Our knowledge about the subject of God is almost nil and whatever little does exist is incorrect. Henceforth, we are unable to save our children from myths and hypocrisy. However, it has been noted that every individual does believe in God in some way or the other. So, wouldn’t it be better to have the correct knowledge about Him so that our kids can also benefit from it?
What does it mean to attain God? It is actually nothing but the inculcation of the divine qualities of God inside our own selves. The more developed these qualities are, the nearer we are to the Lord.
Before understanding the strength of prayer, it is important to know the characteristics of the One to whom the prayer is being made. We should be aware of His true nature. If we do not understand his actual identity, we will not be able to express ourselves correctly in front of Him. Our Lord knows us well and wants to hear us out, but before pleading we should also get to know Him well.
‘God is a substance, a material.’ Defining a substance, we commonly refer to anything that has a shape and occupies space. But here, a substance does not imply this, but something that possesses energy, strength and bliss. God is omnipresent. In a glass of water, if we put a swab of cotton, we will observe that water gets absorbed into the cotton swab and at the same time is also present all around it. In the same way, the entire world is immersed in the Lord. All around us, God is present and in fact, He is watching and listening to us every moment. That is why He is able to listen to our prayers, wherever we make them from. Along with this, we should also bear in mind the qualities that He possesses. He is changeless and immortal, pure and omnipresent.
We also need to know that there are certain types of prayers that God pays heed to and others that have no place with Him. If we pray, “O Lord! May so-and-so be devastated”, He would pay no attention to it. That devastation will occur only when the actions of so-and-so will require such a result. But yes, by wishing somebody ill-will, we are definitely contaminating our own minds and thoughts. A prayer like, “O God! I am sick and there’s no one around. Can you please cook food for me?” is also useless. Of course! God’s task is the production of crops – and that too when we till the fertile land and sow the right seeds in the conducive season. But beyond that, the preparation of food is a human task. God cannot come over to cook. ‘God! If you could only build a house for me, I would be so grateful.’ Meaningless again! God has created the elements like water, air, space and Earth. Now utilizing these for the construction of a house is not His job. It is man’s work.
So, we have to be clear about what to ask for and when. Will God listen to our prayers and forgive all our sins? No, because if He does so, He would be deemed unjust, which He is not. Now the point is that if He does not forgive our sins, why pray at all? Remember, the purpose of praying to the Lord is to attain the strength which would help us to bear the results of our wrong-doings and to acquire the intellect that would prevent us from committing any sins in future.
Some people tell the following tale: A woman was traveling in a bus. It was getting dark. The bus suddenly stopped due to a technical problem. All passengers had to get off. An ill-behaved, uncouth person traveling with his peer group, tried to misbehave with the woman. Nobody else in the bus had the courage to counter him. All of a sudden, a snake emerged from the bushes and just when the man got close to the woman, the snake bit him hard. The reptile was very poisonous and the man died on the spot.
Here, the story-teller wishes to imply that God Himself appeared to protect the helpless woman. But, I wish to ask that is our Lord so weak and helpless that He had to enact such a dramatical scene of taking the serpent’s role and had to hide and crawl to reach the site in order to grant His protection? If He had desired to protect, He would have granted the man moral intellect and the latter wouldn’t have had any thought of misconduct in his mind. Or maybe, He would have caused the woman to think in the first place not to go out alone at that time the day. Or if He really did desire the man to die, He could have terminated his heart-beat.
Remember, man is independent to work as he wants. God does not interfere in anything that man does. We should pray to the Lord to grant us wisdom and to help occupy our minds in good tasks. Understanding His qualities, we should pray for the same qualities in ourselves. ‘O Lord! You are Absolute Bliss; give me a taste of bliss too. You are the epitome of knowledge; bless me with knowledge too. You are the treasure of joy; grant me happiness too.’
Along with these prayers, we have to make our own efforts as well. We address Him as Absolute Bliss, but always stay glum ourselves; we call Him kind, but make no attempt to be kind ourselves; we call Him the Universal Crusader, but when it is our turn, we do not help the needy. When there remains such a huge difference between what we say and what we actually do, how can we expect our prayer to be deemed as true? If we pray and wish for something, we also need to make efforts in that direction. Only after total effort on our part, do we become eligible to even pray.
God listens to the prayers of those who themselves try hard to achieve their wish and pray with all their heart when they are unsuccessful. When we take one step towards God, He moves eight steps towards us. At some point of time, we should also pray to Him for Him! ‘I want nothing else but You, my Lord! Grant me the flavour of your brilliant nature that destroys all discomfort and is a source of immense joy and pleasure.’
There is tremendous strength in prayer. All that is required is true faith. Some people say that God does everything and unless He desires, a single leaf cannot flutter. Those who say so are those who wish to blame God for all of their own wrong-doings. Well, if God is the one who does everything and if even a leaf can’t flutter without His will, then what is the fault of a thief who steals? Neither is a terrorist wrong, nor is a rapist at fault, for it is all His desire, isn’t it? In such a case, there would be no need for Police or any punishment; courtrooms and prisons would all be unnecessary, because after all, if God is the one who is getting everything done, why is anyone else to blame?
So, I repeat that we are independent to do our tasks but dependant on those same tasks for the results. Without any question, we will have to bear the good and bad outcomes of our good and bad deeds. Just like a calf is able to spot out its mother from among a thousand cows, likewise the results of our actions find us out and stay with us until we bear them.
Our prayers are answered when we cry out with a true heart saying – You are my morality, my honesty; in you I find solace, you are the beginning and end of everything, the dawn and dusk of life; I implore you to come to me, I cannot bear separation from you any more.
We are always heard out when we pray to the Lord with the words – O God! It has been so long since I set out on my spiritual journey. Oh my divine inspiration, lend me your ear! May be it was my materialistic extroversion that kept you from me, that was the reason for my defeat. My adorable! If you would be my support, I would emerge victorious over my senses and my disorientation. Do me this favour, oh Lord, and I will be yours forever. Grant me a taste of your benevolence, who else is there but you? Take away my weakness and my suffering for I have no one else but you.
A prayer made with such an emotion, such meekness and humility is always accepted by the Lord. At the same time, the effect of your prayer permeates through your whole life and blesses your children leading them towards the path of success.
To remember and to do:
Do not seek comfort in money. Take comfort in prayer. This communes us with our God. All the rest of our comforts will be taken away from us but the solace we will obtain in our Lord through true prayer will stay with us eternally.
There’s no flaw in His listening, though there might be shortcomings in our speaking, in our reaching out to Him.
The lack of your faith is what becomes a barrier to your prayer. Just try and call out to Him with firm faith and then see the result!
Prayers destroy all ego and pride and inculcate a sense of warmth and humility.
The tears of prayer wipe away the sins and dirt from your heart and render you eligible to deserve the comfort of sitting in the Father’s lap.