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What Is True Prayer?

ECKANKAR, Prayer, Divine Spirit, Listetning, GodBy Harold Klemp

Correct prayer is listening to God.  If a person is going to err in prayer, it’s through too much telling or talking to God.  There’s nothing wrong with telling or asking; there’s nothing wrong with talking to God.  But after you’ve asked your question, listen.  Be quiet and listen.

Listening is true prayer, prayer of the highest sort.  Even prayer where you’re asking God something is of a high sort or it can be.  But sometimes people carry it to extremes.

When I was a child, my parents had us say our childhood prayers at bedtime.  As I grew up and went to divinity school, I would still say my prayers at night.  Not that those of us at divinity school were very righteous.  A very small percentage were truly pious, and the rest of us were about average.  We got along.  We knew God was there.  We did our lessons; we did our Bible study and science and math.  There were also those in divinity school who were quite nonpious.

I used to say my prayers nightly, but away from home I could try out my wings a little bit.  Some nights I’d just lie there and ask God for all kinds of things.  I’d ask God for riches.  I’d ask God to get rid of my toothaches.  They came from all the sugar I ate; I hadn’t made the connection between sugar and tooth decay.  Every Sunday I’d go to the bakery and buy all this wonderful chocolate, all these jelly-filled rolls—I’d just stuff myself.  I’d buy enough for my friends too.  It took me years to figure out what I was doing, and I think the toothaches helped.  Life has a way of teaching us better.

This is what I learned about prayer: that sometimes there is a wrong sort of prayer.  You ask God to take away a toothache, when basically you should stop eating the things that give you the toothache.  But that’s how we learn.

People ask God to make them rich, and at the same time they squander their money.  They have done this their whole lives.  What kind of a prayer is that?  It’s a prayer of irresponsibility.  You’re not taking responsibility for your own welfare.

Mostly, true prayer is listening to God.

Excerpted from Spiritual Wisdom on Prayer, Meditation, and Contemplation.

12 Responses to What Is True Prayer?

  1. Julie says:

    Since I have been a member of Eckankar I have learnt to relax in the presence of the Mahanta. I ask, I trust and I wait and when I recognise my answer I feel blesses and lived.

  2. Chioma Ozukwe says:

    I have learnt total surrender to the ECK. Let thy will be done. Expect but Accept. Thanks Z.

  3. Ardi says:

    Another term for prayer, then, is “communication with God.” A divine link of acknowledgment. Without listening, the link is not true communication. God always hears us. Thank you for this reminder.

  4. kalu egbuta says:

    This teaching is very interesting and it has inspired me, thanks Mahanta….

  5. Daniele Piperdy says:

    I never like asking, to much pride before ECK. But now I have learned to accept help when is given with a heart full of love.

  6. Tony Adagbor says:

    Listening is a true Prayer because when we listen we hear the voice of the Mahanta. And when we hear the voice of the Master we are in His Presence where all fears and worries are dissolved and dreams and desires are fulfilled.

  7. Daniel Alfred says:

    True prayer as being said, is after talking , you listen. That requires stop talking and pay attention, through focusing your thought on the spiritual eye. And also open your ears be on the allert and somthing might appear on the screen of your eyes and or you would hear some words speaking to you. To me , those flash of words or images are what I get from that particular contemplation. Thank You HK

  8. Rama says:

    when I ask a question to Mahantha how can i hear the answer? I tried to be quite to listen but in that particular moment unnecessary thoughts arise. what is the easy way to control thoughts ? Any solutions?

  9. WEMEDO WELLINGTON CHIMA says:

    Listening is the surest and shortest route to the heart of God, in prayer

  10. Beth says:

    I thought to ask thy will be done , period and that is liberating. Thank you for your words of wisdom. May the blessings be. …

  11. Sassou Hlontor says:

    This is better way to pray. I also figure out that way with ECKANKAR Teachings.
    May the blessings be.

  12. shakuntala says:

    yes, I do try to listen to God but the trouble is how to know what I am listening is God’s talk or my mind’s concoction.

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