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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties. Oswald Chambers

It is typical for most people to pray either as a ritual or when I desperation and in both cases the focus is our own paranoia. As a ritual we pray because we are afraid of divine wrath that may befall us and when we are desperate we automatically gravitate to seek divine assistance. It is significant to note that in both cases it is our self centered interest that is the bait that lures us into prayer whereas real prayer is a mix of spontaneous thanks, praise and a reaching out to god. This means our focus should be on GOD and not our personal motives or hidden agenda.

Our difficulty is that we believe in a god more because of our upbringing that focused attention on GOD, but there are many times we seem to take God for granted and/ or  wonder about the truth of GOD’s existence. Most times we have that niggling doubt that stops us from freely acknowledging God’s presence in our life. We pray without faith, we pray mechanically and we pray superfluously and more often than not we simply chant in unison with no understanding of what we are saying. When we pray without feeling, we cannot hope for our prayers to be answered, we lack the faith to believe our prayers will be answered and we are often blinded to the reality that our prayers are answered in different ways.

Since prayer is a communication with GOD, it is essential that we are able to visualize the recipient of the communication. The message has to be tailored to suit the understanding of the receiver of the communication. By focusing only on our self centered message we miss out on the opportunity to interact with GOD spontaneously and share from the bottom of our hearts. More critical is the reality that with focus on our message, which mostly is all about our wants and needs, we do not LISTEN to GOD’s communication to us. Far too many times, we never get what we seek, but in the long run we realize that we got something much more valuable than what we sought. Eg. We don’t get the marks we want but as a result we take up an education which is not out first choice. Later we realize that we got the perfect career choice.

More than anything else is the reality that when we focus on God, we seem to be able to get inspired in finding solutions to our dilemma. We also realize that our problems are really minuscule as compared to those problems of others and that many solutions are within our own grasp. Instead when we focus on our difficulties, we believe that we have passed the buck to someone more powerful who is expected to solve the problem. Thereafter, our urge to resolve the problem by using our own means is not considered a very favored option. Finally focusing on GOD gives us a peace of mind that whatever the outcome it is GOD’s will.

Remember: By my definition, prayer is consciously hanging out with God. Being with God in a deliberate way.  Malcolm Boyd

Try this:

  1. Make it a point to have 3 special intentions focused on our nation, the world at large and some individual known to you in your prayers. Have new  intentions  periodically if needed.
  2. Think of 3 specific instances in the past when your prayers remained unanswered. Reflect if you focused on God or the problem while praying. How much impact did the unanswered prayers have in your life? Was the impact positive or negative in your view?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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Every day is a messenger of God. Russian proverb

One of the most wonderful works of God is the subtle oncoming of each day, which heralds both the message that God exists and the transfiguration of the abstract day into a tangible evidence of Gods powerful messenger. What is most intriguing is the loud proclamation of GOD through the beautiful sunrise and the HIS vibrant presence during the whole day, be it in the chirping of the birds, the whistling of the winds or the bustling activity of human beings. Ironically, it is also felt in the fragilities of life be it in the form of death of person or persons, the fury of the vagaries of nature or in the poverty, pollution and pain that starkly contrasts with the peace, tranquility and love that is normally associated with God.

The chirping of the birds and the first rays of the sun brighten our morning and with each passing hour we are given the power to choose how to spend our time and enrich our life. The good news is the day is all ours. The bad news is that we have to exercise our choice in order to ensure that we have not wasted the day. What we need to focus on is what is our real task and then go about fulfilling that even if the task is not appealing, if it is challenging or it is extremely boring. If we don’t go about our task, end of day the same messenger will seek an account of how we utilized the day and our conscience will constantly prick us if we have squandered the opportunity presented to us. Even worse is that sinking feeling in our hearts that we have accomplished very little, piled on more work for ourselves and tensions and fear overwhelm us.

We also need to bear up with some rare days which herald only sad news, painful moments and hurtful memories. These days challenge our inner strength, draw our attention to the vagaries of life and very often divert our attention to the existence of GOD to whom we turn to in prayerful, weary and a pleaful manner. Everyone has to go through this cycle of pain and joy and the good news is that most times we are blessed with joy and we appreciate those times much more when we are undergoing pain. sadness and loneliness. The miracle of the day lies in its equality of distribution amongst all and its complete indifference to how one uses or abuses it. In its unhurried, impartiality it proclaims the message of GOD’s gift of each day to each one of us. The challenge for us is to appreciate it, accept it and use it profitably and purposefully for our own good and as a tribute to God’s gift of life to us. It is only if we are alive that the new day has meaning, and that the greatest gift that god SENDS US EACH DAY for each day becomes gods own messenger to awakens us and remind us of his LOVE for us.

Remember: “Don’t count the days- make the days count.”

