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Posted: April 28th. 2011 11:39:25 AM
Some Thoughts on Prayer
by Stewart Bitkoff
Age Group: Adult
During this holy season, the following are some thoughts on prayer. Most often we confine our prayers only to a church, synagogue or mosque. Here are a few different ideas taken from my book, A Commuter’s Guide to Enlightenment, Llewellyn, 2008.
A Perfect Prayer
Ultimately, prayer is communication between a person and that which is most Highest. True prayer cannot be taught. Individual prayers can be. There should be no compulsion or fear in prayer. Prayer should be a spontaneous song, a joy, a celebration and a stirring that arises from deep within your hear.
Many commuters often find themselves praying, while traveling the roads, and asking for strength and guidance. As you travel, if it is your way, I would encourage you to pray and align your energy with that which is most Highest and the Light; for it is the Light which dissipates commuting darkness.
In my own spiritual training, I was taught that within various spiritual traditions there are ‘perfect’ prayers. That is, prayers that have everything in them necessary for the traveler to complete their journey. Within our tradition, the prayer of submission is one such vehicle. The following is my own personal version of this prayer, which I now share with you.
As the willow bends to the wind
And the leaf curls to the rain,
O Lord, I surrender myself to You.
Views on Prayer
“Then a priestess said, Speak to us of Prayer. And he answered, saying: You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in your fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.”
Life is the Prayer
For the Sufi, potentially, daily life and traveling down the highway is a prayer; every moment an opportunity to align personal action with the Higher Impulse. Through intention, temporarily surrendering individual need, the spiritual traveler makes their commute to work a prayer of joyfulness and service.
We were created to participate in the every day affairs; using our diverse range of skills to make the world better.
Let every action become a prayer. Let every moment bring you closer to your higher self and the higher destiny.
Traveler: “Holy One, speak to me of prayer.”
Master: “As the robin serenades the morning
And offers thanks for another day,
In this way, prayer is a song
That arises from the heart.
As the mother caresses the babe
And her heart swells with love,
In this way, prayer is sweeter
Than the rarest wine.
As the sun travels the heavens
And heralds the morning,
In this way, prayer is the work
That we must do.
Prayer takes endless forms
And many times we are confined
to the ritual of praying.
True prayer is performing
All the tasks of the day as God’s servant.
Remember, we pray to the Beloved
Because we need God.
The Most High
does not need our prayers.
“Be still and know that I am God . . .”
Question: Do Buddhists Pray?
“Buddhists don’t pray to a Creator God, but they do have devotional meditation practices which could be compared to praying. Radiating loving-kindness to all living beings is a practice which is believed to benefit those beings. The sharing of merit is a practice where one dedicates the goodness of one’s life to the benefit of all living beings as well as praying for a particular person.”
++ All about Buddhism++, web-page
A Traditional Story
There is a very old story about a teaching Master who was traveling with a group of his students. They were in the process of making a spiritual journey and their travels brought them to rest at an oasis. It was time for the mid-day prayer.
Making preparation for their obligation, as the disciples searched for a place to spread prayers rugs, several noticed that just up ahead a baker was busy placing dough into the oven for bread. He seemed to be ignoring the hour, and as he labored and sweated in the warm noon sun; he took several long deep breaths to regain his strength, wiped his brow and continued working.
This behavior puzzled and affronted several of the students; causing one to speak to the Master concerning the baker’s apparent disregard for the community obligation.
And this was the Master’s reply- which has come down to us across the years: “This man’s sighs are worth a thousand selfish prayers uttered out of vanity. Without rest this man labors, to feed the weary traveler and his actions constitute the higher service. He is one of the hidden friends and every breath is a joyful prayer and song to his Beloved.”
When faced with stop-and-go traffic
It is easy to forget the open road.
Yet, both exist and follow one another.
Author's Location: Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
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