Prayer is the cornerstone of most major religions – a demonstration of discipline and devotion that has proven a beneficial grounding practice for billions of people across the world.
However prayer doesn’t have to exist within a purely religious context. Prayer can be used as a tool by anyone who wishes to direct their energy in a specific way.
Today I wanted to discuss nighttime prayer in the context of setting intentions and manifestation, for those who haven’t considered it or simply don’t know where to start.
Why you should pray at night
The reason nighttime prayer is so powerful is because there is a period of around eight hours where our conscious mind cannot come in and disrupt the energy we’ve built up; or the intentions we’ve set.
When we set intentions before sleep, our subconscious mind has time to start moving things in that direction. We can start to shift some of the deep-set beliefs and patterns that were directing our life without our conscious awareness.
Another reason nighttime prayer is so effective is because it can be an easy way to start a spiritual practice if we haven’t already.
All we need to devote is five minutes per day, right before we go to sleep, to connect with a wider consciousness; uplifting ourselves and focusing our energy in a particular way. This practice can then snowball into something bigger.
What does prayer do?
Again, I am coming at this from a spiritual rather than religious perspective, so that is what my experience is based upon.
When people think of prayer they usually focus on what can be gained from it physically – if what they ask for will actually come to fruition. In my experience the answer is yes, but there is a greater benefit to prayer that is less explored.
Prayer isn’t so much about getting what we ask for, at least that shouldn’t be the focus, but a practice in cultivating openness. Prayer helps us lean into our feminine energy – intuition, receptivity, flow.
When we create a consistent practice of prayer we are sure to see some physical change in our lives, but before this comes a mental shift, one of more flexibility.
Prayer is a self of self-care. In an increasingly busy world it can difficult to carve away time to do something for ourselves, and to stay grounded.
Prayer is a great way to focus positively and flip the script if we have a tendency to focus on the negative or emphasize our limiting or self-critical thoughts.
How to do nighttime prayer
When I pray it isn’t about what I’m asking for physically, but what I’m asking to be opened up to. This is how I recommend approaching prayer for the most part.
You can pray with or without prompts, the most important thing is to consult your intuition and find a flow that works best for you. I find that putting your hands in the typical prayer position helps in surrendering to something bigger.
If you can, speak the words out loud so you can actually hear them. This makes it easier to hear if there is emotion behind the prayer and shift things if you just aren’t feeling it.
I like to phrase my prayers like this:
- I am open to…
- I welcome…
- Show me…
Think about what you want to focus on or clear in your life and direct your words towards that. When you are praying, be open to what comes up in the mind as thoughts and in the body as emotions or tension.
What resistance do you have to your prayer? And how can you further sink into the words and really surrender yourself to deeper insight and openness?
Oftentimes we’ll try to go to sleep after praying or setting intentions but continue continue to go in endless negative thought loops. Recalling the disputes we had during the day and rehearsing hypothetical arguments.
We often don’t give ourselves the time or space to properly unwind, and so end up going to sleep with the same heavy energy we experienced through the day.
The key to making nighttime prayers work over time is to properly relax and decompress beforehand. This is easier said than done, and I definetly still struggle with it.
However with practice it becomes a lot easier to sink into prayer and then detach from the problems of the day. Allow the words you recite to bring you into a deep sleep.
Bedtime prayer for manifestation
Prayer is a way to develop discipline, and through discipline our ability to manifest the things we desire increases.
Sometimes when I pray at night and then wake up in the morning, I’m expecting to see some immediate result. When that isn’t the case I can start to doubt prayer as a whole or my ability to focus in some specific way.
You might notice doubts and negative thoughts coming up too – this is normal. The ego is going to come up and try to sabotage anything new. However it is through this conflict between the ego and spirit that you can learn what is blocking you and what you still need to let go of.
In committing to our nighttime prayers we build an undercurrent of energy that will influence the actions we take throughout the day.
You’re not just going about your day alone relying on your individual power anymore, there is this wider consciousness that you can tap into that is guiding and uplifting you. Everything you do has more of an impact. Intentional prayer leads to intentional thoughts, actions and words.
When we pray we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to some extent, to hand over some of our problems to a higher power and acknowledge the things we are struggling to cope with as physical beings. This is a powerful form of shadow work that allows us to attract higher quality experiences.
We become aware of the ways we are blocking better things coming to us, and can resource strength we didn’t know we had to tackle those obstacles and put more energy towards our goals.
Do you have a nighttime prayer ritual? Has it been helpful?
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