Prayers are a common part of nearly every religion, even a religion such as Wicca, where magick is used frequently to attain goals. The use of prayer in a belief system that utilizes spells, though, can seem odd, almost redundant. But, there is a difference between the two, not just in what they are, but in how one goes about praying versus how one casts a spell. And because of these differences, both can be effectively employed in one’s spiritual practice to attain the heart’s desires.
A prayer, at the most fundamental level, is simply a request. In prayer, we call upon a power outside of ourselves to manifest our goal. This power that we call upon may be a God, a Goddess, an Ancestor, a Saint, or any other spiritual or energy based entity. But the emphasis is that, in prayer, we are asking Someone else to grant our request, we are putting the power to manifest our desire in Someone else’s “hands.”
With a spell, we are taking control of forces outside of ourselves, manipulating them as per our own will, and manifesting our goal. There is no asking, supplication, offerings, or such: we grab onto the appropriate energy and our will be done! So, we use the energy about us in combination with the energy within us to bring about our desire; we “take matters into our own hands.”
Both prayers and spells can be accomplished in similar ways. They may both involve incense, tossing paper with words written upon it into a fire, chanting, and the presence of the Gods and other entities. But a prayer involves asking the Gods, or other entities, for Their help and leaves it at that; a spell requires you to raise the energy and send it out; the Gods don’t manifest your goal you do. Granted, the Gods may see fit to prevent your spell from coming to realization (They can do that, you know,) but, none-the-less, you are the primary force responsible for creating your desired change.
Prayers and spells are also able to be combined into an effective single working, and though the use of tools and props is nice, neither requires anything more than a clarity of thought and focus.