Monday, March 24, 2014

What is prayer for?

You must have read the following incident in Mother Teresa’s life. Mother Teresa of Kolkata had a dream. She told her superiors, “I have three pennies and a dream from God to build an orphanage."
"Mother Teresa," her superiors chided gently, "you cannot build an orphanage with three pennies. With three pennies you can’t do anything!"
"I know," she said smiling, "but with God and three pennies I can do anything!"
She did build an orphanage that is well known housing many destitute.
This is often mentioned to stress the point that spiritual energy is so powerful and that all we need to do is turn toward the energy and ask. The Bible says "Ask and you shall receive." God is waiting and all you need to do is ask even a little bit for help, and it will be there. A lot of people either do not ask or turn their backs said Tim Peering So what are we waiting for? Pray intensely with faith and our prayers would be answered.
 Even in Hindu religion before the chanting or recitation of texts on the glories of Gods/Goddesses, a sankalp or a seeking of specific blessings is made for self or others. Just as a child asks its parents, we ask our Father or the Lord to help us in times of need. Again like our parents, our wishes are granted or denied by God for reasons best known to Him.
To me it seems there are a few elements in prayer.
Prayer should be in total faith and with utter devotion. There should be no shred of doubt. This absolute faith and devotion should always be there and not only when we need things. God is not a Santa Claus with a bagful of goodies waiting to give whenever we press the button. In all the cases I have read, God came to the rescue of the devout, not those who turn devout for specific reason at specific times, when the devotee surrenders to God without clinging to other devices for help. The surrender should be total.
I believe where prayer is for a noble cause or for benefitting the needy sufferers without any strings of self interest, God listens to such prayers as Mother Teresa’s for destitute with three pennies in her hand .There was nothing for  herself. When one wishes to give to the lonely, lost and poor and when compassion and love is the driving force, the connection to God is immediately established. He may not help directly but someone at His command would come your way. His ways are inscrutable.
God does not make deals. It is never a quid pro quo.If you donate in cash or kind to Him at places of worship or break 100 coconuts or rotate bodily on the floor of temple expecting something in return, He is not impressed.A golden crown studded with diamonds is not any bigger than a spoon of water or a plantain fruit. It is the attitude, humility, faith, sincerity and love that draw Him to the supplicant.
 We see candidates praying for a win in election and their rivals praying for the opposite result. Is god really interested in these silly demands? When He does not grant our petty wishes after repeated prayers, we indulge in our remonstration 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 self, children, friends, and family members is wrong? Not at all, prayer is always good in that we become better persons. But God knows what is to be given when, where and to whom? Is He not omniscient and does He need reminder?
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


  1. Well said KP. Think of him in all you do and feel his presence.
    It is but natural that many would pray with a selfish purpose but important is that intention should not be evil or guided by avarice.

    I detest our culture of bribing God , cash/kind. I believe he needs your devout faith even in tested times. Thank him by dwelling more on qualities.

    Finally, devout faith can never be defined/measured. the fruits of devout faith are determined according to me by our Karma.

    Base Line, pray with devout faith but but dont expect or lay conditions, what is best for you will be done.

  2. I don't know why, but I can't concentrate when I go into the pooja room and ask for something! Yes, I recite shlokas sitting outside the pooja room, maybe because the room is very small. I just ask 'keep everybody safe' in my language, that is all. I have never asked specifically for anything at any time!

  3. The perception of prayer differs from one to another and when I see people pestering God to answer their prayers by hook or crook( that includes buying a diamond crown with black money), I feel so sad. I pray everyday, for others, sometimes for someone whom I have never met nor will meet in this life time. I have experienced that there are no unanswered prayers. Because sometimes God's answer is just a NO.

  4. I pray and ask too.....and he has always answered my prayers, I always think of him as my protector,my parents and tread him the way I would to them.

  5. Having faith and belief, as you said, is very important! Also in your daily prayer it is important to count your blessings, to be grateful for all that we have been given! Loved this post! :)

  6. Prayer is not just to achieve anything. It helps us in bringing a sense of calmness to the mind, so that we get a better understanding of the world around us.

  7. I just dwell on the thoughts that are forming in my mind and understand it as thoughts put there not by me but by God, and I leave it to him to actualize them for me. I truly believe his thoughts are mine and so my thoughts also become his thoughts, and these thoughts I release everyday to the Universe to be taken care of.
    During my younger days I was always, like 'I want this, I want that etc,'
    However, soon I realized whatever I am entitled to has to come to me, and the very fact that such desires/ thoughts/ intentions are put inside my mind itself shows, they are meant to happen, so with this knowledge, I am totally at peace with myself and the Universe.