Prayer for Strength and Wisdom
By Swami Rama
Many students who meditate think that prayer is not needed, because they don’t understand what prayer is. Why do you want to pray?
From morning until evening you pray, “Lord, give me this, Lord, give me that.” What are you actually doing? You are feeding your ego, which is a bad habit. This is called egocentric prayer. Human beings, tossed by desires and wants, have become victims of egocentric prayer, which really makes them beggars. It is still prayer, and so it is better than not doing anything at all.
Pray in your own language to the Lord of Life, who is seated in the inner chamber of your being. He knows you better than anyone else. He guides you, protects you, and helps you.
Pray to the Lord of Life in your heart to give you strength and wisdom, so that you can understand life from all perspectives.
It is essential twice a day, morning and evening, to pray. Prayer is a petition for extra energy for our success. To whom to pray? God is the source of all energies, the center, the powerhouse of light, life, and love. Through prayer we can reach to that powerhouse and draw the energy for expanding the field of our mind and the horizon of our consciousness.
You are praying to someone who is not body, breath, and mind, but who is seated beyond and behind this mortal frame, whose nucleus is within you and whose expansion is the universe. There is only one absolute Reality that exists, and the same exists within you.
You want to reach and touch some higher force whom you call God. You make your mind one-pointed with a desire that motivates you to pray; absorbed in your desire for prayer, the mind becomes calm. When the mind is calm, the Great Majesty reveals itself to the mind, and the purpose of prayer is accomplished.
There are many steps of prayer, and the first is to say a few mantras and then to mentally remember those mantras; then wait for the answer to be received. Every prayer is answered.
When you learn to meditate, making the body steady and still, the breath serene, and the mind free from turmoil, this will lead you to a state of inner experience. You come in touch with something higher and receive the knowledge that is not from the mind, but from beyond—from deep within.
You should learn to meditate with the feeling that the body is a shrine and the inner dweller, the Lord of Life, is God. Mind is a sadhaka and learns to surrender its manners, moods, and weapons by saying, “I have no capacity. My abilities are limited. Help me Lord, give me power, so that I can solve all the problems boldly and without getting flattened like a ball of clay, or crumbled as a house of cards is crumbled by the touch of a finger.”
In this way the mind forms a habit of depending on the Lord of Life, instead of leaning on the ‘mere I.’ The ‘mere I’ is the ego, and the ‘real I’ is God within. This inward process is meditation cum prayer. All other prayers are futile, enveloped by wants and desires, fully colored by selfishness, and are just for the sake of pleasing the ego.
Never pray for anything selfish. Pray to the Lord so that your mind receives energy and the Lord motivates you to do what is right for you and for others. That which cannot be accomplished through any other means can be accomplished through prayer. There is a beautiful verse in the Bible, “Knock and it shall be opened unto you.” It is not written how many times one has to knock!
Prayer and repentance are the greatest purifiers that purify the way of life and lead us to Self-realization. Prayer without repentance does not help much.
Prayers are always answered, therefore, pray with all your mind and heart.
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of Swami Rama of the Himalayas