Prayers are answered! Only if you know how to pray effectively!
We all pray! It doesn’t matter whether we believe in the miraculous powers of prayers, we just pray, not necessarily by going to temple, mosque, church or other religious places. We pray whenever we want something good to happen to us, to our loved ones! But the question that arises in our minds is, is my prayer effective? Do I get what I want by way of praying? If no, then how could I pray effectively so that I get what I seek? Let’s explore, how to pray effectively! How to pray for a miracle!
But before moving ahead, I must say, these are my personal opinions and prayers are always a matter of individual preference. The way you have been praying till now might be the most effective way of praying! It all depends upon your belief! This is just my belief about praying effectively.
What do religions say about praying?
While I do not wholly attach prayers with religion, most of the people do. What I think is, praying comes naturally to all people, no matter whether they are religious or not. Whether they pray according to their religion’s preaching or not, but they pray.
All the religions have laid great importance to prayers. Let’s see what do the primary religions say about praying.
Bhagwad Gita on Praying effectively
Bhagwad Gita contains many shlokas (Hymns) that deal with praying effectively and how god answers your prayers
Chapter 4, Shloka 11 of Bhagvad Gita
Lord Krishna says to Arjuna:
ये यथा माम् प्रपध्द्यन्ते ताम्स्तथैव भजाम्यहम् ।
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः ।।
जिस भाव से सारे लोग मेरी शरण ग्रहण करते हैं, उसी के अनुरूप मैं उन्हे फल देता हूँ। हे पार्थ! प्रत्येक व्यक्ति सभी प्रकार से मेरे पथ का अनुगमन करता है।
In whatever manner people approach me, I reward them in the same manner. O Partha! All the people follow my path in every way.
So, it clearly indicates that one can pray to God in any manner and in any way, and his prayers would be answered accordingly.
Thus, in Hinduism, it can be concluded that to pray effectively, you need to search within yourself. Your thoughts, desires and attitude would decide what you choose to get from the Supreme God.
Bible on Praying effectively
There are many verses in the Holy Bible also that explain the meaning and the ways for effective prayer
Mark 11:24 ESV / 3
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
It looks all the more similar to what Gita says about prayer- pray with the belief that you will receive whatever you seek. Also, it has been emphasized that one should pray for others. The rewards will be bestowed on you also because others will pray for you.
Quran on Praying
The holy Quran too has many verses on the Salat (Prayer)
“You shall recite what is revealed to you of the Scripture, and observe the Salat (Contact Prayers), for the Salat prohibits evil and vice. But the remembrance of God is the most important objective. God is aware of all that you do.”
The major aim of praying in Islam is, therefore, invoking Allah. There are many other verses in Quran that reflect the importance of praying to stay connected with Allah which will lead to protection from Satan and reward in the after-world.
Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds and establish prayer and give zakah will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.
In a nutshell, the holy Quran asks devotees to just pray in order to remember Allah and to stay connected with Him. They don’t need to seek anything because Allah knows everything.
Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.
Buddhism on Prayers
Buddhists might not be praying to any god but they do pray. They pray for others, most of the times. You may find Buddhist followers chanting repeatedly “May all beings be well; May all beings be happy.” In doing so, they are also praying for themselves. After all, the one who prays is also included in all the beings for whom he prays!
Buddha himself had encouraged a practice based on meditation which is called Buddhānusati, or “Recollection of the Buddha.” In Buddhānusati, the Buddhist devotees reflect on the qualities of the Buddha. While doing so, they develop an affinity with those qualities. They, thus, pray to become enlightened.
The most popular mantra or hymn chanted by Buddhist followers is “Om Mani Padme Hum”
ॐ मणि पद्मे हूँ
It means, “in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha” This has been explained here Om Mani Padme Hum
It is believed that when this mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” is chanted loudly or silently to oneself, it invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.
Jainism on Praying effectively
The prayers in Jainism are based on the doctrine of karma, because they believe in this doctrine of Karma only and nothing else.
Acharya Uma Swami says in Tattvartha Sutra:
मोक्ष मार्गस्य नेतारं, भेत्तारं कर्मभूभृताम ।
ज्ञातारं विश्वतत्त्वानां, वंदे तद्गुणलब्धये ।।
We pray to those
who have led the path to salvation,
who have destroyed the mountains of karma, and
who know the reality of the universe.
We pray to them to acquire their attributes.
What does praying mean then?
From all the above religious examples of praying, I can conclude the following:
- Pray, because without asking, god will not be able to transform your desires into actions.
