Divine Court: Hittite Prayers
The structure and rationale of a Hittite prayer is best understood as the enacting of a case in a divine court. This accords with the typically Hittite way of approaching all relations between two parties in legalistic terms. The defendant is the king, the prosecutor is the offended god, the advocate is the addressed deity (requested to act as an intercessor), and the court of justice is the assembly of gods. The prayer is presented by the king or his representative with all the features of a lawsuit, including the confession of or exculpation from guilt, the presentation of mitigating circumstances, and the inveigling of the divine judges with flattery (hymns) and presents (vows). What is obviously missing is the “final verdict” disclosing whether the defendant’s arguments have been accepted, and whether his requests for health, long life, prosperity, victory over enemies, and divine support in general would be granted. Unlike other Near Eastern cultures, the Hittites apparently did not compose prayers of thanksgiving. They expressed their gratitude to their gods through pious deeds, such as the erection and embellishment of temples, or the dedication of cult objects, sometimes inscribed with dedicatory texts.
(Original: http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Singer Hittite Prayers.pdf )
I came across this bit of information about two years ago and it fascinated me as a Christian. In some ways, I can see this structure woven into Old Testament Prayers which demonstrates the cross-cultural influence these regional religions had on one another.
The idea of using a prayer as a means of pleading one’s case is of interest to me because it inspires a meditative aspect to prayer that has been kind of lost over time. Where people may ask for a blessing over food, it’s rather short and reliant upon faith that the food will be blessed. Even in thanking the animal or hands that brought up the plants on the table before you at minimum hits upon an aspect of gratitude- but does not reflect upon the full sacrifices and/or efforts made to grant you the food upon your plate.
A prayer which confesses or recounts relevant actions, memories or stories of the person praying to reinforce why or what it is they seek inspires a state of mind which can reflect upon what a person must do in order to appease both themselves and/or a divine entity.
Now, Jediism on it’s own neither encourages or discourages prayer. We don’t tell you that the Force is something that you need to speak with in order to receive help. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to this idea. A spoken prayer, even when it is not directed at anything, can open doorways to the inner workings of your own mind- but also to the influence of the Force. The more that you release burdens from your mind- the more clearly you can receive messages from the Force. This is for two reasons:
- You’re not bombarded with your thoughts;
- You’re able to better figure out what connections you need to make to get the answers and/or results you seek.
Can you connect with a specific deity while doing this? Absolutely- after all, help is not a bad thing. But if you are not comfortable with speaking to a deity or simply do not believe they exist- it is equally valid to not rely upon them. The beauty of Jediism, is that it is Synchronistic- meaning that it blends well with any sincere religion you engage with.