What Prayer really is
Listening to a prayer by a guest who's come home from Kerala brought back memories. Of listening to my grandma's prayer. She then lived at our ancestral home in a village. Her prayers I remember were more about safety and protection. She asked God to keep her loved ones and their property safe from any harm. To shield them from any evil that could be round the corner. Now this I remember was different from prayers I would listen to, when I was back home in Cochin, a city. People there prayed more about what they wanted, that could better their standard of living. It wasn't about safety. It was either jobs, or better jobs that they asked for. I guess they did that because they knew that better jobs paid more. And more money meant better products and services at home. Bettered standards of living.
What's fascinating about prayers is that, inherently they are designed to seek solutions to felt needs. For my grandma what was an immediate need was better security. Especially since she stayed at an ancestral home that was almost half a mile away from a neighbour's home. She knew this meant she was at the mercy of any mishap like a break in. She needed protection. She asked for the same from God. And God did answer, I guess. I can't remember of a break-in, ever. But for a city dweller the immediate need was a washing machine or a microwave oven. That cost money. And money came from jobs. So that was what was asked for, from God.
Now I think faith's a good thing. But one thing's for sure. Faith or whatever you call it finally translates into our selves seeking solutions to apparent needs. It may be divine intervention that's sought, but what remains as a backdrop to the act is human needs. Its hard for us to resist asking god to fulfill our desires, because we are wired to seek solutions to our biogenic and psychogenic needs.
Now on my part, I think prayer should be more an expression of gratitude to what we have, than a plea for what we don't.
I know, easier said than done.