Power of Prayer
WHAT CAN PRAYER REALLY DO?
Is God listening to my prayer? Will He answer my prayer? That is the doubt every heart entails at sometime or the other. And the answer is - Certainly Yes! A pure and sincere prayer coming straight from the heart, however small it may be, never goes unanswered. That’s a promise of the Divine! Lord cannot help but respond to our sincere prayers. A true prayer is very powerful and actually does miracles, such as even cancelling of a cancer! In fact, there is no problem as knotty it may be in this world that prayer cannot unravel.
But for prayer to reach Him, it should not be just verbalization of fancy words or hymns without any emotion. Simple words emerging from heart wrapped with pure love are enough to touch His heart. These moments of prayer when the individual soul directly connects and converses with the Divine are so beautiful...lets keep them simple. Call out to any Name of the Lord which evokes a strong feeling of Love in the heart and pour out one’s heart to Him.
WHY SHOULD WE PRAY AT ALL?
Dr John Hislop once asked Sathya Sai Baba that when God knows each of our problems and if He deems it appropriate, He will solve them, then what is the need to say a prayer? Baba replied, ‘It is true that Divinity is omniscient and knows all. But it is your duty to ask God. Words must be said, with sincerity and the words must correspond to the thought. The mother may know the child requires food to maintain life, but milk is given when the child asks for it.’
We should not pray for one thing and practice another. We must pray with complete faith and our thoughts, words, deeds and the prayers we make must all be in perfect union.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY TO PRAY?
Baba has further explained...there are 3 kinds of prayers:
The first is when we pray for ourselves…Oh Lord, grant me a good job or please give me promotion! Please give me a nice husband or a wife!
The second kind of prayer is when we pray for our near and dear ones- their health or happiness.
And the third is when we pray for the welfare of entire world…Let all beings in the whole world be happy! Let each heart be filled with joy and peace!
There is nothing wrong with asking for ourselves or for our near ones but these have elements of self centeredness in them. God being the most compassionate one will answer even those when prayed sincerely and if they are for our good.
However, Lord says, our prayers should be of third kind…because when we pray with the intention of highest goodness, it is immediately granted. He responds to such selfless prayers in an instant! The best thing is that since we too are part of the world, we’ll also be the recipient of His grace along with others.
I want to share a personal experience of the last one here:
- An experience with selfless prayer
One summer I was going to my college in a bus at about 11 am and it was scorching hot that day. There was not a single drop of rain that summer. The heat was really unbearable. At one of the bus stop, a poor man boarded the bus, sweating profusely…looking at him, my heart spoke in agony, ‘Oh lord, why do your children have to suffer so much this summer? These poor people do not have any access to coolers or air conditioners; please provide some solace to them.’ And Lo and Behold! Within 15 minutes, black clouds suddenly covered the entire sky and then it rained very heavily for at least 2 hours. The weather got so cool and pleasant. It was really a miracle as there was no trace of any black cloud for entire summer, let alone any drizzle. The entire city basked in His love that day. I realized the significance of praying for the happiness of everyone that day and today also tears come in my eyes when I think of the compassion and love that He showered that day.
WHEN GOD DOES NOT SEEM TO BE RESPONDING TO OUR PRAYER, WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?
Baba has given answer to this question in a Discourse:
“Having grasped what ought to be grasped, do not let go of the grip till you succeed. Having desired what ought to be desired, hold on till your desire is fulfilled. Having asked what ought to be asked, hold on till your request is answered. Having thought what ought to be thought, hold on till you succeed. Either God should yield to your prayer or you should ask with wholehearted intensity. That is the path a true devotee should pursue.”
-Divine Discourse, 12 Oct 2002