Why do we need to pray?

The Sunday Guardian - - & Comment Analysis - By Prarthna Saran

Do we pray ‘let thy will be done ‘ or do we pray ‘ let my will be done?’ Is prayer an ad­min­is­tra­tive ad­vice to Him, or our shop­ping list? Is it beg­gary or an in­sur­ance pre­mium? Most peo­ple pray me­chan­i­cally and faith­lessly as a re­sult of grandma’s kid train­ing. It is a sheer mean­ing­less habit. Grandma asks, “Do you say your prayers ev­ery night?” Grand­son: “Oh! yes”, “and ev­ery morn­ing?” “Oh! No. I’m not scared at day time!” These are prayers out of fear that the Lord will pro­tect me from harm ‘if’ I pray. It’s an in­sur­ance pre­mium you pay daily!

Some pray for com­mu­nal ac­cep­tance, a herd in­stinct for se­cu­rity and ac­cept­abil­ity in their com­mu­nity. Mass prayer gath­er­ings are usu­ally so, they pray duty bound to com­mu­nal norms, also, ‘to see’ and ‘ to be seen’.

Some pray with a shop­ping list. ‘ Oh Lord! My busi­ness!’ ‘ Oh Lord! My daugh­ter ‘s mar­riage’, the list is end­less with many new things pop­ping up.Prayers gen­er­ally are ex­pres­sions of de­spair at man’s sense of want and in­com­plete­ness, of in­se­cu­rity or fear. How sel­dom does man fo­cus on what he has!

Why don’t we thank­fully ex­pand our hearts in true grat­i­tude and love for Him who gave us this per­fect body, air, food and wa­ter, bare es­sen­tials for sur­vival? A cheer­ful ac­cep­tance of the Lord’s great gifts as the best for me, would be the wis­est at­ti­tude to cul­ti­vate.

The Lord needs not our grat­i­tude and prayers, these only help our minds to ex­pand into ego­less love and joy, en­rich­ing our trou­bled minds with peace,con­tent­ment and bliss. Prayers help us to un­bur­den our souls of worry and want, bring­ing thank­ful­ness for all our bless­ings. “We thank the one who gave us the wrist­watch , but for­get the one who gave us the wrist!” Prarthna Saran, Pres­i­dent Chin­maya Mis­sion New Delhi, can be con­tacted at prarth­nasaran@gmail.com

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