Prayer, real prayer, the prayer that is centered on timeless principles - is the most effective 'self-help' tool of all time.
Prayer has created more prosperity, more health, more emotional fulfillment, deeper relationships and the fuller realization of our potential - than all other self-development practices combined!
The truth is, prayer has been and continues to be THE primary tool for change and positive transformation, for almost all of the greatest leaders and masters, across all civilizations, across all times.
But what of the prayers that go 'unanswered'?
Why Isn't Everyone Onto The Practice of Prayer
And Why Are So Many Pray-ers
Not Reaping the Good Fruits That Are Promised?
Well, do any of these myths sound familiar?
Prayer Is Optional in Realizing One’s Full Potential
There is a myth in our world, that the realization of a wholly fulfilling life is possible without the practice of prayer. That is, that one can have their ‘full’ potential realized on all dimensions, – personally, socially and spiritually - by simply working on the tasks that need to be done, getting the right education, finding the right emotional support… and so on.
This is the good old, 'secular myth' - that the pursuit of the worldly is good enough.
Yet while 'worldly pursuits' are all valuable and necessary steps to our happiness, without prayer, these strategies will always - always - fall short of the mark.
One key insight in developing an effective prayer life, is the understanding that prayer is never 'optional' and there are no 'substitutes'. Principled prayer is essential for our full development - for without it, our highest faculties like self-awareness, rational conscience and free will, remain undeveloped.
While it is possible to realize Greatness in one or two dimensions of life, at the expense of others - there are no examples of fully self-actualized people, without engaging in principle centered prayer. I challenge anyone to prove otherwise. Greatness follows prayer, like thunder follows lightening.
Like Jesus put it, 'we shall know the good practices, from the fruits produced'. The good trees will produce good fruits, as the bad trees produce bad fruits. The reality is that the better and more effectively a person prays, the more he or she usually accomplishes with their life.
The quality and quantity of prayer one engages in is a direct indicator of what one can realize - given their circumstances and gifts. As the chaplain of the US Senate, Richard Halverson, put it, 'You can organize until you are exhausted. You can plan, program and subsidize all your plans. But if you fail to pray, it is a waste of time. Prayer is not optional. It is mandatory. Not to pray is to disobey God'.
So there's no need to reinvent the wheel. Truly, prayer is the universal habit of all truly Great men and women in all of our history, in all times and places. If we seek to realize Great things - we simply need to emulate the practices of the Greats.
It's prayer that bring about FULL-fillment or our total happiness.
The Results of Prayer are Inconsistent and Therefore Not Dependable
Another myth that some believe, is that prayer is unpredictable and therefore the results are ‘circumstantial’. But prayer is in many ways like a science. It obeys laws or principles. Its results are as consistent as any scientific law. The inconsistencies of unanswered prayers come not from the application of prayer, but its misapplication.
In electrical devices, first one must understand the science of what makes electrical circuits work or not work. You cannot blindly link components together and expect the device to work. An electrical device is an intelligent system based on principles. It takes rational knowledge and education to make it work effectively.
One single cross circuit can render the whole device ineffective. Unless the electrical energy flows freely through the circuitry as originally designed, the device can fail completely.
At that point we don't say that electricity is the problem or that electricity is not dependable. We have too much evidence otherwise. So we conclude the device itself is faulty, something 'short circuits' the system... and so on.
Prayer is the same. It is perhaps the most intelligent system there is. Prayer is a system that can literally create miracles - that can defy the laws of nature themselves.
It takes much knowledge and education of its principles to make it work effectively too. Albert Einstein at Princeton University in 1952 was asked by a doctoral student - in what area of research could one make a valuable and original difference - and he answered, "find out about prayer'... For even the greatest minds seek to understand more of its principles.
True prayer is effective - i.e. it produces effects. We have objective evidence for this everywhere and at all times in history. The question is not 'if', but 'how'.
When it doesn't work, it's our application that is problematic - not the system, as it is originally designed to work. There are short circuits in the ‘prayer device’ that can make the whole mechanism fail just as completely.
Recently the documentary movie “The Secret” has been making headlines for revealing the 'Law of Attraction' for example - i.e. we attract into our lives that which our mind focuses upon. In part, prayer works because it is the most direct practice for applying the 'Law of Attraction' into one's life.
