There is a Power, which governs the affair of this Universe. We may call it by any name viz. Supreme Intelligence, Supreme Soul, Supreme Power, Supreme Consciousness or God. As rightly told by all the saints of diverse faiths, every human being has, within himself a spark of the Divine. To put it differently, every human being has got within himself a fragment or a part of the Supreme Power or Intelligence. When one prays, one concentrates on the Supreme Power present within oneself and thereby, establishes contact with the same. And once you are in touch with the Supreme Power, then there is nothing which is beyond accomplishment for you.
2. Benefits of Prayer
(i) Prayer opens up humble and honest self-examination and produces a perfect realignment of one’s relationship to the world and to God.
(ii) Prayer relieves the mind of tension, which is the natural concomitant of a life of hurry and worry. It neutralises mental repression and purifies the subconscious. It releases an extra amount of hope and energy and thus enables the man to face life squarely.
(iii) Prayer frees man from anxiety and sustains him in moments of suffering which is inseparable part of life, as adversity and suffering make us learn the true lessons of life.
(iv) Prayer is a companion to humility and it, therefore, keeps our Ego in a balanced state and thus saves us from a number of avoidable troubles and complications.
(v) Prayer attunes our mind to God and establishes our contact with the power of God. We thus draw upon the energy of God and become endowed with hope, courage and optimism.
3. How to Pray
In order to achieve mental peace, mental health and inner strength, one needs to establish contact with the Supreme Power, through the medium of prayer and meditation. There is nothing formal about the method of prayer. In this respect following suggestions are offered.
(i) Spend some time in silence everyday. Relax body, mind & soul (i.e. spirit) by fixing the mind on God and turning the thoughts away from the day-to-day problems. In God, there is a solution to every problem. When you fix your mind on God and forget your problems, the solution to your problems will appear before you spontaneously.
(ii) Prayer is not a formal one-sided appeal to God. You should place before God everything that is in your mind in a simple and natural manner. Telling God everything puts you in a receptive mood, and you are able to receive what God wishes to give.
(iii) While praying, no formal words and phrases are necessary. Talk to Him in your own language. He likes the language of the Heart and the language of Love.
(iv) Never think or feel that we are evil or wicked and therefore, how can we approach God ? God like our Mother, is full of compassion and love for us. He is always ready to help and guide us, provided we approach Him in all humility and sincerity.
(v) Keep on praying to God mentally by repeating His name or by reciting any Mantra, for example “Om Shanti”, “ Hari Om Tatsat”, “Om Shri Krishnaya Namah” etc. When you are faced with insurmountable problems, pray to God instead of wasting mental energy in anxiety, grief or self-pity.
(vi) Please be aware that mental energy is very precious and it should never be allowed to be wasted in a negative manner. Prayer provides a positive channel for utilising our mental energy.
(vii) As advised by Mahatma Gandhi, fill your mind with the Power of God through prayer before leaving for your work and if during the course of the day, you start feeling despondent on account of problems being faced by you; then start praying to God again and replenish your mind with the power of God, so that you are never assailed by a sense of despondence.
4. Power of Prayer :
When we meditate and pray our mental energy gets converted into spiritual energy. The spiritual energy nourishes the very source our being viz. our Soul. This energy, in turn, strengthens our subtle Body and then the Gross Body. A good sleep also allows the refreshment of our system by the aforesaid process.
Therefore, the more serene and equipoised we remain in our work a day life, the more fresh and happy we feel.
Prayer is the most powerful energy one can generate. It is a force as real as terrestrial gravity In prayer human beings seek to augment their finite energy by addressing themselves to the infinite source of all energy. When we pray we link ourselves with inexhaustible motive power that spins the universe…. Whenever we address God in fervent prayer, we change both soul and body for the better. It could not happen that any man or woman could pray for a single moment without some good result. – Dr. Alexis Carrel.
Daily Prayer and meditation are all wonderful therapeutic agencies in building up peace and happiness within an individual.- Swami Chinmayananda.
Prayer does not change God but change him who prays. – Soren Kierkegaard.
5. Expectation from God through prayer.
When we ask for something in prayer, we should always remember that many of the things we ask for, may not be for our ultimate good. God does not give us what we ask for but he gives what is good for us. Always remember, whatever happens to us, happens for our ultimate good. This realisation comes to us when we look back and examine the various incidents of our life.
There are four ways in which God answers our prayers. The first is when He says, “Yes”. The second is when He says, “No”. The third is when He says, “Wait”. And the fourth is when He says, “Here is something better”.
(i) When God says, “Yes”, to our prayers, we feel happy and grateful and grow stronger in our Faith in God. It is the other three answers of God, which are difficult to understand, and which really test our faith.
