When there is trust and unconditional surrender to God and prayers emanate from purity, love and innocence, many miracles can happen both within us and in the environment and the world around us, says RAMESH RAJARAMAN
Prayers express our feelings to an energy or source beyond us. It may be God, nature or any energy source. However, there is no standard procedure in praying, even though for rituals, guidelines are defined considering various parameters. Prayers are totally different from rituals, though in all type of rituals, prayers are included. Prayers do not necessarily mean we are submitting our wish list to God.
Each individual may have a different approach in praying to God, depending on the time availability, knowledge and lifestyle. Some may pray to God for a few seconds, others for longer durations, extending to an hour. Some may follow certain religious practices while praying and someone else may follow a process, which includes certain actions.
It is not as if one approach is right and the other is wrong. Prayers depend solely on an individual’s comfort level. Prayers cannot be compelled on any individual; they are spontaneous and always springs forth with one striking an emotional chord with God or nature.
Whatever way one prays, the prayer is never mechanical, for then there is no life or energy in it, and so it can never be called prayer. Any prayer to God is a connecting path or communication channel between the individual and Divinity, based on a belief system. It may be a thank you note for God’s blessings or a humble request for certain critical individual needs or for welfare and benefits for all.
Often a prayer is a moment or a long spell of silence, listening to God, or talking to Him, without asking anything at all. The devotee in prayer believes that God is listening.
There should never be any doubt whether a prayer would be heard or not ― conviction, and faith or trust should be absolute. A prayer is an outpouring of love, purity and innocence of the soul ― we were all born with these qualities, which connect us to God in prayer and gratitude.
Prayers are not meant to appease God, but to help us grow, indeed, to soar spiritually, to raise our consciousness, discover our self and ultimately reach God-realisation, while navigating the material world, wisely, with equanimity and detachment.
Prayers are not quantifiable by the number of hours spent, frequency, and visits to places of worship for special prayers. Also, prayer is not a barter system with God ― “God, if you make A to happen to me, I will offer B to you (your temple, mosque or church).” God is the giver, who has created the entire universe and blessed us with Grace and plenitude; He doesn’t need our offerings. Even if there are any offerings, these should be out of unconditional love and gratitude.
Even when prayers are initiated for a certain purpose, and if our prayers are not answered, we should keep up our trust in God, who knows best and will give us a solution at the right time, in any form or manner rather than the way we want it to happen. Prayer is not a plan. So if our request is not heard through our prayer, we should not try an alternative mode of praying, like a plan B. Compared to an all-knowing God, our intellect is tiny, and we should have faith in God’s plan for us.
In the battlefield, Arjuna was confused and jittery to execute an important task of his life. He lost all his courage and strength to deliver his task. He unconditionally surrendered to Bhagavan Krishna and with trust believed that God would give a solution to him to handle the situation well. At the end of the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna’s mind-frame changed and a total transformation had taken place within him. He was then fully geared up to deliver his task with required strength and confidence.
In conclusion, when there is trust and unconditional surrender to God and prayers emanate from purity, love and innocence, many miracles can happen both within us and in the environment and the world around us. However, apart from love, an important part of prayer is devotion.
While eating dry rice at the house of His friend, Sudama, Shree Krishna said:
patraṁ puṣhpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayachchhati
tadahaṁ bhaktyupahṛitam aśhnāmi prayatātmanaḥ (Bhagavad Gita 9:26)
The Shreemad Bhagavatam (10.81.4) contains exactly the same verse.
It means, “If one offers Me with devotion, a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even water, I delightfully partake of that article offered with love by My devotee in pure consciousness.”
Ramesh Rajaraman with 40 years’ experience in Information Technology worked in leadership roles in top IT companies, and as CIO in a multi-speciality hospital in Chennai. A blogger and trainer, he loves music, trekking, travel and reading.