Man has always lived believing in the existence and power of a ‘Higher Being’. He has always sought to forge a relationship with this Being, and in our days many have claimed based on certain evidence available to them that the so called notion of a Supreme Being is Balderdash.
However, for the majority of human beings who have at one time or the other traversed this earth and continue to so do, that notion of a Supreme Being remain as potent as it was since it was concieved by the mind of the man to fathom it.
It is the search for this Being that is reflected in the art that has being passed down to us from our ancestors in drawings, in writings and where such didn’t exist, in folklore, legends and myths. With this has also come the one means of communicating with this Being, Prayer.
You will find prayer in many religions and faith today as their means of communicating with the Being they hold in high esteem. This communication can be made to just one ‘Being’ as with most monotheistic religions, or with many (based on the specialities of the many ‘Beings’) as you will find with polytheistic religions). Though, with most polytheisms, there’s usually that figurehead to which even other Revered Beings, worshipped by man acquiesce.
Infact, at social gatherings where people of several religious inclinations gather, an attempt is made to satisfy all by asking that prayer be said by adherents of the various religious groups before and after the meetings to assuage various religious backgrounds. You will also find a modification of this in the one-minute silence that is invoked in paying respects to the dead.
So prayer has been that constant, that has been passed down the ages as a form of communication with that Being which we are wont to ascribe Superlatives to.
Prayers are means by which requests are then made to this Being, which in many religions is unseen, while in many others images or objects are fabricated to represent It’s presence. Situations have also abound in times past and in the not too distant past where some men proclaimed themselves divine and accepted worship and prayers (and probably may still be found in some places and religions today).
The modes of making these prayers are different. While some believe that prayers should be aggressive and sometimes even bothering on the violent, others believe it should be procured in quiet, even to some extent in absolute silence, either amongst groups of people of like faiths, or in sollitude at a ‘special’ place, or just about anywhere.
These prayers can be made in words that are discernible others in chants and rants that mean nothing in any known human language. But all this is geared to supplicate the intervention of a Being mightier than us all to our plight.
To prayers, have been added sacrifices, rules, statutes, and paths that must be followed to ensure one is in the right with the Supreme Being to ensure a faster and almost immediate response to prayers when they are made, hence in most cases we find that the most devout and pious are made to lead others who are less devout in most religions. It is sometimes, these more devout ones that lead the less devout in prayers, speaking on behalf of the many while encouraging all to develop a personal relationship with the Supreme Being to ensure that with or without the presence of their spiritual leader they can continue to access this Being to the best of their ability, many others prefer to keep this ‘access’ to themselves and would require certain tokens to act as intermediaries for those seeking audience with the Supreme Being.
So we pray. When people pray they expect that the answer to the prayer should mostly be positive and in line with what they have asked. They may anticipate and accept some delay in the manifestation of it but never a negative response. This delay they may explain away as having not prayed enough, thereby necessitating the need for more prayers, or not applying the principle of faith (as with many religions) for which they now learn so to do, or blame it on the activities of yet another ‘being’ who they see as working at cross purposes with the designs of the Supreme Being, and then set about reducing or cutting off its influence by ‘Praying’ against it’s activities.
While many see this other ‘being’ as inspiring ‘chaos’ and impacting ‘negativity’, hence need to be crushed, other cultures recognizing the lengths it could go as an impediment decide rather to ‘appease’ it while they go about praying still to the Supreme to grant their request.
When prayers are thus answered (in the positive) and wishes are granted, the faith of the one in his/her religion and in the authenticity of his Supreme Being (and by association, the potency of the man via which such intervention was procured as intermediary) maybe particularly strengthened, sometimes enough to proselytize his beliefs. When the answer to the prayer is delayed, doubts in the faith may begin to set in and the person may decide to hold fast to his ways or seek help elsewhere. It is even moreso, when the prayer appears not to have been answered or as interpreted in other quarters, as being answered but not in the affirmative.
Prayer thus, plays an improtant role in the entire psychology of men. It serves as an avenue to unload things that weigh heavily on the hearts. It was there when there were no shrinks, and still exist today in the abundance of shrinks. People have made good use of it, many yet have been used and abused by it, but it’s popularity continues to grow even among those who doubt the existence of a Supreme Being.