(Prayers comes in many form and sense. Picture source: https://www.guideposts.org)
An interesting email arrived in my inbox this morning titled “Hinduism: Why and How to Pray”
I said it is interesting because after I clicked on the link and read the details, I realized that, at least for me, I been doing it the wrong way. I pray at least twice a day but prayers to me was like a routine – “say this wording at this particular time”. So, when I got the link, it was an interesting read.
Praying has been an evolution sort of for me – I started with tagging along with my parents when I was very young, not knowing what is the fuss about, then later decided to be a communist somewhere in the middle and refused to acknowledge God, woke up and decided to go to the temple on my own and in the process getting bored with all the “rules and regulations” of doing good prayers (I hate some old priest who insists on doing some rules for prayers, I like the younger ones who is very direct when it comes to prayers).
Reading back the article, I was indeed surprised to note that the author Gyan Rajhans is a pioneering scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Health, Canada. Science and religion at many times is like water and oil because one is talking about facts whilst the other is about faith. He says:-
Many of you, I’m sure, are confused about the underlying philosophy of prayer. Consequently, often your prayers are not answered. Here, I attempt to provide some insights into the success of prayers. To begin with we must understand as to why do we pray? There are basically 12 reasons for prayer
Did he say 12 reasons? Wow, that was not much – I could easily think of a million reasons for prayers.
But after I ran through the 12 reasons, I realized that prayer does not necessarily mean asking God for something like money, car, new camera, new girlfriend, new superhuman powers or new supercomputer for home. It never was and I guess in the current age, we may have forgotten why we pray in the first place. We forgot to thank God for things that he has provided us with. I don’t recall the time when I thanked God for the house, car, family and great job that I have now (and to think about it, it is a good accomplishment compared to some who are still struggling out there).
So, running over the reasons why we pray, I clicked on the link on how we should pray. Gyan Rajhans came up with 7 simple ways to have effective and successful prayers. This opened my eyes to how I am going to pray the next time. He said this (in summary):-
1. When you pray just talk to God as a little boy would to a father or mother whom he loves and with whom he feels in harmony. Tell Him everything that is on your mind and in your heart (I have been doing that for a long time now – remember the movie Bruce Almighty? I often think God as humorous as Morgan Freeman was in the movie).
2. Talk to God in simple everyday speech. He understands every language. (This is a big relief because I been having some trouble remembering the mantras that I picked up from my buddy priest although my buddy did mentioned that God knows English)
3. Tell God what you want. You might as well be factual. You want something. Tell Him about it. Tell Him you would like to have it if He thinks it is good for you. But also say and mean it that you will leave it to Him to decide and you will accept His decision as best for you. (I guess this is where I often beg for expensive Christmas gifts)
4. Practice praying as many times during the day as possible. (Certainly it is not me here – I seem to have a fixed time for prayers but I guess I cam work on this whilst I am on the road – prayers is much healthier than cursing, I am sure)
5. It is not always necessary to say words when you pray. (Prayers is getting easy to now)
6. Don’t always pray for yourself. (I should include the prayers for my fellow Malaysians as well – they have suffered enough under BN’s rule)
7. Last but not the least whatever you do, do not make all prayers into the form of begging God for something. The prayer for thanksgiving is much more powerful. (Damn, you caught me there!)
Why and how we pray is a good inspiring read early in the morning – life seems so less complicated now.