THE MEANING AND POWER OF PRAYER
Why Pray |
for our Problems |
Appreciation, Praise, and Reverence | Prayers for Others |
How Prayer Works | Prayer from the Heart | What to Ask for |
Intent | Jesus' Example
Prayer From the Heart
One of the most important points to remember is that our prayers must come from the heart. This is what will give that current of energy the power to travel to the being that we are addressing. It means that our prayer should be in a language we understand, and in our own words, flowing naturally as a true expression of our sentiments. Kardec writes, "The spirits have always said, 'The form means nothing, the thought is everything. Say your prayers in a way that is in harmony with your convictions and in the way most inspiring to you, because a good thought is worth more than countless unfeeling and unfelt words.' " We should avoid the habit of repetition which requires no concentration and becomes an easy movement of the lips with beautiful words that flow from the brain to the mouth with no involvement of the heart.
One who prays sincerely, does so with no desire to gain attention or impress others. As Jesus said in his sermon on the mount, "When you pray, do not be like those hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then you Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. "
When Jesus told us to go to our room to pray, he was not referring to a fixed place for communion with heaven, for many people do not even have a room to lock themselves in. What he meant to say, is that we seek a place where we can be alone and look inside ourselves to establish a one-on-one dialogue with God. We can find examples of this in the passages about Jesus that refer to his solitary moments of prayer.
A sincere prayer need not be lengthy, for the number of words says nothing about the quality of the prayer. Nor must they include big fancy words, for we are not lawyers making a plea bargain. To this point, Jesus also told us not to use words in vain or talk on and on like those who believe that God likes to hear long prayers, for in truth, God knows what we need even before we ask.
A passage in the book, "Voice From the Mountain" (wrriten by Richard Simonetti) tells the story of an old African slave in Brazil, who, despite the abuses of his owner, revealed a deep serenity and unstoppable optimism. Every morning he awoke and headed out to the fields to begin his work. But before he began, he would always take off his hat and place it on his chest, look to the heavens and say, "My Lord, the old black man is here." And that was his prayer - a few simple words, without complaints of hardships or sorrows and without any demands. Intuitively, he was aware that his creator knew his needs even better than he, and so, like a child that does not want to start the day without asking for the blessing of his father, he looked to God, confident that God would take care of him. A similar attitude is what would guarantee us access to God's blessings, maintaining our balance and peace.