It seems to come up wherever Christians and Pagans dialogue.
Not that that’s a whole bunch of places mind you. 🙂
From my perspective this is contrasting apples and oranges. Let me tell you why.
As a former Occultist, I see this in a different light than most of the people I know, Pagans included.
> The categories would be better defined as:
* Prayer vs Prayer
* Magic vs Gifts of the Spirit
Lets take the first one first shall we? 🙂
As a Christian sees a need in life, their own or someone else’s, the natural thing to do is to talk to God about it. Coming by way of the Door made by accepting Jesus as their Savior.
The Christian’s prayers also consist of just talking (and listening) to God. To the Pagan, prayer can be many things, as there are many, many paths through their world. However for most it would consist of communing with the God/Goddess of their particular branch, or perhaps one of a pantheon or ‘family’ of beings. As with the Christian it would consist of either a request for help, or simply enjoying the presence thereof. Not terribly different in form, just in the Deity being communicated with. Keep in mind that some of the Pagans I know would disagree.
Now as to magic.. this is the working of one’s will on one’s surroundings. It is practiced with or without calling upon a God or Goddess, depending on ones spiritual path and what is being done. You will find various opinions within the Pagan community on that point. Which is only fair since the counterpart in the Christian world is equally disagreed upon. 🙂 The Christian’s counterpart to magic would be found in the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit”. Many of these are listed in the Bible, some of them are in dispute as to whether or not they are in effect today. The big difference here would be as the ‘Gifts are God’ working through the Christian to affect their surroundings.
In both cases you will often find a blending with prayer, for what many don’t actually focus on, is that Wicca and other forms of Paganism are indeed religions. In a comparison of the two, magic would be seen as having more latitude for the wielder of it. With the Gifts of the Spirit being used to bring honor to Jesus.