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God can not be reached by speech, nor by knowledge nor by hearing-He who prayeth, findeth him; to the supplicant, Lord revealeth himself.
Prayer is a supplication addressed to God, or a desire for communion with him.*
Man's consciousness of a Supreme, all-seeing, allpervading Power; his helplessness in the eternal conflict of Nature; his sense of benefaction; all lead him to pour
From A new Catechism by M. M. Mangasarian.
out the over-flowing sentiments of his heart, in words of gratitude and love, or repentence and solicitation to One who is ever-wakeful and merciful. Prayers are only the utterances of the sentiments which fill the human heart.* -SYED AMEER ALI MOUlvi.
Prayer is the application of want to Him who alone can relieve it, the voice of sin to Him who alone can pardon it. It is the urgency of poverty, the prostration of humility, the fervency of penitence, the confidence of trust. It is not eloquence, but earnestness; not figures of speech, but compunction of soul. It is the "Lord save us, we perish," of drowning Peter; the cry of faith to the ear of mercy.
Prayer was not invented-it was born with the first sigh, the first sorrow of the human heart.
Oh! not a joy or blessing
With this can we compare,—
Prayer is the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try.
What is it to pray? Prayer does not mean the words which are generally accepted as prayer, but the spirit in which those words are used. Prayer simply means a longing of the heart, it is the wish felt-it may
* From Life of Mohammed.
From Mary Carpenter's Meditations.
be expressed, or not expressed. It may take the form of human language, or it may never be uttered at all; still, it is prayer, if God only hears it in the secret recesses of the heart. It is for God to hear our prayers, not for man. When we sit together in chapels, and in one harmonious chorus offer up our prayers and thanksgivings unto the Lord, do we believe that he takes into consideration the words we use, our posture, the external manner in which we offer up our prayers? No; He looks into the depths of the heart, He sees the spirit in which we offer our prayers. Whether expressed or unexpressed, a prayer is alike real and sincere if God hears it, and accepts it, and responds to it. Prayer means, therefore, simply a wish of the heart. Prayer, in order to be successful, must be always earnest and genuine. -KESHUB CHUNDER SEN.
The Prophet (Muhammed) said, "a person in prayer tells secrets to God, therefore he must repeat them with an humble and contrite heart."
In prayer let thy heart and tongue be united; with one finger the knot of a string will not be loosened. -M. C. MUNSOOKн.†
Lip-devotion will not serve the turn; it undervalues the very thing it prays for. It is indeed the begging of a denial, and shall certainly be answered in what it begs.
Translated from Arabic by Captain Matthews.
+ Translated by W. H. Hamilton.