Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Praying with shopping list of demands

I was wondering whether a prayer can be devoid of our asking for things. But most do prayer only for requesting money, health, spouse, child, position, hardship for enemies, winning etc.When we commiserate with others who undergo pain or hardship, we advise them pray to God and He will give you this and that. We regard God as Santa Claus with bagful of goodies to be given when asked. Like children we persist more intensely if our requests are not granted. The prayer then tends to be one of supplication and appealing.
We may do the prayer silently chanting the name of god in our minds or loudly with gestures like folded arms or jumping and dancing with up raised arms. We may do singly or in groups but at the end of exercise, we come up with our shopping list of demands. Some ask God for things promising to break 100 coconuts or offer gold or money if their wishes are granted. I have even seen my grandson praying for a win of his favourite team in IPL matches and granddaughter wishing the opposite result. Is god really interested in these silly demands? When He does not grant after repeated prayers, we indulge in our remonstrations that He is blind to our sufferings or deaf to our pleas or heartless to our pitiable condition.
Why do we pray? Is asking for things the only reason for our prayers? Can there be a self less prayer? Is a prayer for the well being of children, friends, and members of the community or country any different from one seeking things? There may be nothing wrong in it and certainly is better than asking for oneself. But does not God know what is to be given when, where and to whom? Is he not omniscient and does he needs to be reminded?
My own take on this is that God answers our prayers if they fit with His scheme of things. Otherwise they remain unanswered. If that be so why do our religions and scriptures require us to pray and what are we supposed to ask for in our prayers? To my mind our prayers should be one of adoration of His many divine qualities and expression of gratefulness for the blessings given. There should be no demand even for liberation from the cycle of births and deaths. He knows when to free you from this bondage. Real prayer is communicating with god by singing His praises and leading a virtuous life according to His teachings. Work is worship. Doing the assigned jobs sincerely and well and leading an ethical life is highest form of worship. Prayer is nothing more than leading our life being aware of His presence all the time in all the things we do in our day to day life and being in communion with him

Grow flowers of gratitude in the soil of prayer. ~Terri Guillemets


  1. So apt! Everyone prays with an ulterior motive in mind and to top it, make pledges like as if God cannot afford all the coconuts, gold money etc!

    To me, we should pray
    1. to thank him for all the good that he bestowed on us.
    2. to gives us the strength to face adversity.

    Since is all a part of wish and will, whatever happens for the good!

  2. Let this prayer taught by Jesus to his disciples enlighten us as to what we should be praying for... and how.

    The Lord's Prayer

    Our Father who art in heaven,
    Hallowed be thy name.
    Thy kingdom come.
    Thy will be done on earth,
    As it is in heaven.

    Give us this day our daily bread,
    And forgive us our trespasses,
    As we forgive those who trespass against us.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    But deliver us from evil.

    For Tine is the Kingdom
    And the Power
    And the Glory, forever.

    Matthew 7:7 - "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you."

    Luke 11:10 - "For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

    I believe that prayer is a personal thing. A relationship between God and man, one on one. What man prays for, how he prays, or why and when is his own personal concern. We cannot judge him by the content of his prayer. Because prayer is supposed to be a heart activity... and this we cannot see. It's a man's heart talking to God's heart.

    What may not be acceptable to people... may be okay for God. Who are we to say that this or that is not a fitting prayer to a Supreme Being. God alone decides that matter. Because He sees what's there in the heart far better than the most brilliant person can surmise or perceive. God understands... sees the bigger picture of things... sees the far future and how it would play in our lives. He knows that we can't make it to the future, much more in this life, without His help. And He knows how weak and helpless we are -- we are nothing without Him.

    If a person knows only the prayer of need and want, so be it. But if it comes from a hurting heart, God will listen and answer that. So I say pray as your heart dictates -- it is the prayer that moves the heavens and God's heart.

    May God pour out blessings upon you, your family, and your home.

  3. Thought provoking post! But i beg to disagree on one count- its good to pray with a shopping list, but great when you THANK GOD for having bestowed your wish, which never happens anyway. Every human being is unique, most of us homosapiens have a longing for the supernatural to guide us, to help us...and if Prayers can bring inner peace and belief that prayers can bring us a wish true, people remain more devaoted, i feel...Just my personal thoughts:))) No offence, sir!

  4. Who needs us to pray? I don't think God gives more blessings to the one who regularly offers prayer and lesser to the one who does not.

    Prayer is just another means of gaining inner strength, we tell ourselves that we are not alone.

  5. I have been considering this phrase shopping list almost used as a derogatory term. In contemplating starting prayer meetings as a housegroup leader I went through stacks of e mails and checks the chief one being it musn't be a shopping list. I never did start the prayer meetings in case any request for information on what to pray for would be conveived as the dreaded shopping list whatever that really is. The scripture encourages petitions but at some point we will have to verbalise what that actually is if the group is going to get agreement.