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Prayer: An Essential Guide For Lovers of Peace
Christ and lamb
Praying to God
Maxims For Our Children. A Look at The Teachings of Jesus, The Christ.
This is a very special Sunday offering and a most sacred Hub offered with all my heart. I trust you find it useful. I am offering this prayer to Doris Dancy, Dora Isaac Weithers, Faith Reaper, MarleneB, and to all aspiring Souls who strive to love and serve the inner Light in mankind.
Wise one: “Well, my children. Today is another day. Are you ready to continue our inspirational talk?”
Together: “Yes, father. We are.”
Wise one: “As promised, we will talk about prayer. Verbal prayer and silent prayer. Prayer was very important to our Lord. In fact, the gospels tell us, that he went off into the wilderness to pray.”
“And he withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed.” Luke 5:16.
Wise one: “Again, who can forget His immortal prayer of forgiveness: ’Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’, or His prayer of surrender: ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” Luke 23:34, 46.
Wise one: “Jesus tells us, that the Comforter is necessary, and that the Father will send it in His name.”
‘But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” St. John, 14:26.
Kanya: “How should we pray?”
Wise one: “We ought to pray to God with tears in our heart, in a quiet place, and at the moment our inner conscience tells us that we should do so.
‘But thou, when thou prayest,’ said the Christ, 'enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” St. Matthew, 6:6.
Wise one: “The great apostle, St. Paul, urges us to pray without ceasing, (1 Thessalonians, 5:17). Again, Paul gives invaluable advice on reverence, sanctity, humility, love, care and constant prayer. (Romans, 12:3-21) So much so, that this message has been taken up by many saints, including the great nineteenth-century Russian peasant, the unknown writer of The Way of The Pilgrim, and The Pilgrim Continues His Way.”
Call to prayer
The inner Light
Junior: “Prayer sounds like a necessary thing to do, dad. Does this book have any instructions?”
Wise one: “Yes, my son. St Simeon the New Theologian, gives us some advice about silent prayer. First he encourages: ‘Perfect obedience; guarding the purity of one’s conscience in regard to God, to our neighbour, and to objects; a resolve to walk in the presence of God. If you proceed in this manner, you will prepare for yourself a direct path for interior prayer.” The Pilgrim Continues His way, P.176, Para 2, First Image Books, (1992). Trns. By Helen Bacovcin.
“He then goes on to say:
‘Your mind should guard your heart in times of prayer; the mind should constantly descend into the heart and from the depths of the heart offer up prayer to God. You should do all this, until such time as you taste the sweetness of the Lord.” (ibid, Para, 3, 4).
Kanya: “Can you make all this simpler, dad?”
Wise one: “Yes, my daughter. But only so far.
When you talk to our Lord and afterwards sit in silence, He may come to you in spirit and teach you things that I myself may not know. If you have a pure heart, an intense longing for God, and if you are ready to receive His Light, then our Lord will come and sit inside your heart. You may or may not see Him, but you will feel Him or experience Him as infinite peace and a flood of ecstatic love.”
Kanya: “Wow! That sounds great, dad!”
Wise one: “Yes, my child. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” St. Mathew 5:8.
Junior: “Any more instructions, father?”
Wise one: “Lots, but since you are both so young, I will explain the saint’s words for you. St. Simeon suggests that you be free from all cares or worries, if you like. Not only the bad ones, but also the good ones. Your conscience should be pure and clear, and not focus on the things of this world. Having achieved all this, sit alone in a quiet place, close the door, bow your head towards your chest and guide your concentration towards your heart.
While directing your gaze in this direction, watch your breathing. If you continue this activity of attention without interruption, you will attain unceasing joy.” (The Pilgrim Continues His way, P.177, Para 2, First Image Books, (1992) Trns. By Helen Bacovcin).
“Kanya: “All this sounds really hard, dad. Is there no easier way?”
Wise one: “Why yes, my child. That was the Saint’s way. People who are a little advanced use this approach. Still, even better, one should have ‘beginner’s mind.’ Approach God in prayer with what you have. That is to say, your bad ways as well as your good ways. Pray at mornings and again at nights, and during the day try to see God in people. As you develop this practice, the time will come when things will become easier for you. Then you will understand what the Saint is saying. It will be like hearing about the sweetness of a mango for many years, then finally getting it and eating it. Be regular and punctual in your prayer. These are the keys. Do you understand, my children?”
