Date: December 16, 2017 01:28AM
I am a nevermo, so my response may not be exmormon-congruent, but here is my long-considered (since I was about nine years old) take...
Worldwide, the word "prayer" can mean:
1) Supplication (asking for something: good crops in the coming year...protection from danger for yourself or on behalf of others...the necessities, as well as the frivolities, of life...that your upcoming child or grandchild will be healthy, the birth process will go easily and well, and/or that the newborn infant will be a specific gender, or a deeply desired "kind" of child, such as business-minded or artistically-oriented...). "Supplication" also includes the many global religions where continued, conscious, connection with deceased ancestors is considered very important for both safety (protection from danger) reasons, as well as to request needed or desired favors for one's own self and for still-living family or group members, etc. "Supplication" prayer also includes prayers of thanks for answered prayers and other good things which have not specifically been asked for.
2) Obedience to the expectations of a specific culture or cultural conformity re: prayer...the religious culture you are a part of demands/expects that you will say specific, traditional, already-composed prayers (or do specific, more-inclusive rituals) at specific times or because of specific events: grace at mealtimes...at the rising or the setting of the sun...at the first appearance of the new moon...before you go to sleep at night...when you trip on a step or have survived an illness, or accident, or catastrophe (etc.).
This covers tremendous spiritual ground, from feeling connected to Nature (trees...a specific geographical area...or living creatures (birds, dolphins, primates, dogs, cats, etc.)...or "reality" of a kind which is personally experienced as a "single," unified, lifeform...
...or: unification with an overarching Reality, however conceptualized (Brahman..."God" (whether monistic or dualistic, "the Trinity," etc.)...Jesus Christ (etc.)
"Connection" is the spiritual territory of mystics, regardless of what tradition those mystics identify with: Christian (particularly Catholic; there have always been an abundance of Catholic mystics)...Jewish...Hindu...Buddhist...Muslim...an uncountable number of global tribal, or geographically-based, religions, as well as countless "individual" religions which are, by necessity, invented by those individuals who seek this kind of "connection," but who have no available resources to either learn from, or to experience through.
Once you are able to determine "why" you (as an individual) pray, or "what" you (as an individual) pray or pray for, you will then be able to look for alternatives which are able to meet YOUR (specific) needs in a non-LDS way.
One of the things I have discovered is that that mysticism (as well as, in general, the "All Is One" religions or philosophies) tends to be a kind of "common ground," and different mystical traditions can often be used as alternatives when alternatives are needed.
What I am specifically thinking of here (because I know both of these things fairly well) is that there is a great commonality between Jewish mysticism and Hindu mysticism---to the point where they can be used as practical, "hands-on" alternatives for each other. I know this may appear to make no sense, but it can make a great deal of sense to those who hit the "Jewish wall"---because the Jewish mystical tradition, while justly revered within Judaism, is extremely opaque, historically fairly inaccessible, and can also be somewhat "bare" when compared to the much more realized, far more accessible, and comparatively more ancient Hindu mystical traditions. (Buddhism is also, I have been told, an alternative which, on a practical basis, is more accessible to many people, particularly Jews.)
On this level, the religions which have sufficient mystical tradition, real world experience, and erudition are all, in truth, talking about "the same thing," and some mystical doors are significantly more accessible than others, especially on the level of individuals exploring their individual potentials.
(My sense is that this "group" would also include some tribal religions as well, particularly, in my understanding, the Hopi religion. From what I do know, which is not all that much, Hopi religion very likely belongs in this group of religions.)
In addition, and at least by the beginnings of the early twentieth century, there is now an established "history" of sorts that many of those who deal with theoretical physics/mathematics/astronomy (etc.), also (at some point in their professional lives or personal interests) enter into this group. In particular, it is fairly common for certain kinds of physicists to begin study of Sanskrit and some of the ancient Hindu texts at some point in their professional lives, as they reach certain levels of scientific understanding and want to continue their search for new personal insight as well as professional/personal growth.
In other words: When physicists or mathematicians (in particular) hit "the wall," the now-fairly-accepted "place to go" in order to get beyond that perceived inner blockage is to begin (or, for some, to continue) Sanskrit/Hindu studies.
If you identify what you, as an individual, "need" from prayer, it is then a great deal easier to identify and locate alternative resources which will fit with your unique individuality (as you exist, right now), and your own personal needs.
Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 12/17/2017 04:29AM by Tevai.