By Siahyonkron Nyanseor
The “Power of Prayers” sounds good to the ears of listeners. However, in order to understand it, we need to first understand the word – POWER. If I may ask – what is POWER? Based on the definition provided by Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, POWER is the capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect; the ability to act or produce an affect or mental or moral efficacy.
Power than can be utilized if we turn it into a proper direction, and if we collect it to one place, when we keep lens in sunlight and focus it on a paper, paper start burning, that is a small example power of rays (sunlight). It is safe to say, in this universe everything has its own power, but the thing is how we utilize it, is what counts. For example, if we pray to God, we first understand who is God, What the prayer is, why we are praying.
I am reminded of the statement that reads, “Never ever underestimate the power of prayers”. Whether it is Jehovah, Allah, Nyesua or Glepor you pray to, your prayers will be answered. Through prayers, the Supreme Being that we worship responds to our needs. It is through prayers, we communicate with GOD.
According to recorded history, human beings have been praying for as long as humanity has existed. Rich or poor, literate or illiterate, the urge to pray is equally present in all. W.M. Urban described this as follows:
“In wandering over the earth, you can find cities without walls, without science, without rulers, without palaces, without treasures, without money, without gymnasium or theatre, but a city without temples to gods, without prayer, oaths and prophecy, such a city no mortal has ever seen and will never see.” (W.M. Urban, Humanity and Deity, p. 15)
The problem with humanity has to do with our various doctrines in explaining the desire of the GOD that created ALL of us in His image; but in their attempt to do so; some of these individuals or institutions profess to be godlier than others. A good example is the atrocities suffered by Africans, Native Americans and other indigenous people in the name of religion.
This approach was not necessary, because “Religions are different roads converging upon the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads, so long as we reach the same goals”, says Mahatma Gandhai.
Since the urge to pray is universal in character and crosses racial, cultural and religious boundaries, we might want to know the essence of prayer; the meaning of prayer; what is the purpose of prayer? What effect prayer has on individuals who pray? Or what effect prayer has on society?
The answers to the questions above are more important than the form of prayer itself. When we pray, what really happens to us? The prayer normally consists of reciting some words and possibly some body movements. This is true in all religions—only the forms may be different. Do the words have any effect on the individuals who pray? From the study of Psychology, we know that words have powerful effect on individuals as well as people. But for that to happen, it is necessary that words are clearly understood and their meaning and context fully comprehended. This ensures that the mind actively participates in the prayer also along with the body. Without this, the prayer will become a somatic routine, regardless of how much piety is attached to it from outside.
Thus we see that prayer has a very deep connection with the mind. But this mind-body connection, although made sincerely, should not be superficial that only produces a placebo effect. This has to be real. And a real connection can be established only when the power and the meaning of prayer activate the mind’s cognitive faculty. The so called doctors of religions, on the other hand, have perpetuated a myth which keeps people satisfied by performing the act of prayer without trying to establish this mental cognitive connection.
Prayer is related to purity of heart. As we forgive others, God perpetually forgives us. Forgiveness is one of the deepest parts of love because it is one of the most difficult to give. But anger is devastating to prayer. The prayers of children are extremely powerful; because their faith is pure.
During prayer, we are suppose to surrender our problem entirely to God; be humble; forgive all of our enemies; have faith; do not doubt; thank God in advance and praise Him, and pray from the heart.
This summed up in Katherine Kehler’s article, “Reason to Pray. According to her,
- · We pray to have fellowship with God
- · We Pray to Follow Christ’s Example
- · Prayer is Vital to Spiritual Maturity
- · Prayer Brings Results
- Prayer does change things and the
- Scripture clearly teaches that prayer can even change the course of history
In Proverbs 15:8 we read that the prayer of the upright is God’s delight. Revelation 3:20 tells us the result of asking Jesus Christ into our lives is having fellowship with Him. The Westminster Catechism teaches that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. What an honor and privilege to have fellowship with the King of Kings!
Sometimes we make the Christian life so complicated. We read so many books and hear so many messages on prayer that our head spins with information. But I find when I go back to the Gospels and find out what Jesus did, my thoughts come back to God’s perspective. Praying was important to Jesus. Luke 5:16 tell us that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. The very Son of God made prayer a priority even though His day was filled from morning until night. If the Son of God was so dependent on fellowship with God the Father, how much more should we?
