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Posts Tagged ‘God’

Unless you give yourself to some great cause, you haven’t even begun to live. William P. Merrill

From the time we are born our primitive urge is self preservation and this means that we tend to compete/ fight to live for ourselves. Beginning with our need for food, we seek shelter and security for ourselves and our loved ones because it is the herd instinct. As we grow and become adults we become independent but then we tend to become more and more selfish and self centered. While the animal kingdom exhibits similar tendencies, they never have the human weakness of greed. Thus animals that kill and live of the carcass kill only when they are hungry and even the herbivorous animals too eat just for their survival. Man alone tends to hoard, to gorge and to deny a fellow human being.  It is against this background that one needs to understand the need for the human race to consciously make amends for this selfish tendency and the one way to really do it is to give ourselves completely to a cause where the beneficiary is anyone but us.

Since our natural tendency is to live for ourselves, it is only a conscious decision that will really enable us to identify a worthwhile cause and help us spare our time, resources and energies on promoting the cause. The joy and thrill of giving out without any expectations is the real moment that we enjoy our life and appreciate the blessings that life has showered on us. The cause one stands for need not be related only to the human race but should be for the good of mankind. This means that causes as diverse as animal welfare and environmental concerns would be on the same pedestal as working for the handicapped, the aged and the sick. Whatever be the cause, the key is selfless service, total commitment and active participation.

Self less service involves the ready and free desire to be involved in the cause. If the involvement is conditional or it is taken upon reluctantly because of social pressure then the soul of the activity is missing. It is when one seeks out a cause to give selflessly that the cause becomes an integral part of one’s life else it will remain just a duty , a chore and an obligation. Total commitment means the whole hearted and absolute devotion to the cause. No matter what it takes, be it financial resources, networking, seeking out activists to propound the cause no requirement is ignored or side stepped. This is possible when we are wedded to the cause and then we become absolutely committed. The essence of real living is experienced when we give ourselves to the cause by being active participants and be physically involved in all that is required to be done. This involves giving of our time the most precious of our resources, getting our hands dirtied, something that we may not be really used to in daily life and then we experience both he pain of the other and the joy they get from our intimacy and companionship and service.

Remember: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  Mahatma Gandhi

Ty this:

  1. One of the toughest religious orders to join in is the Mother Theresa’s  Sister’s of Charity. Yet they have one of the largest numbers of volunteers and applications to join the congregation. What do you think is the reason for it. If there is a home for the children/ aged/ sick or orphans run by them in your city visit them and spend a day to understand how they work and what they do.
  2. Outline a plan of action to identify a cause, to commit yourself and to actively be involved in it. Don’t fall to the temptation of trying to be involved in all your interests. Chose one and give it your all. Ensure that you even slot a time of the day for the activity and to give of your time and personal efforts. Experience the joy that comes with the commitment.

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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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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Cold prayers shall never have any warm answers. Thomas B. Brooks

The warmth with which we shake hands and greet a person often sets the tone for the further interactions and the ultimate outcome can also be fairly accurately predicted. When we exude warmth we reinforce our self belief in the other and invite the other to place trust in us. The same holds true about prayers too. If we go through the motions of prayers as often ‘Sunday Christians’ are criticized for, without the full involvement of our body, mind and soul, the piety, the fervency and the faith that characterize prayer are absent. Instead of prayer being a support for our spiritual needs it turns out to be a mere antidote for our spiritual fears.

In reality prayer is a communion with the almighty and this implies that the communication must free, frank and preferably spontaneous. Instead for ease of use, for standardizing the implementation and for mass scale availability prayer has been reduced to a predetermined set of words and phrases to be used as instructed. Prayer is nothing but a spiritual pill administered by the spiritual doctors the priests and religious instructors. The vast majority of us are happy with this arrangement because it is readily available, quickly administered and gives one a great sense of relief from the fears of divinely backlash. Unfortunately for us ,  when we look back there is still a gnawing emptiness within, a lurking fear around and a an uneasy truce with our conscience.

If prayer has to be effective, we must offer it with full faith and gratefulness. We must be active participants in the business of prayer and be fully involved in praise, worship and thanks for the many blessings that we get from the bounty of the almighty. We must be prepared to be humble in our thoughts word and deeds when we are in the presence of the almighty and with full faith and confidence seek divine intervention for our most pressing needs. When we are frustrated that our prayers are not answered, objectively notice that this happens what we lack patience, faith and trust. Some prayers take time to be answered, other prayers are answered in a different way from what we want and then are many prayers that apparently remain unanswered but in reality are answered with a resounding NO but we refuse to heed that voice.

The warmth of prayer is never in it is length or its perfection of rendition but is manifest in its genuineness and the abiding faith with which it is offered up. A sinners prayer is often more effective and well received when offered fervently and remorsefully when seeking pardon for sins than a person masquerading as a saints feeble attempts at looking pious and god fearing. Warmth revives the spirit, brings light into gloomy souls and caresses the hapless tenderly. Ask in faith, believe in earnest and receive with thanks is the maxim that succinctly describes the perfect prayer.

