By Sangeeta Mittal
What is a Prayer?” The answer to this often asked question is simple; prayer is talking to God. It is asking for help. And yet, it is neither bargaining nor begging. What could you possibly offer Him that He doesn't own already? Do you think God wants a kilogram of sweets? I don't think so. All that interests Him is your love. When you pray, do you merely recite the memorised lines or do you really mean them? Do you feel the emotions in your prayer? Think about it. I am not saying that aarti or chaalisaa or namaaz are not part of a prayer but they are not prayers in themselves. A prayer is useless unless recited with feelings. There is no point in reciting verses or reading namaaz if all you are thinking during the course of your prayer is: “I have to finish this project,” “How will I manage to get a decent job?” “I have to attend that function!”
You need to have that feeling inside you. Every word you utter should come from your heart and not merely from your vocal chord. But even these directives fall short when it comes to a sincere prayer. Every time you pray, you should thank God for all that He has blessed you with _ your family, your friends, your job. Even when you lose it all, thank Him for being alive! Since you are alive, you still have the chance to regain all that you have lost. Hence, basically prayer is a heartfelt thanks to Him. Not that He needs your thanks; it is just that you owe Him a lot which you can never repay but the least you can do is to be grateful to Him!
Another thing to understand is that prayer is a tool to cultivate humility. I found that most of the Sanskrit verses used in Hindu Scriptures, especially prayers, contain two words _ AUM or OM and Namah! Ever wondered what they mean? It comes from the root word OM which means ‘to bow’ and Namah means ‘humble’. It is a mark of respect. We only bow to powerful people, so every time you pray, say, “I bow to thee,” which means irrespective of your position and power, you know that there is a Supreme Power, the Master of all masters and you respect Him.
Hence, Prayer = Talking + Feelings + Thanking + Being Humble + some things that I'll come to know in future as I grow!
Power of prayer
In some of my darkest, most painful and frightening hours, I have prayed;
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