Issue 39 / July - September 2002
Prayer is a call, an entreaty from the small to the great, from below to above, from Earth and other terrestrial bodies to beyond the heavens. It is a turning, an asking, a pleading, and a revealing of our inner world or intentions. Those who pray are aware of their weakness and the greatness of the door to which they have turned. With their hands raised high and opened, and with utmost humility and conviction that whatever is asked for will be granted, those who pray become heavenly along with their environment. Through such a turning, believers hope to obtain whatever they wish, to seek refuge in the greatest shield from that which causes them anxiety.
However, turning to the Eternal Truth must not be governed merely by our own desires and whims. We must turn to God in an attitude of conscious servanthood, in utmost humility and fragility, to ask for our common needs.
Our Lord is more aware of our needs and wishes than we are. Hence our petitions must be made quietly, as such courtesy is expected of those who are truly aware of this. Our Lord, closer to us than we are to ourselves, says: Pray to Me so I may respond to your prayer. This Divine encouragement to pray indicates that failing to do so causes people to feel a senseless independence and alienation from themselves.
When those who pray turn to God wholeheartedly, they express their respect to God's continual closeness while being saved from the turmoil of their remoteness to God. In return, God makes them hear what needs to be heard, see what needs to be seen, say what needs to be said, and accomplish what needs to be accomplished.
As a result, all who feel the pleasure of faith and have become very sensitive in their duties to God remain highly aware of prayer. In fact, such people understand that worship is the purpose of their existence and so give it the importance it deserves. They conform to daily life's material and immaterial aspects, and see a pleading heart as a sign of seeking closeness to God. In such an atmosphere of closeness, they usually feel hope and joy, as well as fear and anxiety.
Although we are fragile and weak beings with endless needs, God gives us existence, provides us with food, causes us to grow, and is aware of our every need and wish. His Mercy is so vast that we are not left to the mercy of others. Hence, our behavior must be equally and carefully gauged. As God is the Absolute Ruler of all that we have, we need to be aware of our smallness while appreciating God's greatness and of our duty to direct our prayers only to God. When we reflect that God is closest and that our prayers will be answered, we analyze our behavior and adjust our voice levels.
We feel pleasure and awe while observing ourselves as we become conscious of God's always ready and watching presence. Hence our petitioning through prayer is the purest form of worship. In fact, all parts of existence prays to God through the language of their innate abilities. In return, God responds to their needs from His Wisdom. God hears all and makes us aware that His response covers everything.
We must understand that God does not necessarily answer our prayer by giving that for which we ask. More often than not, we make our own window of needs narrow by thinking only of today and the present, thereby ignoring many things that are related to us. However, as God knows and sees today and tomorrow, He grants different kinds of needs with Mercy and Wisdom. When God enlightens our present situation, the future is not deprived of this light; when complimenting one person, God is not oblivious of another person.
And so when believers raise their hands to entreat their Lord, they are aware that there is a One who sees them, hears their breathing, knows all that passes through their minds, and, last but not least, gives due importance to all of their complaints and pains. In addition, they know that the One God accomplishes all acts according to His Absolute Ability and Wisdom. They are reassured of God's actions, whenever and whatever is willed. They are convinced that all obstacles will be overcome through God's mercy and will and, even at worst of times, breathe with security and hope. Those who turn to their Lord many times during the day and visualize reality beyond matter through the eyes and ears of their hearts can never again depart from this door.