“If we provide food for the body which is perishable, than surely, it is our primary duty to provide food for the soul which is imperishable and such sustenance is found in Prayer.” — M.K.Gandhi
Prayer is the very soul and essence of the religion, and, therefore, prayer must be the very core of the life of man, for no man can live without religion. There are some people in the world who, in the egotism of their reason, declare that they have nothing to do with religion. But it is like a man saying that he breaths, but that he has no nose.
Whether by reason, or by instinct, or by superstition, man acknowledges some sort of relationship with the Divine. Prayer is the very core of man’s life, as it is the most vital part of religion. But prayer is no mere exercise of words or of the ears, it is no mere repetition of empty formula. Any amount of repetition of Rama name is futile if it fails to stir the soul. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. It must be in clear response to the spirit which hungers for it. And even as a hungry man relishes a hearty meal, a hungry soul will relish a heartfelt prayer.
“He, who has experienced the magic of prayer, may do without food for days together, but not a single moment without prayer.” “There is no inward peace without prayer.”
There is an eternal struggle raging in man’s breast between the powers of darkness and of light, and he who has not the sheet-anchor of prayer to rely upon will be a victim to the powers of darkness. The man of prayer will be at peace with himself and with the whole world; the man who goes about the affairs of the world without a prayerful heart will be miserable and will make the world also miserable.
Begin, therefore, your day with prayer, and make it so soulful that it may remain with you until the evening. Close, the day with prayer so that you may have a peaceful night free from dreams and nightmares. Do not worry about the form of prayer. Let it be any form, it should be such as can put us into communication with the Divine. Only, whatever be the form, let not the spirit wander while the words of prayer run on out of your mouth.
“There is no peace without the grace of God, and there is no grace of God without prayer. That is why I ask you all to observe the habit of prayer. Prayer should proceed from the heart.”
“Payer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.”
All things in the universe, including the Sun, the Moon and the Stars, obey certain laws. Without the restraining influence of these laws, the world would not go on for a single moment. You will go to pieces if you do not impose on yourselves some sort of discipline, and prayer is a necessary spiritual discipline.
“Heartfelt prayer steadies one’s nerves, humbles one and clearly shows one the next step.”
There will be darkness, disappointment and even worse; but we must have courage enough to battle against all there and not succumb to cowardice. There is no such thing as retreat for a man of prayer.
Worshipping God is singing the praise of God. Prayer is confession of one’s unworthiness and weakness. God has a thousand names, some call Him Rama, some Krishna, others call Him Rahim and yet some call Him God. All worship the same spirit; but as all food do not agree with all, all names do not appeal to all. Worship of prayer is not being performed with the lips, but with the heart. And that is why it can be performed equally by the dumb and the stammerer. Rama was not only on the lips of Hanuman, He was enthroned in his heart.
We can never know if a prayer has or has not yielded the desired result. Prayer is never fruitless, but we cannot know what the fruit of it is.
When a man is down, he prays to God to lift him up. No, God needs no reminder. He is within everyone. Nothing happens without his permission. It is a reminder to ourselves that we are helpless without his support.
Prayer is even more essential for the well-being of the soul than food for the maintenance of the body.