Try this:

  1. Make an elaborate New Year resolution list. Add some personal improvement goals in it, some social work that you plan to do, some goals concerned with improving the environment and one goal dedicated to doing something that is connected with your personal passion.
  2. Outline 3 changes you will make in your life style to enhance your personal productivity. Also outline the method you will adopt to put your plan into action and to evaluate the results.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com
You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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I firmly believe a great many prayers are not answered because we are not willing to forgive someone. Dwight L. Moody

When we hold a grouse against another, we not only carry a deep resentment but there is a lot of ill will that we wish upon that person.  We work up a frenzy within us, seek retribution in return for our agony that we endure and take delight in our foes distress and pain. We even convince ourselves that forgiveness is a crime and so we cling on to our morbid pleasure of hating that person and slyly look out for some ill happening in that person’s life. Notice that in this whole process there are three things that are actually backfiring on us. We are not able to focus on anything constructive, we do not generate or emit positive energy and we are obsessed with our foe and end up neglecting our own self. It is precisely these reasons that impede us from praying in faith and reaping its bounty. Let us understand each of these impediments a little more in depth.

Have you ever tried to concentrate on some task soon after going through an ordeal? You would notice that you are distracted, a sinking feeling constantly overpowers your emotions and the task on hand seems overwhelming. Your thoughts constantly seem to go back to the source of our discomfort and hence you are uneasy and disturbed.  Under the circumstances even a pleasurable task like watching TV or reading a good book seems like a burden. Something similar happens when we carry a grudge and are unable to forgive another. Then our joys are muted, our prayers sound hollow and we lack the conviction to seek in hope and receive in faith. Obviously then it is no wonder that most times our prayers remain unanswered when our hearts are fully of revenge and there is no space for peace and tranquility.

With angst in our heart, revenge in our mind and ill will overpowering our emotions, all the positive energy is sapped out of us.  When we transmit negative energy around, it is near impossible to expect positive outcomes.  Just as a rotting corpse will attract the vultures and the wild animals, negative energy will attract only cold vibes, churn up the existing tranquility and saddled us with undesirable outcomes. When the environment is vitiated the tempo slows down, our actions are leaden and our prayers are half hearted, cold and sprayed with the foam of hate, wickedness and malice which has filled out heart and refuses to subside.

Finally, when we cannot forgive, our mind, thoughts and heart have only the destruction and ill will for our foe uppermost in our mind. With our concentration on our foe so overpowering there is little time for us to pray for our own needs and even if we did mange it, most times it would be so negative in its desires (possibly seeking bad tidings for our foe) that the prayers cannot be answered. Yet we continue to pray partly mechanically, partly in fond hope and mainly to unburden our consciousness. With the spirit missing out of prayer, it is no wonder that our prayers remain unanswered. The best way out is then to forgive our enemies, cleanse our heart and mind and then pray fervently and lo and behold even if our prayers are answered with a NO we will accept that answer with gratefulness.

Remember: “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Paul Boese

Try this:

  1. It is not easy to forgive someone who has wronged you a lot. Yet if you want to, it is better to take help from a matured common friend who can facilitate the forgiving process.  Sometimes the person you haven’t forgiven is long gone from your life and yet the resentment stays.
  2. Read some stories  from the Chicken Soup series on forgiveness and empathize wit those who have shared their stories of forgiveness.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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Amazing things start happening when we start praying! Anon

The beauty of prayer lies in its simplicity; young and old, rich or poor, children or adults can all use this medium in various ways to meet their needs. To begin with they can use prayer to reach out for help when needed, offer prayers of thanks for blessing got and can even seek company in prayer when lonely. In fact most prayers are those that people say seeking help desperately. The first reason for that is because our wants are always unlimited but the means are limited. We want more money, more riches, more fame and more material possessions. The second reason is we turn to prayer is when we have exhausted all other means particularly when we face a crisis situation. This could be illness, when seeking a job or admission, when we have lost a valuable, when we are in some sort of extreme personal crisis like a divorce etc.

The power of prayer also lies in its simplicity. It has no predetermined format or style although in many religions they have standardized the prayers to make it more people friendly. Real prayer though is communication with the almighty and this has no fixed outline or specifications. It simply revolves round sharing our inner most feelings, talking as one would to another and the toughest part is to be able to listen attentively. All payers are powerful because they are heard and acted upon but the most powerful prayers are those that come from the depth of our hearts. Far too often we mistakenly believe that our prayer are answered only when we get what we want. There is a prayer answered when we don’t get what we want but that is difficult to appreciate because man is short sighted and selfish by nature. Gods plasn are mysterious and denial of our requests could be with very good reason.

