Tag: prayer

Brand your life

Brand your life

With Deepawali around the corner, it is but natural that shopping is high on the priority list of those celebrating Deepawali, especially Indian’s the world over. Add to the fervor the numerous advertisements by online and offline advertisers all displaying a humongous range of visually  pleasing merchandise.  The buyer is bedazzled with the choices but stumped when it comes to decision making. Eventually, the chances of branded goods being purchased are much higher than non branded goods. The reasons are simple; there is reasonable guarantee of quality, reasonable price, committed delivery and a reasonable return/ exchange policy if not satisfied. It is the brand that simply triggers these convictions. Is it not time for you to build your personal brand so that when you interact with others, they have a similar trust, faith, expectation and confidence in you?

For ordinary individuals, personal branding is all about cultivating a holistic, honest and heartwarming identity. It is different from an image created by film hero’s / heroines or rock stars / sports person and celebrities who have a purely marketing angle to their individual branding. For ordinary folks like you and me, personal branding is conveying ourselves honestly to a world that will recognize our worth and respect us for our candor and acceptable demeanor.

The tools for personal branding are simple, easy and inexpensive.

For lips – Truth – Practice the art of being truthful however much the urge to tell a lie because of fear, jealousy, envy or other compulsions like protecting someone. Obviously it won’t be easy but if you set your own standards, you will never have to think twice about your course of action. More importantly, the world will know what you stand for and what to expect. Your brand is build immediately.

For Voices – Prayer – Unlike a ritual, which is often the norm for organized religion, a simple prayer is acknowledgement of thanks for the blessings in life, a earnest plea for the grace of acceptance of the challenges, a request for fortitude to cope with the challenges and most of all it is seeking blessings for those around us for their continued well being. Action is the bed rock of prayer; it requires one to do something for self, for others and for the world at large be it participating in alleviating the pain and /or poverty or spreading good cheer or doing good deeds. Work is worship and prayer in action. Your prayers in action help build your brand

For eyes – Sympathy – Concern for others helps one sympathize and empathize with the challenges people around us are coping with. Hopefully this realization will spur us on to engage in translating our concern and sympathy into tangible action. Your actions will be noticed and your brand will be recognized.

For hands – Charity – Doling out money is the easiest thing a person with means can do. Real charity is in sparing time and spending it doing something worthwhile for others who require our charity. Simple things like spending time with the aged, the sick, the lonely by visiting hospitals / orphanages/ prisons is all that is required. However, it is a commitment and that commitment is the brand that you will be recognized for.

For heart – Love Falling in love with those who we like is easy; the tough part is to love those who are difficult to deal with, those who do not value us, those who we despise. It could be pesky neighbors, difficult colleagues, hard to please bosses, your nemesis. At times it is worse because it could be a troublesome family member or an irritating friend. Love is all encompassing; it should overlook faults, be unconditional and above all be genuine. Your brand will reflect in the ever widening circle of friends and well wishers around you.

For face – Smile – The simplest of all form of personal brand building. A smile costs nothing. It is the curve that helps straighten out things. Your smile is the outward reflection of your inner beauty. It is the brand that you wear on your face. View it differently and your SMILE translates into See My Instant Life Energizer.  http://poweract.blogspot.com/2010/01/smile.html

Try these:       

  • Out of the above which are the two strongest aspects that define your personal brand? Which are the two weakest aspects on which you will work hard to ensure your personal brand is top class.
  • Identify a person whose brand image you closely identify with i.e. you share similar traits or values.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

 

The focus of prayer

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

Forgive and…

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

Sincere prayers

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

Rejoice, pray, give thanks – always

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

Prayer is not optional

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

Prayer has no style

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

When I pray

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays. Soren Kierkegaard

The important thing about prayer is that it is a dialogue. More often than not we view prayer like a pill we pop to relive our aches and pains. If the pill does not give us relief we change the medicines. When things get worse we change doctors. Substitute the word prayer for pills and God for doctors and presto we have a scenario so very much alike. Instead of seeing prayer as pills, if we saw prayer as an exercise routine for the mind and heart, we would immediately realize how it works and recognize its benefits.

When we pray with piety, devotion and faith we are offering ourselves to the will of the almighty. It is but human for us to seek favors through prayer, but that is like a child asking for goodies from a loving parent. It is always alright to ask for things but it is unreasonable to expect all your prayers to be answered. It would be equally futile to seek the unreasonable. Like a good parent, God will give what is essential and appropriate for us. We might not view it in the same light but then we need to look at the answers in the silence of our hearts. Refusals are not a message of rejections nor is it a punishment for your misdeeds; it must be seen as a sign of God love and a test of our love for God. Do we love our parent any less when they refuse to heed to our pleas? Thee is one difference though, Gods LOVE is unparalleled, God is Infinite and GOD was is and will remain the same for eternity.

When one prays regularly, with faith and belief our fears become less daunting, our acceptance of the harsh and the unpalatable become more bearable and our song of praise and thanks become more vibrant and melodious. God responds to our prayers; just listen and be glad; you will be the change that God wanted you to be when you were born !

Remember: Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” Saint Augustine

Try these:

  1. Have a fixed time of prayer; at least twice a day. Don’t limit yourself to these times; pray when ever you can. A Thank You God is also a prayer as much as saying I am angry Lord is a prayer for help.
  2. Do you experience calmness when you pray? Can you visualize God joking with you? Can you see God pardoning you when you are truly for your sins?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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

Prayer

Prayer moves the hand that moves the world.
John Aikman Wallace

There is a higher order that is difficult to understand for us human beings. It is faith in the supreme that energizes us, gives us hope and fills our hearts with peace. Prayer is a medium to reach out to God, a channel for dialogue with God and an instrument that steady’s our journey on the pathway of life.

The difficulty with prayer is that often we are impatient for the answers. God answers us in many ways, alas we do not listen but look around for proof that he is with us. Our search for proof unfortunately is more in the realms of  finding tangible benefits for ourselves and occasionally accepting that sorrows and troubles are also Gods ways of make us stronger.

God always hears our prayers. However he may not answer it in the way we want to hear. You may get a response that is far more surprising and rewarding in the long-term, but it may look and sound like an unanswered prayer in the short-term. God runs a tight ship; he will have to be tough and so we may not get all that we seek but you can be sure he knows each of us intimately and ensure that we are given our due in course of time. Believe that the God never forsakes.

Remember :In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.

Try these

  • Make your prayer spontaneous like a chat with a friend. Reduce the ritualistic and focus on a dialogue – share your troubles, confide your needs and express your thanks for the fruits of God ‘s love that you have received.
  • While there is no specific time for prayer, it would be wonderful idea to start your day and end your day with a prayer.
  • Explore formal prayers of other religions and you will discover that Love is central to all prayers as is faith in God and belief in his infinite love and mercy.

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