“Prayer is a mighty spiritual force. The invocation of that force is our contribution to help the world. We think that we are too insignificant, too small to contribute to the well-being of the world, but we are told by Master that constant sincere prayer is a positive contribution towards the upliftment of the world. ”
– Swami Sivananda

In difficult times we often forget that we have an incredible instrument on hand that we can use as a support in our struggles. Prayer.

We often think that in order to pray properly we have to have a specific time, place and solitude, but in reality prayer is a constant practice of connecting with the intangible, with the maximum expression that our mind and heart can conceive. We may call it God, the Supreme Reality, Divinity, Supreme Nature or our own Self. It matters not what name we give it.

What is needed is the right intention, the intention to connect from the heart. Prayer opens our heart and the more we pray, the easier it becomes to do so. As we pray for peace in the world and for understanding, we connect with all, and our heart and mind as well as our consciousness expand. We connect with those in need, with those who are suffering physically, mentally and spiritually. We pray for those who are facing these challenges.

We don’t need to use complicated words or formulas, only a few humble words with a pure soul and pure intention are sufficient. In prayer we invoke prosperity, auspiciousness, blessings, strength, righteousness, harmony and balance.

We place our prayer in the centre of the heart, the space within the heart, the space of consciousness. We connect to the presence of the divine within and we pray, so all our cells vibrate with that prayer, creating the same effect that happens when we recite mantra with Bhav (devotion, right feeling or intention).

The deeper we go into our heart the closer we come to our consciousness, the pure silence within and it is here where the connection to the universal takes place.
So many of our problems—fear, stress, anxiety—are due to a lack of devotion. They arise because we do not connect with the highest reality. A person of devotion never feels lonely. Prayer puts us in contact with the divine presence everywhere, at anytime.

Extracts from Bliss Divine by Swami Sivananda

Here are some extracts from the chapter on prayer from the book Bliss Divine by Swami Sivananda.

  • Prayer is not asking. Prayer is communion with God though single-minded devotion.
  • Prayer is nearness to God.
  • Prayer is tuning the mind with God.
  • Prayer is fixing the mind in God.
  • Prayer is meditation on God.
  • Prayer is surrendering oneself to God completely.
  • Prayer is the mystic state when the individual consciousness is absorbed in God.
  • Prayer is an uplifting of the soul to God, it is an act of love and adoration to Him.
  • Prayer is an adoration and worship of God.
  • Prayer is thanksgiving to God for all His blessings.
  • Prayer is an invocation, a calling forth of spiritual forces ever-flowing through the human heart, mind and soul.

There are no problems that cannot be dissolved by prayer, no sufferings that cannot be allayed by prayer, no difficulties that cannot be surmounted by prayer and no evil that cannot be overcome by prayer. Prayer is the miracle by whic h God’s powers flow into human veins.
– Swami Sivananda

Benefits of Prayer

“Prayer is a mighty spiritual force. Prayer is spiritual food for the soul. Prayer is a spiritual tonic.
Prayers are powerful spiritual currents. There is nothing so purifying than prayer. If you pray regularly your life will be gradually changed and moulded. Prayer must become habitual.

Prayer lightens the heart and fills the mind with peace, strength and purity. When the mind becomes pure and sattvic though the power of prayer, the intellect becomes sharp and keen. Prayer elevates the mind.

When you pray you link yourself with the inexhaustible cosmic power house of energy – Hiranyagarbha – and thus draw power, energy, light and strength from him.
Prayer works wonders. Prayer moves mountains. Prayer is an unfailing remedy for all situations.”

Swami Sivananda has left us as an ever- lasting legacy with the Universal Prayer which we repeat twice daily as part of our spiritual practice. It is universal because there is no need to belong to a specific religion, or have any religion at all, to connect to its meaning. It is a universal prayer because it connects us one to another through service and love.

It begins with a glorification to the Almighty—the repetition of which brings humility—an acknowledgment of the Supreme Power and the nature of the Supreme Absolute. If there is anything to ask for or to invoke it is only the positive qualities that are within us and the means to acknowledge the purity of the Soul.
The prayer is to identify our Self with the Supreme Self in the rite of the prayer itself.

May our constant, sincere prayers join together to bring peace to the world.

Swami Rajeshwarananda is the director of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Rome, Italy.