The fruits of prayer also lie in its simplicity. The peace that comes to us when we pray is the most cherished fruit of them all. This is because most prayers are offered when in trouble and the prayer offered give us comfort that we have sought the support of the almighty. Many times prayers are answered in the most unexpected ways be it winning a lottery or landing a great job when we least expect it. Prayer often tranquilizes the soul, calms our spirit and rejuvenates our physique. Our worries and woes suddenly vanish from our midst, our needs seem satisfied and our greed transforms into satisfaction. If we offer our prayers sincerely, you will realize that Prayers have the power to turn the impossible into the miraculous.

Remember: “All prayers are answered if we are willing to admit that sometimes the answer is “no”

Try this:

  1. The next time you pray, be aware of how much you are actually seeking and how little we actually appreciate, thank or accept in good grace the answer to our prayers.
  2. Ask yourself how effective our prayers are if we carry grudges, if we have evil thoughts about others, if we cannot forgive our brother/ sister/ neighbor etc or if we refuse to accept another’s apology but still seek revenge.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

 

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Rejoice always, pray constantly, and in all circumstances give thanks. The Desert Fathers

When in pain physical or psychological it is very difficult to rejoice let alone give thanks. Prayer for freedom from pain would be a natural response and yet that would not be the real prayer from the heart. In happier circumstances rejoicing is natural, prayer may be casual and giving thanks perhaps an afterthought. The emphasis of the quote is on acceptance of the moment as it unfolds with a grateful heart (thanks), humbleness (prayer) and ecstasy (rejoicing) no matter what the moment brings.

At varying times and in varying circumstances each of us spare a few moments to at least briefly reflect on the happenings in our life. This is a very basic style of acceptance of the wonderful moments that make up our life. However, it is only when one makes a conscious effort to accept the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, the ecstasy and the pain; that is when we can truthfully state that we have experienced life and its splendors. It is of course logical to ask why and how one can rejoice when in pain and why one must give thanks for the pain. If there was no pain, how can one ever appreciate the peace and harmony which we otherwise enjoy. There is a reason for pain too and when we offer thanks we acknowledge the wisdom of the almighty in alerting us with pain. A decayed tooth will pain and that is perhaps the only time we consciously and willing go to a dentist. Give thanks to the pain or all the teeth would rot and we would be blissful about it.

There are times when it becomes very difficult to accept pain and giving thanks and rejoicing seem like a person gone insane because of the pain. Someone suffering from a painful illness and suffering for long years would pray for deliverance from the pain and cannot rejoice daily. The family members and well wishers too find it tough to rejoice and give thanks. However one can surely pray for the person. Prayer is the bridge that connects rejoicing and thanks for through prayer we share our joys, our sorrows, our hopes and our faith. So often, when in pain we cry out pitifully ‘why me?’  Sometimes it is near impossible to comprehend the plans of the almighty and hence it is best we thank the almighty for making giving us the strength to bear the pain and rejoice that things could have been worse.  It is in prayer that we often discover the courage and the enlightenment to rejoice and give thanks.

Remember: “All prayers are answered if we are willing to admit that sometimes the answer is “no”

Try this:

  1. The following words are etched on the tomb stone of a young lad who died at 17 years. Notice the depth and breadth of the word which convey rejoicing, thanks and prayer.
  • Being pleasing to God and beloved, he was transferred; lest wickedness chance his understanding or deceit beguile his soul.
  1. Make a spontaneous prayer every morning and night focusing on the reasons for rejoicing, the happenings for which you want to give thanks and communicating your hopes, fears, sorrows, pain etc.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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Don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines. Satchel Paige

Prayer is often looked upon as a critical option available to us to be used in emergencies. It is used more often like a joker is used in some card games; to add value when required.  Perhaps this accounts for the fact that most of us resort to prayer in desperation. Prayer offers us a psychological escape and comfort from the fears and worries that plague us. We seek cures from illness, a way out of our problems, expect miracles to be performed and pray fervently in hope. Prayer though really revolves around in faith. As a preacher asked a large congregation gathered to pray for rains ‘How many of you have come here with an umbrella in hand?’ ‘If you have no faith’ he went on,’ why do you expect your prayers to be answered?’

The essence of prayer though remains ‘communication with the almighty’. Since communication is a two way process, we need to listen more than we mouth our prayers. Good communication is also spontaneous and open.  Our prayers unfortunately are recited by rote, parroted without feeling and loaded with selfish intent. In the process we only seek to get favorable answers and anything short of it is seen as wasted prayer and / or unanswered prayer. Very rarely does it dawn on us that God in his infinite wisdom has chosen to deliberately not answer our prayer for he has better plans for us.  It takes a lot of wisdom and listening from the heart to hear GOD loudly proclaim his negative verdict to our ardent plea. Here is one such enlightened response, to the unfortunate early demise of a young lad in his early teens, by his distraught but God fearing family, who got the following words engraved on the tomb stone’ Being pleasing to God and beloved, he was transferred, lest wickedness chance his understanding or deceit beguile his soul’