Remember:   There is a vast difference between saying prayers and praying

Try this:

  1. Check out the Lord’s prayer given below and analyze it phrase by phrase. What is the message it conveys to you?
  • Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done,on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. [For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.] Amen
  1. Make a prayer list as under
  • List of people whom you would like to pray for
  • List of things you want that you would like to pray for
  • List of special favors you seek that your would like to pray for
  • List of blessings you have received that you would like to say a thank you prayer for
  • List of sins for which you seek forgivness

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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The fewer the words, the better the prayer.  Martin Luther

Across the world, prayer is the common medium of reaching up to the divine and uniformly it is always verbose and repetitive. Part of this notion of prayer being verbose and repetitive could be attributed to the fact that when the concept of prayer emerged most people were illiterate and not confident that they could talk to the almighty. The priests then preferred to have common verbose prayers that could be easily memorized and repeated. The also tailored prayers for certain occasions, festivals, celebrations etc. so that the mood and essence of the occasion is addressed. Ever since prayer has become central to religion but more significantly has emerged as a means to express ourselves albeit in a most hackneyed and contrite way.

In reality prayer is a communication with the almighty and this means one has to be spontaneous, free and frank. Prayer has no rigid format and that is another salient feature of this form of communication; one can communicate as one adult to another or as a child to a parent or as a friend to a friend. Since communication is a two process, it implies that one has to listen to the response to our communication.  However this provides the biggest challenge for all our answers are heard only in the silence of our hearts. More often than not, our hearts are filled with anxiety, worries, hopes, expectations and so it is never silent nor attentive. As a result, while we seek to unburden or thank, we are never ever sure if our passionate pleas or entreats are ever heard or acknowledged. As a result, our rote prayers become more fervent, less personalized and often end up as a bargain with the almighty.

There is another aspect of prayer that is less understood and never emphasized. It is said that action speaks louder than words and this is applicable to prayer too. Most people find it hard to visualize action in the form of helping people, volunteering our time and efforts, taking some leadership roles in society etc. as being akin to prayer. In reality, prayer in the conventional form is relatively more passive, less action oriented and definitely more stereotype. If one were to roll up the sleeves and taken on some work that would benefit people at large that would be a more heartfelt prayer. Action needs more than just effort; it needs commitment of time, focused attention and is always result oriented. When you help others, there is sense of achievement a feeling of fulfillment and then the verbose prayers are almost always directed towards success of our activity and rarely self centered.

The best prayers are always those which focus on thankfulness, gratefulness and acknowledgment and appreciation. For such prayers we do not require too much verbosity and in addition it is more positive and humbling. When we volunteer and actively participate in the needs of society, when we take out time to devote to our specific project and when our commitment is unconditional and complete, there can never be a more powerful and devoted prayer.

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

Try this:

  1. List out 3 or more blessings for which you are always grateful to the almighty. If there was one more blessing you sought what would it be and why?
  2. Over the last 5 years, what were the practical things you did out of the way as a gesture of help and good will for your fellow men? Can you additionally choose a specific cause and commit yourself to it?

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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Talking about God is not at all the same thing as experiencing God, or acting out God through our lives. Phillip Hewett

God has been central to the lives of human kind and religion has been the vehicle used to reinforce the belief in god amongst the believers. Religion itself has evolved over time and has acquired various hues, has been instrumental in polarizing people and continues to be the epicenter of fundamentalism, bigotry and extremism.  When objectively studied from the point of view of the metamorphosis of religion over time two facts emerge – God becomes a tool in the hands of the religious and we become slaves to our religion. In effect what we end up doing is preaching and practicing as per our convenience.

To begin with almost all religions have a predominantly ritualistic bias. This is partly a social need so as to rally in numbers and become aware of our faith. Without exception each religion fiercely protects its turf from any form of thought that even remotely questions its dogma or authorities. Followers are happy in the solace they draw from the unknown power of God and rationalize their suffering, pain and fears. They will with impunity amass wealth illegally, part with the spoils under the garb of religious donations and won’t hesitate to pay obeisance at the cost of other ordinary mortals. The outward symbol of religion becomes the focus of people, while they blissfully ignore, sidestep or blind themselves to the core of religion viz. experiencing God and being a living example of God.

To experience God the fundamental requirement is deep faith, undying love and crystal clear values. When these are aligned, one can experience GOD in the wonders of the beauty that abounds in this world; be it the beautiful sunrise or sunset, the lush green meadows and flowers that bloom in spring or in the dazzle of the fireflies that light up the dark evening. One can experience it in the silence of the heart or in the chanting of the prayers; in the solemnity of the rituals or the boisterousness of festivity. The peak experience is the peace and calmness that pervades our stressful life, the joy and ecstasy in the  cry of a new born and the comfort that we get in believing that a loved has gone on to eternal reward.

The ultimate experience is in being a living example. We must be able to touch other lives with empathy and love bringing peace and hope to all those who come in contact with us. We must be prepared to sacrifice so that others can benefit; be merciful just as we are merciful judged by the God we believe in and be unbiased and fair and ensure that everyone gets justice without fear or favor.  If we truly love god we must be able to spread that love to every human being that we are privileged to reach out to through our own personal, caring and loving touch be it in words, thoughts or deeds.

Remember: “What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.” Eleanor Powell

Try this:

  1. Read the famous Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi by clicking the following link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_of_Saint_Francis You can also hear the audio song by clicking on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRvtkZs7oNg
  2. If you are finding it hard to be at peace, not experiencing the joy and happiness of life, if every day is stressful then ask yourself if you truly experiencing God in your life or being an example to others.  Examine the inconsistencies in your life where you are often found doing what troubles your conscience be it telling lies, defaming people, being brash, rude and brazen or pilfering and robbing, being unfaithful 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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