Praying is the easiest way to approach God the Father and is presented in this manner in all the main traditional religions (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism or Chinese Tradition). For the faithful man it is the most common practice. We could say that you cannot circumvent it when you follow a spiritual path. It involves an invocation from the heart, always full of sincerity, whispered or uttered with the inner voice, spoken for asking the godly grace or the help we need.
According to the objective pursued, there are three types of prayers: meant to obtain a specific help in the physical plane, for spiritual support and guidance, or as a form of meditation, of worshiping God. In general, when one has a concrete objective, it is considered better for the prayer to clearly state the situation we seek to solve, and when the prayer becomes essential and melts into the heart of God, it will be done with the inner voice, without words. The prayer is at the heart of all Christian confessions, and Jesus Christ offered us an example of how the believers should pray saying ‘Our Father’, whose power is also acknowledged by the fact that it is also called the ‘Lord’s Prayer’.
In order to pray with an increased efficiency, it is good to ensure certain external and internal conditions. It is best to pray in silence, in a place where we will not be disturbed. We must detach from parasite thoughts, the only accepted thoughts being those related to the prayer’s topic. The most important inner conditions are: a complete sincerity, the belief that God is hearing us and will answer in the most appropriate way, and the humbleness in front of God. Sincerity expresses the conviction that God is present in all, and He already knows the facts much better than we do. In addition, it creates the implicit framework to approach Him from the heart. We then must be convinced that, even when we apparently did not receive an answer, the silence of God is actually the answer He offers us, as being the most appropriate. Sometimes God can answer immediately, through an indescribable characteristic state, or He may answer in the coming days, through events that are correlated with our request. Through humbleness we preserve our condition of God’s children, of beneficiaries of His perfectly grace, that is free and undeterminable by us.
Regarding some of these conditions, the Bible says: ‘When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who like to pray just to be seen by others. But when you pray, go into your little room, lock the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen, and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.’ Or ‘When you pray, do not use unnecessary words like pagans, for you Father knows what you need.’ – Matthew 6: 5, 6, 7, 8.
A prayer correctly performed leads almost instantly to a significant state of inner peace and an enhancement of our trust that we will get the desired result. It gives us the intuition on the best actions we should perform and makes us feel charged with the necessary energy. In the higher stages, which are attained after a proper exercise, praying can have miraculous effects, as accounted in all the spiritual traditions.
About the effects of a heartfelt prayer there is a delightful story of Lev Tolstoy:
On an island there lived three elderly monks. They were so simple that their only prayer was, ”There are three of us, there are three of you, have mercy on us!” This naive prayer was generating many miracles. The local bishop, hearing about the three monks and their inadmissible prayer, decided to go and teach them the canonical prayers. Arriving on the island, the bishop tried to make them understand that their request to the Heaven was undignified and taught them the prayers usually practiced in the churches. Afterwards, he left the island, boarding the ship he used for coming. Shortly after his departure, the bishop noticed a glowing light on the swirl left behind by the ship, and when this light approached the bishop very surprised saw the three monks running on the water to catch the boat. ”We forgot the wonderful prayers that you have given us,” they shouted as they approached the ship – ”that’s why we rushed to reach you so you could tell them again to us!” The bishop, with a feeling of fear and respect, replied, ”My brothers, you can continue praying from here on as you prayed in the past!”
It seems that the story is based on true facts and therefore has a historical basis. From some documents it would appear that the bishop met the three monks during his journey from Arhanghelsk to the Solovetk monastery, at the source of the Dvina River.
This story full of meaning is also a call for all of us to pray with sincerity, faith and humbleness, as we can and know – that is the only thing needed so that, through the grace of God, we will make miracles appear.