Honestly, I love that song! Truth be told, what I'm about to write about it has absolutely nothing to do with the original lyrics or intent of what Miss Aretha Franklin was singing about.
Those of you who know me personally know that I'm not a traditionally "religious" person. I'm somewhere between an atheist and a spiritual humanist. Which is why the notion of me "praying" is seemingly bizarre for me to suggest. That said, I feel that offering a "prayer", made in one's own heart of consciousness that can only be heard in the silent, collective subconscious of us all, takes us to that deeper level of interconnectedness between All Living Beings and our Source.
It is Ghandi who said, "The most violent weapon on Earth is the table fork." We vegans know how true this is. How insidious and unrelenting the table fork can be. We know how unthinkingly and unconsciously it can be used. So, for me, a helpful and healing practice has become to take just a moment before eating (or when preparing my food) and offering a silent, internal "prayer"; almost like saying grace before the meal. I offer up to my higher consciousness in good faith and intention that my "action" of being vegan and choosing not to eat animal flesh or products at that meal be a form of Karmic healing to all who suffer (non-human and human alike) and to Our Mother. For me, it helps to infuse purpose in each meal and it keeps me conscious about my consumption and forces me to think about where my food came from. I find that in doing so, I inevitably feel gratitude for this bounty of food I enjoy. It also is an opportunity to focus on the non-violence; The Ahimsa in my food choice. This creates opportunities for me to focus on my non-violence and I feel strongly that strengthens me in my resolve to respond and to act in non-violent ways throughout my day.
I urge you to try this form of internal "prayer" if it is comfortable to you. For me, it's one of the most rewarding feelings I ever experience. I feel as though it gives me many occasions throughout my day to bask in the glow of the peacefulness of Ahimsa, knowing that with every single bite I eat, every day, I have chosen love. I have chosen peace.