Prayer – some reminders

PRAYER

More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world would dream of, Wherefore, let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friend?

 

Alfred Tennyson

 Prayer is not only worship; it is also an invisible emanation of man’s worshiping spirit — the most powerful form of energy that one can generate. The influence of prayer on the human mind and body is as demonstrable as that of secreting glands. Its results can be measured in terms of increased physical buoyancy, greater intellectual vigor, moral stamina, and a deeper understanding of the realities underlying human relationships.

If you make a habit of sincere prayer, your life will be very noticeably and profoundly altered. Prayer stamps with its indelible mark our actions and demeanor. A tranquility of bearing, a facial and bodily repose, are observed in those whose inner lives are thus enriched. Within the depths of consciousness a flame kindles. And man sees himself. He sees his selfishness, his silly pride, his fears, his greeds, his blunders. He develops a sense of moral obligation, intellectual humility. Thus begins a journey of the soul toward the realm of grace.

Prayer is a force as real as terrestrial gravity. As a physician, I have seen men, after all other therapy has failed, lifted out of disease and melancholy by the serene effort of prayer. It is the only power in the world that seems to overcome the so-called “laws of nature”; the occasions on which prayer has dramatically done this have been termed as “miracles.” But a constant, quieter miracle takes place hourly in the hearts of men and women who have discovered that prayer supplies them with a steady flow of sustaining power in their daily lives.

Too many people regard prayer as a formalized routine of words, a refuge for weaklings, or a childish petition for material things. We sadly undervalue prayer when we conceive it in these terms, just as we should underestimate rain by describing it as something that fills the birdbath in our garden. Properly understood, prayer is a mature activity indispensable to the fullest development of personality – the ultimate integration of man’s highest faculties. Only in prayer do we achieve that complete and harmonious assembly of body, mind, and spirit which gives the frail human reed its unshakable strength.

—-  Alexis Carrel

 

F L Rawson, noted engineer and one of England’s greatest scientists, who is the author of Life Understood, narrates an account of a British regiment under the command of Colonel Whittlesey that served in World War II for more than five years without losing a man. This unparalleled record was made possible by means of the active cooperation of the officers and men, all of whom memorized and repeated regularly the words of the 91st Psalm, which has been called the “Psalm of Protection.”

Joseph Murphy

In Christian spirituality, there are two definitions of prayer which have come down from very ancient times. One is that of Clement of Alexandria: ”Prayer is a conversation with God.” The other is that of John Damascene and Evagrius of Pontus: “Prayer is the raising of the soul to God.”…

It represents the first attempt of ordinary human soul to approach God… It is the first effort of the soul to express its spiritual dimension, for that is the only way an infant soul can orientate itself to the supreme Reality.

Swami Bhajanananda

 

Nytanaya, Spetember 5, 2017

 

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