The Real Prayer
An Explanation by Maharaj Charan Singh
Prayer is real love and devotion within us – the desire to go and merge back into the Father. That is prayer – yearning of the heart to go back to its own source, yearning of the soul to merge back into its own source. For that we don’t need any mechanical words. No words are required. It is a prayer of the heart to the source. That is your prayer. What we think of as prayer is asking the Lord to fulfil our worldly desires. But that is not prayer. That is creating desires and asking the Lord to fulfil those desires, and then we have to come back to fulfil those desires.
I am not against prayer. Prayer gives you strength to face a situation, to go through that situation. It may not be able to change your destiny, but definitely you get strength to face that destiny. But real prayer is whatever time we give in his love, in his devotion, in his meditation. That’s our prayer. We are knocking at his door so that it may be opened – that is, praying day and night to go back to him.
But we generally take prayer as asking the Lord to give us this and give us that. And if he does not, we become frustrated that our prayer has not been heard. You see, if a child is ill and he asks his mother to give him sweets, which are not good for his illness, the mother will not give that child something that will irritate his fever. Not because the mother doesn’t love the child, but because she loves him so much that she cannot stand to see him suffer more. So she will give only a little so that the fever may leave him.
The mind creates desires, and then we want the Lord to fulfil them. We are the slave of the mind. We are not trying to explain to our mind to remain in the will of the Lord; we are trying to explain to the Lord to remain in the will of the mind.
We are not devotees of the Lord; we are becoming devotees of the mind. And then if he doesn’t come up to our expectations, we become frustrated with him. It is good to pray for worldly things if we know just what is best for us, but actually we don’t know what is best for us. Sometimes we pray to him for four, five years to get something out of him, and then we may have to pray another twenty years to get rid of those things. Because we don’t know what is best for us.
So the real prayer is submission to him. He knows what is best for us. That is what Christ has tried to explain in the chapter on prayer in Saint Matthew. He says: When he looks after even the fowl, even the birds who don’t work, he gives them what they need – you think he is unmindful of your desires, your demands? He will give you what you require only if you have faith, if you can submit to him.
I’ll give you a little example. If the maid in our house does her duty dutifully, lovingly, smilingly, we always want excuses to give her more and more. We are so happy with her devotion, her work and duty. If on the other hand, she doesn’t work at all and she is always grumbling for more pay, we always find excuses to get rid of her.
Our real prayer is to do our duty, dutifully, lovingly to the Lord, whatever he expects us to do. That is our daily prayer. The teaching in which we live, the time which we give to meditation, the life we are trying to live – that is all prayer. And this prayer will lead us – not the prayer by the mind of creating desires and asking him to fulfil them day and night, then feeling frustrated if he doesn’t do it and then forgetting about him. That is no prayer at all. The real prayer is submission to his will, facing our destiny cheerfully, and that we can only do if we live in meditation.
Meditation is nothing but a prayer. Meditation is nothing but knocking at the door of the Giver. Meditation is begging the Father for his grace, for his forgiveness for what stands between us and the Father.
You see, meditation alone can never clear all our karmic accounts. The attitude of the mind which we develop by meditation, that helps us a lot. That fills us with devotion and with love and makes us feel the separation from the Father, and we become restless without him. Our whole attitude towards the world is then changed. If you think that by mere meditation we can ever account for all the karmas we have been committing in previous lives, it is impossible. Nobody can do it. What to say of doing it in four lives, even in twenty lives we could not do it – that’s how much dross we have collected. But when the Father sees our attitude, when he sees the devotion and love within us – which we can only develop by meditation, by living the Sant Mat way of life – that invokes his grace to forgive all that stands between us and the Father.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II
The real prayer is to take us back to him, that he should merge us back into him. That is real prayer.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol.II