When you pray for anyone you tend to modify your personal attitude toward him. Norman Vincent Peale
Prayer is communication with the almighty and ideally prayer should be personal, spontaneous, positive and fervent. Most times our prayers are focused inwards to our happiness and occasionally for the happiness of our families, friends and relatives. Often our prayers are directed towards our request for more wealth, more riches, more peace of mind and more happiness. Instead of focusing inwards if we attempted to focus outwards towards the people around us, the poor and downtrodden, those denied justice, the sick and suffering, unfortunate victims of war, poverty, illness and social inequality, we would perhaps get the true fulfillment of prayer and possible answers to prayers in the form of peace of mind.
The real challenge for a normal person is to suppress the natural urge to seek favors for self and actively pray for others. Surprisingly, there are times we freely do it like the times when we pray for a sick friend, a newly wedded couple, a person death bed or for those unwittingly caught in a distress situation even if we have no remote connect with them. If we are passionate sports enthusiasts with strong loyalties then we also freely and passionately pray for our team and even pray for a miracle if the team is weak or playing poorly. The challenge of true prayer can be answered when we really search our hearts and ask if we can selflessly pray for someone who has wronged us, someone we dislike immensely or for someone who is openly hostile to us or someone who treats us like an enemy.
Whether our prayers are answered or not there is one great benefit of prayer that we can sense immediately; the feeling of having unburdened and shared. Often our problems stem from the fact that we cannot share it with anyone and GOD is a good sponge who can easily absorb all our grievances, fears, worries, pleas and frustrations. The other great benefit of prayer is that when we pray for others, we suddenly begin to see the other person in a new light. We search out new virtues in the person, we discover pleasing facets of the person and we begin to share a common bond with those who we pray for. It dawns on us that perhaps we did not make the effort to really understand and appreciate the person we are praying for. Even as we pray, we also acknowledge our sins and mistakes in perhaps judging the other person incorrectly, in being critical of the person unfairly and / or ignoring the person because we didn’t really care for him /her.
Praying for others cleanses us of our guilt, removes our misconceptions of the others and helps us warm up in spirit to the other person. Our own person begins to undergo a change for suddenly we begin to feel positive, more responsible, feel an empathy with the other and crave to ensure that the other person is blessed by our prayer.
Remember: “Grant that I may not pray alone with the mouth; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart” Martin Luther
- Make a list of 5 people whom you will pray for daily. Ensure that at least one is a family member and one is someone you do not really care for. Examine your own feelings after you have prayed for them.
- Not all prayers need be formal. Look at this different prayer that takes the art route. While admiring the exceptional talent and creativity of the artist, look at it also as a prayer for all those who suffered and died in revolutions the world over. Click the link and see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOMgDbcA84A
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