Witches perform spells and ask the Gods for lots of different things, such as the attainment of more money, a better job, a more bountiful garden or spiritual development. But with all that’s in Their domains, is it Their job to fulfill our desires and whims? When They do assist us, do we thank Them and offer praise?
The Gods do wish to help us, as shown by the numerous occasions such assistance has been offered. It is not Their job to fulfill our every desire and whim, but as our Parents, They do help us become happier.
In exchange, we should recognize Their help and offer prayers and hymns of praise and adoration. This idea is obviously not unique to our Gods and religion, but all religions. The difference, as I see it, is that our religion’s practitioners are less likely to remember this and simply think of the Gods as their personal ATM machine.
If, for example, you help someone obtain something important to them, how would you feel if they simply took it and never offered gratitude? Would you be as willing to help them next time they ask? Probably not. It is similar with the Gods. They don’t need us to offer blood sacrifice as gratitude, but they would appreciate a prayer of thanks or a hymn of praise.
There are also prayers and hymns of worship, which increase our connection with the Gods as we speak or sing them. They appreciate these as well because it shows how we feel about Them and emphasizes our desire to work with Them more closely. Energetically, this causes the bond between us and our Gods to increase in strength and intensity. This opens us to being more receptive to divine assistance when we need it most.
It is common to combine praise and worship with requests for assistance. You would offer praise and thanks for past deeds performed by the God or Goddess (either for you or for others) that are similar to the nature of your request. Then state your request.
You can see this in many published prayers and hymns. For example, the Executive Pagan brought my attention to a short, beautiful Hymn to Athena that combines worship with a request for blessing and wisdom. For a more ancient source of Greek hymns, look to the Orphic or Homeric Hymns. My favorite translation of the Orphic Hymns is translated by University of California Santa Barbara professor, Apostolos N. Athanassakis. Another book that is interesting about this subject is A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith.
Many Witches prefer to write their own prayers, but it is also nice to have pre-written prayers for those times when you are not able to think clearly and just want something quickly, as in times of crisis. Many are also new to the Craft and are not comfortable with writing their own yet. Most other religions have large bodies of pre-written hymns and prayers for all occasions and types of people. Paganism and Witchcraft lack the large body of work, so we need to create and write them. Then share them with others who wish to use them as they are, or adapt them further to their purposes.
Here is my contribution, an evening prayer that can help children sleep better:
Thanks Apollo for the light
Welcome Hypnos of the night
Please, Morpheus, stand by me
Bring good dreams that I can see
Do you have any favorite Pagan prayers or hymns or any you have written? Feel free to share in a comment.