What is a Prayer? How do we empower ourselves through prayers?

Since childhood days, one has been humming, singing and listening to numerous prayers. Consequently, we have developed some faith in prayers. Today, let us strengthen this faith even more, by gaining good understanding of, ‘what is the meaning of prayer? What are the benefits of prayer? How should we pray to God? To whom should we pray? What should we pray?’

This understanding will go a long way in helping us lead a good life and will also enhance our progress in our spiritual journey. Prayers, when performed with right understanding, have a tremendous impact on our well-being and spiritual progress.

So first and foremost, let’s understand what is the meaning of a prayer…

Prayer is a conversation with God!


It could be a conversation with the God within, or with the idols and pictures of Lords that we worship, or it could be with the divine beings we repose our faith in.

It is a wireless communication! Hence, prayers can be done anytime and anywhere!

Generally, our elders and Gurus recommend that prayers should be done early in the morning. The idea being, by doing our prayers first thing in the morning, we are giving it its deserved priority, before immersing ourselves in the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day life. However, in case we cannot manage doing it in the morning, there will be no harm even if one does it any time later during the day.

Prayer is an act of seeking from God

Param Pujya Dadashri says, ‘Prarthana’ (prayer) means to seek from God something extra, to aspire for that which is beyond!

Whenever we want something but are unable to get it or we are in need of help and guidance from someone but cannot procure it, we pray to God with immense faith, love and care in our heart. And our prayer gets answered!

We surely receive what we pray for, when our prayer is true.

At a vibrational level, prayers activate the energies of the divine beings that we seek assistance from. There are armies of divine celestial deities (Dev-Devis) who are eager to help anyone who is truly seeking their assistance. They have tremendous merit karma lying to their credit by virtue of their desire to help people find the right path. And since they are now in the celestial planes of existence, they have special powers to help the individuals seeking guidance and spiritual understanding to progress on the path of peace and permanent bliss. But we have to ask them for it! When we are lost, don’t we stop and ask someone the correct path to our destination?! Similar is the case with praying.

Prayer is a special request to God

Prayer to God

Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan says, prayer means to ask God for a greater meaning! Prayer means asking for strength that we lack in order to reach our goal.

For instance,
If our goal is to give happiness to others, every morning, we may heartily recite this prayer five times: "Oh God! May no living being in this world be caused slightest hurt through my mind, speech or body." And suppose someone misbehaves with us, we shall pray to Lord to grace that person. Instead of trying to change the person, it is better to have good intentions for them.

Prayers play an anchor role during one’s bad times

Sometimes, one resorts to prayers in an attempt to change one’s fate. For example, if we are suffering from illness or have had a misfortune, we pray to the Lord to cleanse our karmas.

So, do prayers help cleanse our bad karmas? Let’s understand…

There are different types of unfolding karmas. One type of karmas can be cleansed through prayers, the second type can be cleared away through real spiritual effort (purusharth), and the third type is such that no matter how much effort we put in, there is no alternative but to experience suffering. The third kind is very sticky.

In religious scriptures, these sticky or intense karmas are termed as ‘nikachit’ karmas, where one has to suffer the karma at all costs. However, at that time one can get some relief through prayers. Therefore, it is important to always pray. Prayers may not help dissolve the karma, but it brings relief to the person bearing that karma by rendering internal stability and peace to go through that phase.

Awareness arises when our karma gives us pain. That is when we pray to God that, ‘Oh God, save me from these karmas’. That is when awareness arises. God does not give awareness; it is by taking His name that awareness arises.

Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan suggests, “If there are a lot of external problems, there is a lot of restlessness, then bhajans are good. If there is immense restlessness, and one sings bhajans loudly, then things will calm down within. And for any other reason, there is nothing like a silent prayer.”

Prayer means surrendering our doubts and worries

Prayer means surrendering

Whenever we face any difficulty in life, we pray to God. This implies that prayer means surrendering all our doubts and worries, all our plans and entanglements into the lotus feet of God.

We daily pray, ‘I surrender to you, Oh Lord.’ Then why worry if we have taken refuge in the feet of Lord? 

God has always said one should not worry. Worrying is the highest ego of all. Worries arise when there is a perpetual sense of, ‘I am the one who has to do.’ Lord Krishna has said, “Why do you worry, Krishna will do what is required.” Even Lord Mahavir has said, you cannot change the result of your previous life; not in the slightest degree.

Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan explains, “The person who does not have faith in God will worry. If you truly had faith in God, you would leave everything to him and sleep soundly. Who would worry like that? So, have faith in God. Wouldn’t God be listening to what you say?”

He further suggests, “Leave everything to God for one week and stop worrying. Then one day, come to me and I will help you realize God, so that your worries will be gone forever.”

Prayer is an instrument to elevate our being

Prayer for world

Every parent must teach their children that every morning after they bathe, they should pray with a pure heart,
‘Oh God! Please grant me and to everyone in the world, the right intellect. Grant salvation to the world’.

