day for a heart condition and as I prepare it I pray for her health and healing. And so it goes throughout the day, ending with nightly prayers for protection on the house and those within it
It sounds like a lot but it really isn’t – all together perhaps 10 minutes out of my day if you added it all up. It may seem like a great deal to remember to do, but it quickly becomes a habit that is done without thinking. It sounds like a burden, but truly it isn’t – it’s a daily practice that nourishes my spirituality and not only gives me comfort but strengthens my connection to the Powers I honor. I know that this level of daily prayer is not for everyone, but I find it enriching and more than worth doing, and I encourage everyone to look at how prayer fits into your life as well.
How do you make your daily life sacred?