The whole meaning of prayer is that we may know God. Oswald Chambers
Prayer is often ritualistic, parroted and often used as tool of the last resort by the desperate. In a fast paced world, with eroding values, a pot puree of cultures and religions and ‘money; being the yardstick of success, prayer has been reduced to one of those hedging strategies that we use to protect our well being . Obviously when the concept of prayer itself has undergone such a drastic metamorphosis, it would be unrealistic to expect most people to see prayer as anything but a good ‘talisman’ that is apparently personalized ( because I say it individually) but fundamentally institutionalized (since most prayers are standardized)
In its original avatar prayer is praise and worship to a god who is all powerful and benevolent. God has always been an enigma, difficult to comprehend, impossible to ignore and mysterious in his ways. This recognition of the power of god and in his infinite bounty and love which the human race aimed to appreciate through prayer is also a small step in understanding the mystery called god. We sometimes end up completely mistaking our idea of ‘God’ particularly at times when we feel that our pleas are falling on deaf ears and that he pays no heed to our desperate cry. Other times we are completely beholden to GOD for we feel that we are not just duty bound to appreciate his blessings but because we are fearful of incurring his wrath.
Prayer takes on many forms from litanies to paeans, from prepared texts to spontaneous words and can oscillate from hysterical crescendos to absolute silence. Whilst on one hand the focus is on praise and worship more often than not we end with requests and seeking favors for ourselves and for our loved ones. Amazingly without really meaning to we resort to even some sort of bargaining wherein we promise to return a favor if God grants us our wish. We are ecstatic when our wishes are granted that we end up calling it ‘our prayers have been answered’ and we dutifully attempt to keep our end of the bargain more out of fear of retribution than out of a sense of duty.
True prayer is expressed in thought, word and deed. Good thoughts, kind words and honest deeds are prayers in action. The goodwill we generate, the blessings we get from those you interact with and the sheer joy and happiness that pervades us from within are the real fruits of the prayers we offer. You can then see GOD in the smiles of people, in the laughter that resounds and in the wonder of nature that abounds.
Remember: “Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.”
- Make a list of objects each starting with a different alphabet from A- Z. Eg. Apple, Bat, Crayons, Darts, etc. Now every day take a different object and using that as the focus attempt to say a prayer that includes praise, pleas, thanks, hope, delight etc. Example : If CRAYONS is the object your prayer could read as under: Dear Lord, thank you for making me like a crayon. You have given me so many shades in personality. My ability to communicate, my strong sense of visualization and my ability to get through with people are special graces from you. Help me develop these skills to ensure that I am able to reach out to more people. There are times when I am vain about my abilities, help me realize that I am nothing without your grace……
- Outline a plan of action to do a social service project where you will actually spend your time in volunteering and helping. Examine the problems that you encounter in making the commitment and the benefits that you get in sticking to your commitments.
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