The Power of Prayer around the World
Universally, the power of prayer has been recognized by many cultures for immeasurable time. Whether it be a part of a formal service recited with a congregation of worshipers or an individual, quiet moment, prayer is part of the lives of people from a variety of religions.
There seems to be an innate urge among humanity to connect with a higher source of energy and love when we need guidance or direction, and this is called prayer. By reading the prayers from religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam, from cultures in Africa, India, Egypt, and China, we begin to share the sense of a common experience.
The deepest inner feelings and longings are similar—concern for family, assistance in healing, a longing for peace, or a wish for greater wisdom. For some people, prayer can be thought of as a way to ask for specific goals or special favors. This type of prayer may or may not be effective. Another type of prayer exists when all selfish desire is put aside and we feel ourselves in communion with God. At this point, our greatest wish is that God's will be done.
There may be pressing concerns that make us turn our sights upward, but we learn to let go of the end result. At this point, prayer becomes a way of opening up to the universal, loving, creative energy that exists and is far greater than any person could imagine. This is the source of miracles, of faith and unconditional love. Prayer then becomes more than a means to an end; it becomes a state of humility and of awe. It can exist whether we are washing the floor or composing a symphony. Prayer is communion with the Divine, a universal loving creative force that exists in a variety of ways for people around the world.
This book brings together an inspirational collection of prayer suitable for all ages and traditions. In addition, it offers insight and guidance about the nature of prayer that will be useful for the serious seeker.
Preface / vii
Introduction / 3
Prayer, Meditation, and Affirmation / 11
The Use of Prayer in Various Religions / 33
Learning to Pray / 61
Research on Prayer / 77
Conclusion / 83
Bibliography / 91
Acknowledgments / 93