What is the difference between a prayer and a spell of some sort?

@blummus (451)
United States
March 11, 2010 1:07pm CST
Many who practice magic in various forms will argue that the rituals of magic are essentially the same as religious prayers and sacrifice. Do you see a difference between them, and if so, in what ways are they different, and in what ways are they similar? Thank you for taking your time to answer this.
4 people like this
14 responses
@gewcew23 (8007)
• United States
11 Mar 10
Would not both be classified as an ends to a means. If you prayed for something to happen you are hoping something will happen. If you cast a spell for something to happen you are hoping something will happen. Both require faith. I am not an expert in spell but I am sure if you do not believe that the spell will not work then the spell will not work. Maybe I am wrong though. If I am not though spells and prayer are the same thing just different wording.
1 person likes this
@gewcew23 (8007)
• United States
11 Mar 10
I should have said a means to an end.
@Ravenladyj (22904)
• United States
12 Mar 10
Both require faith. I am not an expert in spell but I am sure if you do not believe that the spell will not work then the spell will not work. No you arent wrong..in fact that is very right..
• United States
12 Mar 10
When you go to your dad and request his help is that the same as casting a spell? When you ask your mom or friend or teacher for their assistance in raising funds because you need the money, is that using magic? Likewise for me, when I go to God and ask for His help on matters, it is like going to my dad for help when I really need it. Difference is, God can provide a lot more for me than my dad could ever dream up of. So no, they are not the same. Many people misuse the term prayer any way. Praying isn't about invoking or anything. Magic is used to get what you want and when you want it. With praying you don't always get what you want when you want it. Sometimes God says yes, sometimes He says no, and sometimes He says wait. Also for me there is no need to use any item to talk with God. I do not need charms or statues. When I pray, I talk to God as I would a close friend or a loving father, even a grandfather that I love very much. And you wouldn't believe how many times I've ranted to Him about some things. And afterward I've always felt a deep peace that lasts. On top of that, it's like picking up an invisible telephone and dialing a friend and leaving a message on their answering machine. This is what praying is really like, so no it is not the same as magic. It's just that some religions have turned it into magic like, which is where the confusion lies.
@Ravenladyj (22904)
• United States
12 Mar 10
Magic is used to get what you want and when you want it. With praying you don't always get what you want when you want it. Its the same with spellcasting..you dont always get what you want... Also for me there is no need to use any item to talk with God. I do not need charms or statues Again thats the same with spellcasting...SOME ppl find those items useful but there are MANY of us that dont use anything....I for one dont and I know several others who also dont...AND there are plenty of ppl who WILL, when praying to God use a candle, a statue of him etc..
@Galena (9110)
12 Mar 10
from another practitioner, who has a different view on deity than Raven, so consider this my answer and not hers. Magic is like a muscle. something you train yourself to use effectively. if you consider the time and effort gone into training that skill, warming up that skill and the discipline required in directing it a relationship, I suppose it could be seen that way. but I DO have a personal relationship with my Gods. one that has grown and deepened throughout my life. Magic and Gods are part of the same thing, and also separate. you can use Magic without seeking the intervention of Gods. or you can ask them to help, but use Magic as another part of that request. to show you are willing to give your own energy towards it. rather than waiting to be a passive recipient of Divine intervention. and the energy that Gods are made of connects every living thing in the universe. and you are a part of this energy. so when you raise your energy and direct it, that could be seen as working with the life force of the Gods as well as yourself many many people who use Magic have sudden senses of danger or risk that save them from a dangerous situation. how many of us have heard the word stop clear as day in our minds just before stepping into danger? a very common experience. and something Magical practitioners tend to be very in tune with. so yes. My Gods do all those things. and Magic is a tool that is part of them and of me. even when I don't specifically ask them to intervene. which would be prayer. and the Gods do communicate back. in fact, this is considered fairly normal to have a face to face connection with Gods in Pagan circles, whearas it seems to be unusual for Christians to actually see or hear their Deity. he seems more distant. Ravens answer may be similar in some ways, but I know her take on deity is different from mine, so in such ways our answers will be different.
• United States
12 Mar 10
You say this, but let me ask you something. Do you have a personal relationship with your magic? Can your magic communicate back to you with words and its own voice? Does it call you by name? Does it protect you in the midst of danger, say for example a car is about to run you over. Does your magic help you get out of the way in time?
@Pose123 (21635)
• Canada
11 Mar 10
Hi blummus, Some would say that magic is calling on the forces of evil, while prayer calls on God. I don't know if all magic is evil or not but casting a spell sounds like taking away someones freedom. If a magic act is performed for good, such as to heal someone, I really can't see anything wrong with it. Some Christians might think of it as being in league with the devil, but that the same thing that Christ himself was accused off. Blessings.
@Pose123 (21635)
• Canada
11 Mar 10
Hi again blummus, I agree such a prayer would be interfering in someones free will and don't agree with such prayers. Anything that seeks good for another is fine with me, but to ask for harm to come to another is something that I could never agree with. Blessings.