Prayer involves talking to God and God talking to us through His Word and His Spirit. Just as we need food to keep well physically, we need spiritual food to keep growing spiritually. We can miss a meal and not feel any ill effects, but if we go without food for a week, we begin to weaken. We can go one day without feeding on God’s Word or praying and not suffer any apparent effects. But if we continue this practice, we will become undernourished spiritually, losing the strength to live a victorious life for Christ and to maintain the boldness necessary for a vital witness for Christ.
Find below a sampling of various prayers by believers in the Almighty Creator:
Hindu Prayer for Peace
Oh God, lead us from the
unreal to the Real.
Oh God, lead us from darkness to light.
Oh God, lead us from death to immortality.
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti unto all.
Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace in
May there be peace on Earth.
May the waters be appeasing.
May herbs be wholesome, and may trees
plants bring peace to all. May all beneficent
beings bring peace to us.
May thy Vedic Law propagate peace all
through the world.
May all things be a source of peace to us.
And may thy peace itself, bestow peace on all
and may that peace come to me also.
Muslim Prayer for Peace
In the name of Allah,
the beneficent, the merciful.
Praise be to the Lord of the
Universe who has created us and
made us into tribes and nations
that we may know each other, not that
we may despise each other.
If the enemy incline towards peace, do
thou also incline towards peace, and
trust God, for the Lord is the one that
heareth and knoweth all things.
And the servants of God,
Most gracious are those who walk on
the Earth in humility, and when we
address them, we say “PEACE.”
St. Francis’ Prayer
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred . . . let me sow love
Where there is injury . . . pardon
Where there is doubt . . . faith
Where there is despair . . .hope
Where there is darkness . . . light
Where there is sadness . . .joy
grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled . . .as to console
To be understood . . .as to understand,
To be loved . . . as to love
For it is in giving . . .that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned,
It is in dying . . .that we are born to eternal life
Baha’i Prayer for Peace
Be generous in prosperity,
and thankful in adversity.
Be fair in judgment,
and guarded in thy speech,
be a lamp unto those who walk
in darkness, and a home
to the stranger.
Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light
unto the feet of the erring
be a breath of life to the body of
humankind, a dew to the soil of
the human heart,
and a fruit upon the tree of humility.
Buddhist Prayer for Peace
May all beings everywhere plagued
with sufferings of body and mind
quickly be freed from their illnesses.
May those frightened cease to be afraid,
and may those bound be free.
May the powerless find power,
and may people think of befriending
May those who find themselves in trackless,
the children, the age, the unprotected–
be guarded by beneficial celestials,
and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood
Christian Prayer for Peace
Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS,
for they shall be known as
the Children of God.
But I say to you that hear, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you
pray for those who abuse you.
To those that strike you on the cheek,
offer the other one also,
and from those who take away your cloak,
do not withhold your coat as well.
Give to everyone who begs from you,
and of those who take away your goods,
do not ask for them again.
And as you wish that others would do to you,
do so to them.
Sikh Prayer for Peace
God adjudges us according
to our deeds,
not the coat that we wear:
that Truth is above everything,
but higher still is truthful living.
Know that we attaineth God when we loveth,
and only victory
endures in consequences of which no
one is defeated.
Native American Prayer for Peace
Almighty God, the Great
Thumb we cannot evade to
tie any knot;
the Roaring Thunder that splits mighty trees:
the all-seeing Lord up on high who sees
even the footprints of an antelope on
a rock mass here on Earth.
You are the one who does
not hesitate to respond to our call.
You are the cornerstone of peace.
African Prayer of Faith
In the beginning was God,
Today is God,
Tomorrow will be God.
Who can make an image of God?
He has no body.
He is the word,
Which comes out of your mouth.
It is no more,
It is past, and still it lives!
So is God.
So why do we really pray?
Religious leaders are very particular to mention—and rightly so, that it occupies a central place in religion. But their emphasis is more on the act of prayer rather than its spirit and purpose. Performing the act of prayer is an end in itself to them. Religious leaders do not emphasize the fact that prayer is a means to achieve some concrete goals in life. This aspect of prayer is normally overlooked and consequently the prayer becomes a soulless ritual done primarily to please God and for individual personal salvation in the hereafter. In other words, they do not want people to find out the true essence and meaning of prayer in order to revive it.
A simple, conventional answer may be that we pray because our forefathers have been praying and told us to pray, just as we tell our children to pray. Or that we pray because God has asked us to pray. But for many people who are sincerely searching for a more meaningful answer, this may not be satisfactory. First of all, God has given us freedom of choice for everything, including prayer. So we do not have to pray if we do not want to. In fact, in good times, most of us don’t. Only when some personal tragedy strikes (or when we reach old age) that many of us start praying regularly.