But this is only part of the equation. The 'Law of Attraction' is but one component/ one aspect of prayer. If this law is not applied in its proper context - taking into account 'The Whole' - as God set this up, it will never work.
There are other major laws that are even more influential. They will over-ride any attempts to just ‘ask, believe, receive’, as we touch upon in the Greatest Habit courseware.
Prayer Applies Only on 'Spiritual Matters'
This myth separates the spiritual dimension as being but 'another aspect' of our self. From this position, one would assume that if one is not interested in 'spiritual matters' - prayer is not really necessary.
But one can only make this assertion, when one is self-UNaware of the absolutely fundamental role our Spirit plays in our lives.
According to a research project that individually asked 75 members of Stanford Graduate School of Business's Advisory Council, about their thoughts on powerful leadership and what is the most recommended capability for leaders to develop, their answer was unanimous: self-awareness.
Those who made a lifelong study into the nature of Great people, are in common agreement on this: Greatness is always built upon FULL self-awareness.
For how can one be Great without knowing Who they are? Ignorance is not bliss. It is the very cause of suffering as Buddha put it.
Enlightenment for example always begins with the fundamental self-awareness that mind is over body - thatas we think, so shall we be, do and have.
On a personal level, in this awareness of 'self as a mind' we become empowered to make free choices. We come to know that we are indeed the masters, molders and makers of our destiny - because we have the freedom to choose what to think. We can bring order to the physical, through the mental. Thus, if we wisely choose our thoughts, we can freely determine our emotions, our actions and thereby the results one create.
On a collective/ cultural level, when we mentally understand the truths and principles of our physical world, we can use these mental constructs to then control and manage our world. This is the secret principle behind all sciences for example.
These are just a couple of examples of how the principle of 'mind over matter' plays out in our lives, and the higher potentials it enables. For this simple truth certainly takes a high level of self-awareness to realize and to put into practice. At the lowest level of self-awareness one just thinks about the physical and pursues merely changes in the physical. This is in many ways what all animals pursue.
It is this higher self-awareness of 'mind over matter' that enables the human being to shape his world according to his desires. A self-aware human being uses her mind to adapt the world according to her needs.
But the even higher self-awareness is that just as mind is over matter - spirit is over mind - and this allows a whole new realm of even higher possibilities.
Ultimately, wisdom cannot be found at the level of mind only. The ego can be clever, but it does not know Wisdom. It is our Spirit that illuminates the mind with great thoughts. It is our Spirit that knows the ways of blessedness, of peace, of essential happiness - i.e. of all that we authentically desire and need.
This is the highest level of awareness...
'The Kingdom of Heaven Within'.
We can observe this principle at play when we pay attention to our mind and what it does. Our mind operates on the basis of constantly asking ourselves various questions and giving ourselves answers.
The reason it does this is because the mind doesn't know what is real.
The question of what is real, and beautiful and true is the quintessential question of our mental world, as philosophers throughout time have constantly reminded us. And the great dilemma of our mental world, is that the mind cannot tell the difference between the inauthentic from the real, perception from essence, appearance from substance.
It the role of the spirit then to recognize the real, the beautiful and true. And it is by prayer that we best achieve this.
Principled prayer provides the link.Prayer gives us access to the highest level of 'authority' within - much like the Supreme Court is the highest legal judgment institution for a country. It's the Spirit that passes down all great insights of thought, and therefore the structures of powerful beliefs, and in turn of effective actions, and ultimately, of the kind of good fruits we reap in the physical.
The spiritual is principal. It is the height of folly to put first, secondary things. Prayer is of utmost 'strategic' importance. It's not merely 'another perspective'.
Prayer is the key leverage point upon which everything can change for the better. When the spirit rules the mind, and the mind rules the body, we have true greatness.
It is why Mahatma Gandhi said that, "prayer is the only means of bringing about orderliness and peace and repose in our daily acts. Take care of the vital thing and other things will take care of themselves. Rectify one angle of a square, and the other angles will be automatically right."
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;– PLATO
the real tragedy of life is when grownups are afraid of the light."