@snoopyfan (1312)
• United States
11 Mar 10
I have never prayed for bad things to happen to anyone even people I don't like. Nor would God ever answer a prayer like that. He would completly ignore it.
@blummus (451)
• United States
11 Mar 10
The question of free will is a big one in both prayer and magic, or so it seems to me. I've often heard prayers and wishes that someone will have a change of mind, or conversely, that their heart will be hardened so that some disaster or other punishment will fall upon the target. Don't prayers like that interfere with others' free will and wish the kind of harm on others that witches and other magical people are accused of doing?
1 person likes this
@snoopyfan (1312)
• United States
11 Mar 10
I don't think spells and prayers are the same thing. I don't always pray to get things. I pray to thank God for many things one being alive each and every day. I pray for health for family, friends and whoever needs it right now. I pray for my enemies that God will watch over them and to give me the strength to deal with them. As for spells all I know about them is from tv and Hollywood. Which is they are normally used for evil and wanting bad things to happen. I am not sure why people come up with spells or what they are used for. That is the only difference I know of. As for similar the only thing I can think of is that both are hoping it will come true.And we both believe that it will happen. Sorry for the lame answer it's all I can think of I don't have a lot of spell knowledge.
• United States
12 Mar 10
"As for spells all I know about them is from tv and Hollywood." Wouldn't it have been simpler to say you don't know anything about spells? Spells are used for health and prosperity to oneself, one's family, one's community, one's land. Nothing evil in any of that.
• India
11 Mar 10
Magic spell and prayers are the things world apart. Spells people usually employ to invoke the power of Evil, which is already dormant and subdued. Prayer invokes the power of God. Spell some use to harm others, whereas prayers we utter for universal good. Both are a kind of intention, one Evil and other Good.
@Galena (9110)
11 Mar 10
well I've never invoked the power of evil. it's certainly not a widely used practice within Magic. the power you invoke is your own energy. neither good nor evil.
@pcserver (392)
14 Mar 10
I think the simplest answer is that a prayer is like white magic and a spell can always be black magic. When you pray you are in some way talking to God and maybe asking for good things to happen. But the spell is nothing good...you wish to harm others.
@Galena (9110)
14 Mar 10
why do you assume a spell is to harm others?
@Ravenladyj (22904)
• United States
12 Mar 10
They actually are the same its just that the methods are different...Lets say you would like to have the strength to get through a very difficult time...Someone who prays would pray with their heart and soul to God for that strength...someone who casts spells would use their heart and soul and maybe some herbs, crystals and oils to find the energy within and from the world around them.....
@anne25penn (3305)
• Philippines
24 May 10
You need to put your heart and soul into it, whether prayer or spell. There should be a great desire, no negativity and the right timing. You should also make sure before casting the spell that it is what you want.
@Galena (9110)
11 Mar 10
the difference is that with prayer you are asking for the intervention of a deity or spirit. with Magic you are taking a more active role. you raise energy and direct it with the intention of helping bring about that outcome yourself. the two can be used together. when combining Magic with Prayer, it shows the Deities that you are putting some effort in yourself, but would appreciate a bit of help.
• India
11 Mar 10
Well theres nothing like real magic now days and i dont beleive in that. And for your post i think If they really did do some real magic and cast spells it would be certainly prayers to their deities. as old stories have spells which were nothing but pleas to the gods to do the task and hence its most probable they are all prayers of some kind
@bestboy19 (5478)
• United States
11 Mar 10
If your prayers are to yourself, the stars, or luck, I can't see much difference in them and spells, but not everyone prays for selfish reasons. Many pray to God just to say, "thank you." In that way, prayers and spells are not the same.
@redhotpogo (4401)
• United States
11 Mar 10
I can see what you are saying, and now that you've got me thinking about it, they are kinda the same. I mean chanting a spell is asking for something to happen, its very much like praying. Usually though people who are trying to do spells think its them that have the power, people who pray know it is God who has the power. Besides that side note, they're pretty much the same. Good job.
@blummus (451)
• United States
11 Mar 10
And thank you for considering the question. Thoughtful responses are the real reward here.
@zoey7879 (3092)
• United States
11 Mar 10
No, I don't believe that they are different. Some religions require a sacrifice or offering of some kind... The materials used in a spell could be seen as such. Chanting is no different than praying verbally or silently. It is the asking of a blessing and hope of a change in certain events or giving thanks to a god or the universe in whole for something.
@Rallon (441)
• United States
12 Mar 10
Prayers rely on the power of God to intervene and make things happen. Spells are different (if they even work) in that they rely on the supposed power of nature or the power of the spell worker. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be calling on God for help than rather trying to cast a spell to help me get it done. I mean, I would be the one who got into the problem in the first place. As for calling on the power of nature, I seriously doubt that mother nature would help us humans by answering spells if she even could! We have done little more than destroy this perfect world. She's probably pretty mad at us all by now. God help us!