“I have lived to thank God that not all my prayers have been answered.”
– Jean Ingelow (English poet and novelist of the nineteenth century)
Prayers could be the most exciting aspect of our lives, yet it often reduces to an empty ritual or drudgery. What ails our prayer and how could we bring our prayer session back to life?
Moving from Me to God
If our prayers are about ourselves then it’s likely it would get boring. Although we turn to God, it’s all about my worries, needs, and desires. Essentially it’s about me, and not of God. I still live in my mental universe. For a change let’s get out of our heads and turn to God for a connection; let’s seek a heart-felt linking to God, and not mere realization of our desires. Then we’d likely find prayers more fulfilling.
Gratitude – a connection tool
If we find this abstract, let’s get to do something concrete. Let’s thank God, Krishna, for all the wonderful gifts He has bestowed upon us.
To begin with, this body is a great blessing. If someone were to ask you to cut off your hand and in return he’d give you 5 lakh rupees, would you do it? What if I ask for both of your legs in exchange of a million rupees? Just think about your eyes, ears, kidneys, liver, and head and how much it’s worth? You would spend a fortune to repair your damaged body; can’t we express gratitude for this amazing gift of a body God has so kindly given us? If we can’t thank Him now, how would we ever express gratitude when it’s time to relinquish this body?
We could even thank God for water, sun and air. Imagine a billionaire stranded in a desert with no water. What would his money do to quench his thirst? Could he churn his hundred dollar bills on a juicer and drink the beverage? What about the electricity bill we owe to sun for giving us 174 quadrillion watts of energy at any given moment? Sun releases enough energy every moment to power 2,880 trillion light bulbs! Continuously the sun gives us 35,000 times more energy than what is required by us on this planet!
If you are thirsty, and someone gives you a cup of water, you’d instantly say ‘Thank You’. But why does our gentlemanly behaviour end with that? Why can’t we thank God for the abundant rain supply he showers on earth each year?
What about the intelligence we have without which we could be roaming like mad men on the streets? And the ability to digest the food we eat?
The more we express gratitude, the more our prayers nourish us. Otherwise if we only ask God for things, we could land up being more focussed on our needs than God. But if we thank Him, it’s likely we’d connect to Him more than our own material wants.
Let’s now make our prayers more meaningful by seeking a better connection.