- Pray for all, because you are none other than ‘one among all’
- Pray to get knowledge, because knowledge is what makes your soul enlightened
- Pray to connect with god, because He is the Supreme being and your salvation depends on being united with the Supreme consciousness.
- Pray with belief, because without faith your prayer won’t be effective
How to Pray Effectively?
There are people for whom prayer comes effortlessly. For them, talking to God is as easy as breathing. When asked, how they do it, the reply comes that they just do it and it happens. However, it is not the case with most of us. Connecting to God seems to be a tough task for many. For such people, the following points may be of some help. All these suggestions may not apply to your particular situation but you may like to try incorporating a few of them in your daily life and start praying effectively.
- Come to terms to the fact that you need to talk to God in order to seek his blessings. Many of the verses from different religious books that we had known above, say, god ensures you receive what you ask for. So, whether you seek any material thing or blessings, you need to pray. Once you understand this basic need, you would find it easier to pray.
- Pray with the belief that whatever you are asking for, will happen. Faith is what is needed to pray for miracles.
- Remain humble when praying. Although its almost certain that what you pray for, would be granted, yet there is nothing to feel superior about this. Humility always pay.
- Pray wholeheartedly. Pray loud with words. Even if you pray silently, let the words play loud inside your mind. Pray with your body and with full concentration. Forget about everything, just remember that you are talking with your god and in that moment, no other person exists.
- Pray with your mind and your body! Close your eyes, join your hands (in whatever way you are comfortable to do so, or in ways your religion teaches you to do), let your body get relaxed and fully devoted to the God. If you are not habitual of praying with your body too, just do it once and feel the difference. You will be able to connect with God more effectively when you put your body, mind and soul- all in His service!
- Desperation is also needed for our prayers to be answered. Be desperate when you pray for something.
- Decide to pray at a specific place as this will keep you away from the distractions and you will be able to concentrate more. Your quiet time to connect with the Lord must be away from people, sounds and every other distraction, as far as possible.
- If possible, set a particular time aside for praying. It must become a part of your regular routine and soon, you will form a habit to pray, effectively.
- During this time, do not say anything. Practice to think about God and soon, you will be able to connect to Him. Try to talk to god as if he was a person sitting with you. Some religions, however, do not permit to think god as a form, they believe in abstractness of the Supreme being. Try to find out ways to concentrate on such supreme formless power. For example, you may think of Him as a light, a ray of hope!
- Once you can connect, start praying orally, using simple words. Communicate to him whatever is there in your mind. It is important. He knows and understands you at all times. But then also, you need to be vocal to make your prayers effective.
- Keep praying all through the day. That doesn’t mean you should forget about your worldly responsibilities and duties. But whenever you can get a few moments, pray. If possible, close your eyes to shut out from the world and concentrate on His presence. The more you follow this, the closer you will feel to God.
- Sometimes, asking seems to be a superficial thing to do! Instead of asking in those times, say thanks for everything that you have. A feeling of gratitude is a must because whatever we are and whatever we have and whatever we shall get will be out of God’s mercy.
- At the time of praying, do not let any negative thought pass your mind. Be positive that God is listening to your prayer and His blessings are always with you, at all times. He is there beside you, taking care of you.
- Pray with all your sincerity. You must have faith that your sincere prayers will reach out to God and He will surround your family and loved ones with all His protection and love.
- Pray for others. Not just for yourself and your loved ones! If, however, it seems to be a difficult task initially, enlist the people, organizations, etc. for whom you wish to pray. There can be many for whom you can pray- family, neighbours, friends, colleagues, fellow country men, government, or any other person, about whom you have learnt anything that might get resolved with your prayer. For example, when in hospital, pray for someone whom you see in a desperate attempt to get relief from all pains and bodily discomforts. Pray for someone who has suffered at the hands of someone else and about which you have learnt from newspaper, social media or from any other platform. It is not at all difficult to pray for others. When you do so, your prayers become effective day by day! This holds true especially when you pray for people who are not connected to you in any way.
- You must also pray for people who have mistreated you in the past or even those whom you do not like. The most important blockages in your spiritual life are resentment and guilt. Resolve to get rid of these blockages by praying effectively for all, without discrimination.
- Make it a practice to deliver your best while praying and leave the result in the hands of God. Give your best and do not worry about the fruit. Be confident that God knows what is best for you and accept it gracefully.
If you follow the above practices while praying daily, I believe, you will be able to pray effectively and reach out to God easily.
I pray for you with faith, may your prayers become effective now onward! May God listen to you whenever you pray!