Discussing Prayer

sikh child praying

Harijot Singh Khalsa taught a class at the Sikh Dharma International tent at Summer Solstice and this is an excerpt from that class, shared by Sikhnet.

Most of us, if not all, have experienced our prayers being answered. It could be a small thing like getting a parking space, to a large thing like being blessed with a child.

But how do prayers actually work and how do we pray, so that they will be answered? We don’t exactly believe that it is like Santa Claus who hears the different prayers and decides which one is a good prayer and which one is not. Instead we have Guru ji who is constantly fighting for us, constantly blessing us, constantly moving behind the scenes for our betterment. Really, Guru ji is already praying for us. We are being prayed for all the time. That is why we call Guru ji, Guru-pita, who is like our father, always looking out for our best interest. When we pray, we are just meeting Guru ji half-way.

Knowing that Guru ji is already praying for us, the prayer that works is the one that most aligns with ourselves and Guru ji. If we are praying for something that seems good but in reality would lead us to misery and wouldn’t fulfill our destiny, then it is not in alignment between Guru ji and ourselves. That doesn’t bring us half way. So how do we know if we are asking for something that agrees with our destiny, that suits our soul, that fulfills our life? It has to do with innocence.

ਸੁਣੀ ਪੁਕਾਰ ਸਮਰਥ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਬੰਧਨ ਕਾਟਿ ਸਵਾਰੇ ॥
sunee pukaar samarath suaamee bandhan kaat savaarae ||

The Almighty Lord and Master heard my prayer (cries); cutting away my bonds, He has adorned me. (Ang 631)

‘Sunee pukaar samrath suami’ “My scream has been heard by the Powerful Master”. Notice that in Gurbani the word for ‘cry out’ is translated as ‘prayer’.

The word I would like to highlight is ‘pukar’. Pukar means “scream” or “cry.” When a child needs milk, they don’t create a list of reasons they believe the milk should be given. They don’t think about what is the best milk and how to best ask for it. The child cries out until the mother provides milk. Can you imagine crying out to Guru ji?

That may be difficult to picture, but remember, when a child cries for milk it is not considered rude or unacceptable behavior. They are not refused milk because of their lack of politeness. No, this is a relationship of love, which doesn’t care for formality. The mother provides because the child is coming from pure innocence and truly has a need. And this is a way that we too, children to our Guru-father, can express ourselves in our own intimate relationship with the Divine.

I encourage you to say your prayer, not your script. Say that prayer that you can say with the innocence of a child, the prayer that has no hesitation, that comes from the gut, not the head, that goes beyond formality. Give yourself permission to be a child before your provider. This itself is a confirmation that we have confidence in our Guru.

Go ahead, forget anyone else, look directly to Guru Ram Das, and cry out. Let your heart be free and know that Guru ji is already on the way with your milk.

Wahiguru ji ka Khalsa
Wahiguru ji ki Fateh

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