(ii) When God says, “No”, to our prayer, there is a meaning of mercy in it. God loves us. He has a Plan for each one of us and God’s plans are always perfect. If what, we asked in prayer, goes contrary to His plan, the prayer is not granted, of course, for our own good.
Jean Inglow has said, “ I have lived long enough to thank God for not having answered many of my prayers.” There was a woman who said, “ I am grateful to God that He did not answer many of my prayers. When I was a college student I fell in love with a man and fervently prayed that I might be married to him. Later, the man turned out to be a drunkard, gambler and profligate, God had me married to a man who is a real gem.” There is a wonderful prayer ascribed to Plato “Lord of lords grant me the good, even though I may not ask for it and keep me away from evil even though I may ask for it.”
(iii) When God says “Wait” in answer to our prayers, there is great wisdom in it. Many a time, the problems of our life get resolved on their own if we display patience. As everyone knows, patience is our greatest virtue. We also know that when we are surrounded by darkness, sooner or later the light is bound to come. What is important here is that we should never lose hope and faith.
(iv) To some of our prayers God says “Here is something better”. There are numerous instances in the life of people, where because of failure in a particular venture, the person is granted something much better. There is a case of a clerk who failed in the test for the post of an Inspector. He was very miserable but his boss encouraged him to appear for the IAS, etc, exam which he cleared and thereafter he was selected as an Indian Revenue Service officer and posted as an Assistant Commissioner of Income-Tax . Had he been selected as an Inspector he would have felt happy and he would never have appeared for IAS etc exam.
Further there is case of a person who was rejected for the post of high school teacher. Thereafter, he applied for various teaching jobs including one for the post of a Degree College Lecturer and he was ultimately selected as a Degree College Lecturer. Such real life incidents can be multiplied. One should, therefore, understand that if we fail in something that is not the end of the world; may be, something better is waiting for us.
Whatever be the answer of God to our prayers, we should accept in faith, trusting in the love and wisdom of God. He is too loving to punish us and too wise ever to make a mistake. There is a meaning of mercy in all He does.
6. Never be afraid of adversity or suffering.
We always fear adversity or suffering. We never realise that there is a Divine purpose in suffering. We must always see the hand of God in whatever happens to us and accept the same with grace. Suffering brings us closer to God and makes us wiser.
Instead of running away from adversity and suffering, face the same with equanimity and learn the right lessons therefrom.
One may understand the meaning and purpose of suffering from what St. Anjali has said about it.
“Suffering has its place in the Divine Plan. When your child falls ill, you force him to swallow bitter medicine, you pay no heed to his cries and tears. Our Souls are sick: and God the Divine Mother, sends us the bitter pill of suffering and pain. Do not run away from suffering. Do not seek to escape it; but accept it in the right spirit. It is an experience which will enrich your life and strengthen your soul. It will polish the mirror of your heart and looking therein you will behold the beauteous Face of the Lord. And then you will know that there is a meaning of mercy in all that happens. For all is well a hundred times well – both today and a thousand years hence. Do not ask God to remove suffering but ask Him for the blessing which may make you His true child.
In all that happens, behold you the Hand of God, the ever-gracious Mother of us all. In suffering and defeat as in joy and triumph greet the light of the Mother’s mercy. Suffering, then, will cease to sting and victory will not make you vain.”
7. When we cannot help a situation we should pray and leave it in God’s Hands
There are many situations in life when we are totally helpless and confused. In such situations the better course would be to pray and ask for guidance from Him and ultimately leave the results in His hands.
There may be a case where your daughter is dating a boy whom you do not like at all and your daughter does not stop dating the boy even after your advice to her against it. In such a situation it is better to place the whole thing in the hands of God, instead of creating unnecessary unpleasantness. Either the girl will break-off with the boy on her own or she will marry the boy, and whatever ultimately happens, will be in her best interest.
What we have to realise is that we have limitations in everything we think or do, whereas the God has got infinite wisdom and therefore, whatever happens to us, happens for our ultimate good.
Always remember the basic teaching of the Bhagwad Gita that we may control our Karma (or actions) only but not the result thereof. Therefore, in all situations, good or bad, do your best and leave to God the rest.
8. We should therefore, have complete faith in the Power and Protection of God and through constant prayer to Him we may achieve peace of mind, mental health and inner strength.
One must, therefore, do one’s best in a given situation without any anxiety about the result, as the same should be left in the hands of God. It is thus clear that prayer frees us from anxiety and makes our life fruitful and purposeful.
Mr. S. K. TYAGI, M.Sc., LL.B., Advocate, Ex-Indian Revenue Service and Income-Tax Advisor
Office Address– Flat No.2, (First Floor), Gurudatta Avenue, Popular Heights Road, Koregaon Park, PUNE – 411 001, Phone Office: 0212-633012, Residence Phone -0212-682032, 0212-682444