Thus, we see that there seems to be no single reason as to why people pray. Everyone can come up with his or her own answer and feel satisfied. In fact, this is what we normally do. But as we mentioned before, the answer that transcends space, time, circumstance and human emotion can only come from God. Therefore, it has become a tradition or a practice to say:
Dear Lord, we come before you
on this day you made possible,
for us to offer you our prayer of thanksgiving.
And for giving us this opportunity, to serve you.
Lord, dear you God
in whom we believe, and place my trust
for which, we have no reason to worry
about the trappings of the world.
Especially so, about what we will eat
or clothe our bodies with and put over our heads.
Because we know for a fact that if you can provide
for the ravens, who can neither sow or reap
nor have storehouse or barn,
but yet, you meet their needs each and every day
you can do the same for us.
Therefore, we have no need to worry
about my own needs.
Dear Almighty God,
we pray this prayer of thanksgiving to you
for being so good to us and our place of birth;
and in spite of our many shortcomings
you continued to love us just the way we are.
You knew before we were born,
the trouble we had in store for you.
Yet, you went on anyway
to put us together carefully
into my mothers’ wombs,
so unique and different
from others you created.
You cared for us since;
in spite of our shortcomings.
You did not stop there;
yet you promised to protect and guide us
throughout difficult times.
Even when we did all the wrong things
that were not pleasing to you,
you stuck to your words
by carrying us along the by-ways
and the highways of this world,
in good times as well as in bad times.
We have come to realize that it was you all along
who pointed us in the path of righteousness;
to walk past the Valley of Death and to fear no evil.
For Thy has been with us in spirit
And it was your voice all along that said to us:
“With power from me I will make my people strong.
In fact, they will go whenever they wish
wherever they wish, and wherever they go
they will be under my personal care.”
Father, we are glad to be a living testament
of your unconditional love and power.
So, we thank you for granting us peace, understanding
and most of all, for us to remain humble in our undertakings
Because we remember you saying,
“All who humble themselves before the Lord
shall be given every blessings
and shall have wonderful peace.”
With peace and love, we’ll be able to do Thy will
To stay away from complaining, argument and jealousy.
For wherever there is jealousy or selfish ambition,
there will be disorder and every kind of evil.
So give us patience to learn to get along happily
At least, to be content in most situations.
For we came naked from our mothers’ wombs,
and with nothing we shall return when we leave this earth.
So Lord, we promised each and every day
to live by your Golden Rules;
to consider others as better than us
Instead of paying back evil for evil like before;
we will do as your Son taught us to do
love our enemies as we love ourselves.
For love forgets mistakes;
it is kind and it keeps no record of wrongdoings.
Therefore, when the going gets rough
it is from you we seek help and advice;
and as usual, you instruct us to wait patiently; not to fret
and worry because it will only leads us in harm’s way
But draw from Job’s experience
and see how our plan will turn out.
It usually turns out the way you say it would
So thank you once more for your tender loving care.
From here on, we promise never to criticize anyone,
no matter how much wrong they may have caused us
We will remain faithful to what you have taught us
By continuing to love those who despise us.
For you have made us to understand
not to judge those who despise us
instead, to obey your commandments.
Because it is only you who is fit to be the judge
So thank you Father for overlooking our faults
and for making everything impossible, possible for us.
“For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
Now we know and appreciate all that you’ve taught us.
Therefore, we come before you this day with joy in our hearts
to offer you this our prayer of thanksgiving
for the goodness and mercy you have shown us.
Words alone are inadequate to list all that you’ve done for us
Including the countless times you have rescued us.
So Lord, we ask that you remain our refuge!
Please don’t let us fall flat on our face again!
Save us from ourselves and enemies;
For you are the only one who is able to answer our prayers.
Rescue us from the temptations of this world
So have mercy on us our Lord and Savior;
you have brought us this far,
and have been too good to us!
For this and the many miracles
you have performed on our behalf;
we ask that you accept our prayer of thanksgiving
for all that you’ve done and continued to do for us.
Our Prayer of Thanksgiving by Siahyonkron Nyanseor
© Copyright – December 25, 2006: Siahyonkron Nyanseor
All Rights Reserved
2006: From Siahyonkron Nyanseor’s Archive