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USEFUL INSTRUCTION.

VOLUME III.

114. PRAYER.

God can not be reached by speech, nor by knowledge nor by hearing-He who prayeth, findeth him; to the supplicant, Lord revealeth himself.

"UPANISHAT."

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.

-HANNAH MORE.

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,—
The power that he hath given us
To pour our souls in prayer !†

Prayer is the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try.

-MONTGOMERY.

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."

"MISHCAT-UL-MASÂBIH."*

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.

The Prophet (Muhammed) said, "when you say your prayers, do it like that of a man who has forsaken everything besides God; as if they were your last."

"MISHCAT-UL-MASABIH."*

An old writer has said,

God looks not at the oratory of our prayers, how
eloquent they are;

Nor at their Geometry, how long they are;
Nor at their Arithmetic, how many they are;
Nor at their Logic, how methodical they are;
But He looks at their sincerity, how spiritual they are.

When you come into the house of worship, you should try your best so to realize God's presence that you may acquire faith, joy, strength, and purity, by holy and quiet communion with the Lord; and carry those blessings always with you wherever you may go. -KESHUB CHUNDER SEN.

Do not omit thy prayers for want of a good oratory or place to pray in.

-JEREMY TAYLOR.

Private or secret prayer is that which is used by a man alone, apart from all others, wherein we are to be more particular, according to our particular needs, than in public it is fit to be. And this of private prayer is a duty which will not be excused by the peformance of the other of public. They are both required, and one must not be taken in exchange for the other: And whoever is diligent in public prayers, and yet negligent

• Translated from Arabic by Captain Matthews.

in private, it is much to be feared he rather seeks to approve himself to men than to God.

"THE WHOLE DUTY OF MAN."

Some duties are more incumbent on some persons, and some on others; depending on the difference of talents, wealth, leisure, learning, station, and opportunities; but the duty of prayer is of imperative obligation; it is universal, because it demands none of any of the above requisites; it demands only a willing heart, a consciousness of sin, a sense of dependence, a feeling of helplessness. Those who voluntarily negect it, shut themselves out from the presence of their Maker. "I know you not," must assuredly be the sentence of exclusion on those who thus "know not God." Nothing, it is true, can exclude them from his inspection, but they exclude themselves from his favour.

--HANNAH MORE.

We should certainly pray to God at least once in a day, if not twice; especially in the morning ought prayers to be offered to Him, as at that time the emotions of the heart are pure.

*

“ÎSHWAROPÂSANÂ.”

(An admonition ).

Prayer is the key of the day and lock of the night. And we should everyday begin and end, bid ourselves good morrow and good night, with prayer.

Of all duties, prayer certainly is the most easy. There are some duties which occasion a troublesome opposition to the

By the Ahmedâbâd Prârthanâ Samáj.

sweetest and

may seem to natural work

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