May 4, 2008

Real prayers and problematic prayers

We pray to the Creator. The Creator is the Creator and there is only one Creator. There is only one God.

Even though God has received different names, there is only one God the Creator.

Created beings are not God the Creator.

When we pray, we need to pray to the real God. As obvious this seems, this is for many people the most difficult to do.

I will mention a few possibilities, of people who pray or think to pray but their prayers are superficial or altogether wrong.

It is possible and often occurring that when you pray you direct yourself to what I would call a reflection or an image of God. The problem is that you don’t really believe that God exists. Your belief in God is like a scientific hypothesis, an assumption really. You may have taken God’s existence for granted because your parents taught you this. Or you may have found God but your faith never deepened enough. In such a case you pray to God but you cannot get deeper answers to your prayer because your faith in God is weak and shallow.

The only solution to this is to make yourself aware of your lack of faith in God. God can answer your prayer when you believe in God and when you live in such a way that your faith grows.

Some people pray to themselves. They have split their own mind in two parts, a part that prays and a part that receives the prayer. It usually is a difficulty of those who think too much and who do not wish to submit themselves to a higher God. It is a problem of arrogance, of putting yourself above God and making yourself to a kind of god. For some people this disease of the mind has progressed so far that they really believe that the ‘god’ in their own mind is real. They answer their own prayers. Some of such people eventually get crazy. They may come to suffer of severe megalomania and revel in being praised and honoured by others.

Quite many people pray to spirits. Spirits are not the Creator. All spirits are created beings. We can talk to spirits and there needs to be nothing wrong with that, but don’t call such conversations prayer, because they are not. People can get revelations and inspirations from the spiritual world. These revelations can be helpful or misleading, but in any case they don’t come directly from God. There is someone in-between God and you. When you receive such revelations or inspirations, it is at best comparable to what you hear from a respected teacher. In the worst case people may have come under the influence of certain deceptive spirits, some of them who pose as if they were gods.

Ceremonial and ritualistic prayers often tend to become superficial. Though this type of prayers can have a function, in many cases the practitioners get used to praying only like this. Their prayers are mere formulas, which they learned by heart and repeat again and again. Sometimes such a prayer still has value as a form of meditation, but you cannot expect that only by praying like this you could reach God.

When prayers are written down they can serve to teach you how to pray, but they can also lure you into a too easy prayer life.

When you pray to God, your attitude is most important. You cannot tell God what to do. Sometimes people pray like this and tell God to do this and do that. How many times did I not hear someone praying to support a certain leader in the world. How can you be sure that God wants to support such a person? Maybe that person got power in a wrong way and it would be better that he lost it.

Another doubtful way of prayer is when you just keep asking God to give you what you want. Some of what you wish may be good for you, but it could also be that you pray for what God would not desire for you. When you pray such kind of prayers you cannot expect much from it. We cannot expect God to listen to or approve self-centred prayers.

Prayer is difficult to learn and hard to practice. God is present in the entire cosmos, but we need to learn to recognize God and not confuse the many beings posing as gods or people falsely claiming that God is in them with the real God.

God can come to you in prayer when you have found access to the deepest core of goodness in yourself, when you address yourself to God from your desire to be good and do good.

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