If you, as a parent, do this, it would mean that you have succeeded in instilling good values in your children. At first, children may object, but after a while they will feel nice to say the prayers and they will respond positively.

A child generally learns the value of prayers right from an early age. This is when one develops firm faith that God listens to prayers because prayers said whole-heartedly definitely bear results. And in no time, God becomes the child’s best friend forever!

Prayer makes one humble

When one bows down and joins hands in prayer, one is acknowledging that one has yet to learn many things. So, when we pray, we are sublimating our ego and emptying the impurities within us. The lowering of one’s ego is in itself is a spiritually elevating process, a way to slowly dissolve our firm grip on our false sense of Self. When we pray for strength from God to dissolve our ego completely, we develop absolute humility.

Prayer gradually makes us one like Him

It’s a given rule that whoever praises the transcendent qualities that spiritually elevated beings have achieved; slowly that person begins to find himself effortlessly developing those qualities within him. It is a remarkable principle! When we pray, externally our attention is focused on the lofty qualities of the spiritually elevated beings to whom we are praying and internally there runs a hidden but strong aspiration to emulate these qualities.

Prayer helps us attain sweet and pleasant speech

The power of right conduct can be predicted through speech. Gnani, the Enlightened One’s speech is sweet and pleasant; it does not cause a negative reaction in anyone who listens to it.

To attain such speech, Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan suggests, “Every day you should ask with a hearty and prayerful intent, ‘Let no one be hurt through my speech, and let my speech be such that it helps and pleases the other person.’ One attains the right speech when one nurtures the causes of such speech.”

What is Prayer?

Indirect worship is to worship an external object in which we have faith; but any perceived blessings actually come from the Soul within us. Direct worship is to worship the pure Soul within oneself.

Prayer Loses its Essence If It is not true

At the time of praying, if our chit (consciousness) is absent, then the prayer cannot be considered a true prayer.

Let’s understand this further from the conversation below:

Questioner: Do the prayers spoken in this world definitely yield results?

Dadashri: It should be a true prayer. A person with a pure heart will say a true prayer; whereas if his chit is elsewhere when praying, his prayer is not true. Simply blabbering is not acceptable. For example, when a parrot says, “Aayaram-gayaram, Ram-Ram (the Lord’s name)”, does it say it with understanding or without understanding? So, prayers should be recited with understanding after thoughtful consideration and it should be heartfelt.

Questioner: Is it enough to just say the prayer you mentioned earlier that, `Let no living being be hurt through the medium of the speech, thoughts, and acts,' in the morning?

Dadashri: It should be repeated five times a day, with the same intensity of applied awareness as you would have when counting one hundred dollar bills. While counting money, there is one pointed state of our mind and consciousness. That is how it should be when reciting this intent.

Questioner: When I sit down to pray to God, no matter how hard I try, at that very time, my mind starts to wander.

Dadashri: It is like this; wherever the mind and consciousness have love for, that is where they become still and fixed. If there is no interest at all, then how will they remain occupied there? If one were to go to the bank right now, then he remains fixated on money all day long and he does not fixate on God. People do not have love for God at all. People have love for women and love for money. There is fixation (love) in these two places. There is fleeting love for women, whereas there is love for money all day long. So in moments of leisure, the chit remains fixed there. Would it or would it not remain in the bank account? If the bank has given single notes of ten thousand dollars, then will it not remain steady while counting?

Questioner: That is only for some time!

Dadashri: No, up to the end, it remains up until he finishes counting the ten thousand. Even if his child comes along, he will not pay heed to him. Is that true or not?

Questioner: Absolutely true.

Dadashri: This is because he has love for his dollars. People do not have love for God at all. If there is love for God for even one day, then one will get everything. There is nothing in this world that one cannot receive, but there is no love for God.

Questioner: What should be done so that love for God arises, Dada?

Dadashri: One should realize what benefit he will get from God. Just as people know how the dollars benefit them, they should know what the benefit of this is.

With true prayer, one gets more and more connected with God (Self) within. With such pure prayer, the entire awareness of a human being changes.

Prayer is the bridge that connects us to the Self


The result of prayer means what one asks for, one receives. If one asks for worldly happiness, then worldly results come about.

When a human being prays for worldly reasons, along with attaining peace, he also finds a solution for his troubles. But how appropriate is it to limit the scope of prayers to just that? Prayers could open up many further links too.

The Absolutely Revered Dadashri talks about two kinds of prayers:

  1. One is for the purpose of worldly life and
  2. The other for the ultimate purpose and goal of the Self (the Soul).

Every living being in worldly life has external difficulties; but real difficulties are our internal kashays (passions) - attachment, abhorrence, anger, pride, deceit and greed - because they take us away from the Self.