It is essential that we appreciate and thank the almighty for all the blessings we are fortunate to have. This too is done through our prayer of thanks not necessarily verbal but in varied actions, deeds and gratefulness. A smile, a pat on the back, a few encouraging words to someone in pain, sparing time to be with the weak, the sick, the lonely are perhaps the most beautiful prayers that one can articulate effectively.  Getting control over our extreme emotions, overcoming our shortcomings and bad habits and accepting those whom we despise are prayers of a very high order for we have to make a great effort to offer those as prayers. The ultimate prayer is loving everyone including our enemy, being a loveable person and spreading good cheer, happiness and love around. Unless we can offer up this prayer, our prayers will remain incomplete and possibly remain ineffective. Recollect the anecdote of two nuns who were getting late to catch a train. Suddenly one of them told the other let us kneel down and pray that we get the train. The other nun suggested that they run towards the station while praying hard all the way and perhaps their prayers would be answered.

Remember: “All prayers are answered if we are willing to admit that sometimes the answer is “no”

Try this:

  1. Ask your friends from another religious belief to share with you some short prayers and their meanings. Compare it with the essence of your own personal favorite prayers. The most common thread would possibly be the reality that most prayers have some reference to praising GOD.
  2. Ask yourself if you ever practice prayer. This means do you patiently listen to God? Do you serve people who are in need in any way? Do you offer prayers as a ritual or out of fear? What more can you do to enhance the quality of your prayers?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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When you cannot pray as you would, pray as you can.  Edward M. Goulburn

For many of us there are two categories of prayer Ritualistic and Spontaneous prayers.  Most of us are well trained and deeply ingrained in the ritualistic aspects of prayer simply because that is one way to impart religious beliefs and training. It is imperative to highlight the fact that ritualistic prayer also fulfils a deep need for even the uninitiated to connect with GOD and spares people the agony of wondering how to reach out to GOD.  Most times ritualistic prayers are said in the confines of a place of worship or in a formal setting at home or chanted at fixed times and specified days. There are ritualistic prayers designed to cover every situation, every eventuality and there are generic prayers to cover the unanticipated too.  There are a large number of us who use prayer as a balm to soothe nerves, tranquilizers to dull pain within and believe prayer will be the right vaccine to keep at bay the evils of this world. There is no doubt that prayer often gives these results too but such prayers are a poor substitute for a free and spontaneous communication with GOD.

Spontaneous prayers are those that are said from the heart with faith and gratefulness. There are no set rules for such prayers but it is free flowing, often rambling but definitely original and heartfelt.  There are no particular reasons for such prayers but it often transpires that such prayers are a prelude to some important events or are prayers of thanksgiving for favors received. Spontaneous prayers also take on the garb of desperate prayers which are said when one is in dire need and in a hopeless situation.  Spontaneous prayers are often resorted to in any situation, in any place and for any need or thanksgiving. Off and on we also endorse spontaneous prayer in a formal set up like in a place of worship. Most spontaneous prayers are self centered and revolve around ensuring that the person saying the prayer is comforted. E.g. We may pray for the good results of a family member but in reality we are seeking peace of mind from the good results.

Real prayer is communication with GOD where we share all our feelings, our problems, our joys and happiness. Irrespective of whether it is ritualistic or spontaneous real prayer is said straight from the heart and need not be loudly articulated or dramatically proclaimed.  In fact the power of prayer arises from the depth of the faith and honesty that accompanies it. Most times our prayers are perceived to be unheard simply because we never stop to listen to GOD’s responses in our hearts. God actually whispers his acknowledgement of our prayers but we persist in seeking tangible evidence of GODs response.

Perfect prayer though is in doing our duty and a little more for it is in sharing, caring and sacrificing that we are blessed with a GOD experience. It is our thoughts words and deeds that actually stand testimony to the prayers we offer.  The truly blessed are those who only ask GOD for strength, wisdom and health to carry on zealously with their duty be it at their work place, their homes or in society at large. We need not sing paeans to God nor build mammoth edifices to glorify GOD but simply do our bit to help our fellowmen and GOD hears our prayers booming loud and clear.

Remember: “It is in vain to expect our prayers to be heard, if we do not strive as well as pray.”

Try this:

  1. Read these modern prayers that are non denominational and yet easily identifiable by all those reading it.  These prayers are in a lighter vein but reflect the present day mindset and need.Computer Prayers
  2. Attempt to LISTEN to GOD when you pray next time. Silence is the best prayer for then you don’t have to say anything and yet there will be plenty said to you.  List 3 people who you would like to pray for who are not part of your family or not known to you intimately. What will you pray they be blessed with? E.g. The security guard at the ATM because you overheard him saying he will lose his job soon.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

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