I am a Christian and I share my views from a Christian perspective. Since I was born and raised in India prior to migrating to U.S., my thoughts are also deeply influenced by the Eastern and Hindu spirituality.
What’s prayer? Prayer is a communion and communication with the higher being. And, why we pray? Prayer heals. The more we learn about technology and develop our skills, we also learn about the uncertainties and human limitations. Prayer and faith can remove human limitations. It helps one accept reality without pains. Holy Bible says, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
In the Eastern and Hindu culture prayer and meditation plays a central role. One of the oldest forms of medication reported in human history is in Hindu Vedas dated back in15th century BCE. Subsequently, meditation spread in the Taoist China and Buddhist India around 5th and 6th century BCEs by the influence of the Vedas.
The repetitive, rhythmic chants and offerings have its own healing power. Religious practices like Orthodox Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Taoists follow this tradition. There are several references on mediation and prayer; hāgâ (means to sigh or murmur, but also to meditate) in Hebrew Bible, dhyaana in Buddhism and in Hinduism are two typical examples.
Atheists may have a concern on prayer to a higher being. But they can always focus on meditation which is generally an inwardly oriented, personal practice, which individuals do by themselves.
This is Lenten time for Christian around the world; preparation of the believer—through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial. Let it not be a ritual.
Let’s offer the best to the world, selflessly.