All together: “Yes, father. Your love has made it very clear to us.”
The wise one continues:
“Prayer is a communion with the Highest Absolute, another name for our heavenly Father. We can speak to Him like a servant to his Master, or like a child to his grandfather. When we pray, we talk and God listens to us, but if we continue, God will come and talk to us while we listen. Then we will feel true peace in ourselves. Since God our Father loves us much more than we love ourselves, and knows our needs, it is always better to pray to God for Him to do what’s best for us. We can receive God’s everlasting qualities of peace, bliss and light, only when we please our Beloved Lord, in His own way.
“I see that prayer is of the utmost importance, dad.” said Junior.
Wise one: “So true, my son. The great Christian Saint Sadhu Sundar Singh describes prayer as ‘an effort to lay hold of God Himself, the Author of life. When we have found Him, the source of life, and have entered into communion with Him, then the whole of life is ours. With God we have all that will make life perfect.” At The Feet Of The Master, P46, Hodder and Stoughton, (1985). - Sadhu Sundar Singh.
Kanya: Could you explain, father?”
Wise one: “Sure, my child. Since God is everywhere, when we pray we are invoking His presence to come inside our hearts. As we develop this practice, we will be able to talk to Him directly and receive His grace. This will make us feel that we do not
The road ahead
need anything else but God.”
Kanya: “Very inspiring.”
Wise one: “Again he says: ‘Prayer is breathing in of the Holy Spirit. God so pours his Holy Spirit into the life of the prayerful that they become ‘living souls’ (Gen. 2:7; John 20:22). They will never die. The Holy Spirit pours himself into their spiritual lungs through prayer, filling them with health, power and eternal life.” ibid, P48.
“Put simply, our Father in heaven is all powerful and will give us everything if we truly love Him and do His Will.”
Junior: “Wonderful, daddy. Wonderful!”
Wise one: “Finally, before we end this subject, the great Sadhu Sundar Singh continues to say that ‘praying has this great advantage: The soul is best fitted to receive God himself, as well as his blessings, when it is in an attitude of prayer ... if a blessing was given to one who was not ready to receive it, he would not value it sufficiently nor be able to keep it for very long … only the man of prayer, can worship God in spirit and in truth.” ibid, P51.
Wise one: “Our Souls are the drivers of our bodies. They give us life but are still accountable to God.”
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathe into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7
Wise one: It is in prayer and silence, that our Lord can best give us all His compassion and love.
Children: “We understand.”
The Wise one concludes by giving some practical instructions to his two children in preparation for prayer:
- Build an alter in a sacred place in the corner of your bedroom.
- On this alter, place flowers, a candle or candles, burn incense and have a picture of someone that inspires you, e.g., the Christ. It will help you to anchor yourself within for interior prayer. (prayer that you feel is coming from within)
- Sit comfortably on a chair or cushions, with your spine erect or back straight.
- Do not strain or ‘push and pull’. Keep your eyes and shoulders relaxed.
- Using some visualization technique or your own imagination, find the place of the heart (in the middle of your chest) and hold the focus or attention at this point.
- Repeat quietly, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me,’ slowly and reverently, or a positive affirmation: ’O merciful Lord, grant me peace.’
- Guard your mind carefully, keeping out distracting thoughts. Be patient, be peaceful.
- Be moderate with food, drink and sleep.
- Learn to love silence.
- Read the scriptures; writings of the saints and great men and women of God.
- As much as possible, avoid distracting occupations, people and places.
- Practice when nature is at its most peaceful. Early morning and again at night.
- Begin with 15 minutes and increase as tolerated.
- Regularity, punctuality and gratitude are three most important keys.
Junior and Kanya listened intently, showing great attention and loving pride in their father. This subject of prayer was a most interesting and significant one. They then had a break for a meal and other entertainment; with an earnest promise to return the next day for a look at the Beatitudes (blessingful statements) of our Lord. – Manatita, 15th December, 2012.