Many of you, I'm sure, are confused about the underlying philosophy of prayer. Consequently, often your prayers are not answered. Here, I attempt to provide some insights into the success of prayers.
Why We Pray
To begin with we must understand as to why do we pray? There are basically 12 reasons for prayer:
1. We pray to depend on God for help in distress.
2. We pray for asking God for enlightenment.
3. We pray for communion with God through single-minded devotion.
4. We pray for asking for peace from God when the mind is restless.
5. We pray for surrendering ourselves to God completely.
6. We pray to God for giving us the ability to comfort others.
7. We pray for thanking God for his blessings.
8. We pray for expecting God to decide what is best for us when we are in a dilemma.
9. We pray for making friendship with God.
10. We pray for melting the mind and ego in silence in God.
11. We pray for requesting God to give strength, peace and pure intellect, e.g., the [a href="http://hinduism.about.com/library/weekly/aa061003a.htm"]Gayatri Mantra[/a].
12. We pray for asking God to purify the heart and make us abide in Him forever.
Two Parts of a Prayer
In essence, what the above 12 reasons convey to us is that a prayer has two parts: one is soliciting a favor from the Almighty and the other is surrendering ourselves to His will. While the first part is practiced by most of us on a daily basis, the second part is the real and ultimate goal because it implies dedication. Dedication means feeling the light of God within your heart. If your heart is devoid of divine light, you will not be happy, cheerful and successful in your lives.
Guard Your Selfish Desires
Remember, your success depends on the inward state of your mind. Your mind will create hindrance in your work if it is not in communion with God because He alone is the permanent abode of peace. Yes, I agree that most of us want to have riches, healthy lives, nice children and prosperous future. But if we always approached God with a begging attitude then we are treating Him as our bearer to supply the things required by us at once. This is no devotion to God but devotion to our own selfish desires.