Prayer is a very valuable thing for a person who has a desire to progress in spirituality. A heartfelt spiritual prayer brings all worldly desires to an end and the ultimate quest is also accomplished. While walking on the path to liberation, when one feels fatigue or gets stuck and it seems like no progress is being made, then at that time, a heartfelt prayer will open up the doors towards further spiritual progress.

Prayer means to Ask for Strength

Our mistakes are the biggest impediment on our path of progress. We should make a list of all the faults we find within ourselves and ask for strength to overcome these mistakes. The mistakes will gradually disappear when one asks for forgiveness (pratikraman) and prays to Dada asking for strength to not repeat the same mistake. Minor mistakes will certainly disappear through prayers. The mistakes keep recurring because we have not done prayers for them in the past. Now through prayers, they will vanish.

One who has attained Self-Realization can ask for strength from one’s own Pure Soul or from God. Those who have not gone through the process of achieving Self Realization (Gnan Vidhi) can ask for strength from their own God that they worship or Dada Bhagwan.

Here are few of the prayers that have the power to make a big difference in one’s life:

The Morning Prayer

Every morning, when with all sincerity we recite the following prayer, it brings peace, prosperity and bliss into our life.

“Oh God, please give me strength not to hurt anyone by my mind, speech and body.
Oh Lord, please make me just like you and take me to moksha.”

A Daily Prayer before Starting our Studies

The primary responsibility of every child is to study well. Therefore, if every parent / teacher could teach their children how to recite prayer before studying as follows, it will give them good strength to fulfill their responsibility:

Ask them to close their eyes, and with good stability tell them to recite for 10 minutes, ‘Dada Bhagwan Na Asim Jay Jay Kaar Ho!' and while they recite, ask them to simultaneously read each letter with their closed eyes.

A Special Prayer before class to Enhance our Memory and Grasp Studies easily

Before exams, one commonly fears that what if I do not remember whatever I have read. The following prayer is the remedy to annihilate this fear:

“Oh God! I whole-heartedly pray to you for the ultimate memory power to study.
For that, Oh God, I ask for forgiveness for all the mistakes that I have committed through my chitt and
I ask for infinite strength to concentrate my chitt in only You and in my studies.”

Prayer for the Dead

When the final hour in our life arrives, we shall certainly say the following prayer whole-heartedly! In case, some person is on deathbed, but is unable to recite this prayer owing to his sickness, anyone close by can say this aloud, on behalf of the dying person:

“Oh Lord Simandhar Swami!
I surrender my thoughts, speech and actions, my name, all ignorance related to my worldly name, and all the karma unto the lotus feet of You.
Dear Lord, I hereby accept your exclusive protection. May this surrender of mine be exclusive for you only. Please be present for me at the final moment of my life.
Be with me until my final liberation. Dear Lord, I have no desire for anything temporary in this world.
All I desire is moksha. May my next life be under your guidance only, and at your feet.”

Further, the chant of ‘Dada Bhagwan* na Aseem Jai Jaikar Ho’ will render peace and bliss.

Praying for those in Difficulty

There is so much of pain and misery in this world! So, what can we do to help the situation?

Pray. Yes, prayer recited heartily can bring together favorable evidences.

Let’s understand this further from the following conversation of Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan with different seekers…

Questioner: If it does not rain in our country, then people pray, so then it starts to rain. What is this? Can you explain this?

Dadashri: Yes, it is such that praying is a nimit (aiding instrument) in that. If the right nimit prays, then it may even rain. This is Scientific Circumstantial Evidence. You should harbor the intention that, ‘The time is right; it will be nice if you come.’ You should harbor that much intention.

Questioner: If there has been an earthquake or riot or a natural disaster anywhere, then if we sit here and pray, “Oh God! May there be peace there and please do something to help everyone,” then does that prayer reach them or is it baseless?

Dadashri: No, it reaches. It reaches, and if you harbor the intention that, ‘May these people suffer,’ then even that reaches. If it is heartfelt, then it will reach. It depends on whether there is honesty and purity within.

Questioner: If it is a true, complete prayer from deep within, if it is with unity of the antahkaran (the mind-intellect-chit-ego), then does it have any effect on a person who is sick?

Dadashri: It will give result, but it will only give result if the person is that pure. The most important thing is purity; purity of the heart is a very significant matter. A pure heart! (One whose) heart becomes completely pure is called God.

Praying for every living being in the World!

Finally, the most important thing is to pray for everybody. The following prayer can be chanted as many times a day as one enjoys it!

"Oh Dada, Bring Salvation to the World
May All Living Beings Attain knowledge of the self
May the World’s Obstacles Disappear
Swami Grant Shelter to All
Dada Bhagwan* Na Asim Jay Jay Kar Ho"

When our prayer is heartfelt, it can reach anywhere in the world!

*Note:- Dada Bhagwan denotes the God (Pure Soul) residing within us.

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