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The Act of Prayer

Prayer is an invocation through which, by means of thought, Man enters into communication with the being to whom he directed himself. This may be for the purpose of asking for something, giving thanks or as a glorification. We may pray for ourselves or for others, for the living or for the dead. Prayers addressed to God are heard by those Spirits who are charged with the execution of His will. All those addressed to Good Spirits are referred to God. When someone prays to beings other than God, these are serving as mediators or intercessors, because nothing can happen without God's wishes. (The Gospel According to Spiritism , Ch. 27, Item 9)


The Quality of Prayer

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mark, 11:25-26 )

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corner of the streets, that they may be seen of men. . . .. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; … when ye pray, use not vain repetitions . . .. ( Matthew, 6:5-8 )

Jesus clearly defined the quality of prayer. He said that when you pray you should not make yourself conspicuous, but rather pray in secret. Do not prolong your prayers because it is not by the multiplicity of the words that you will be heard, but by their sincerity. Before praying, if you have anything against another, forgive them, seeing that prayer is not pleasing to God if it does not come from a heart cleansed of all sentiments which are contrary to charity. Finally, pray with humility . . .. (The Gospel According to Spiritism , Ch. 27, Item 4)

The principal quality of prayer is clarity. It should be simple and concise, without useless phraseology or an excess of adjectives which are nothing more than decoration. Each word should be of value in expressing an idea and in touching a fibre of the soul. In short, it should cause you to REFLECT. This is the only in which it can reach its objective, since in any other manner it is nothing but noise. . . . We see lips which move, but by the expression on the faces, we can verify that it is only mechanical, a solely exterior act, to which the soul remains indifferent. (The Gospel According to Spiritism, Ch. 28, Item 1 )


How to Pray

The Spirits have always said: “The form means nothing but the thought is everything. Say your prayers in accordance with your convictions and in the manner which is most agreeable to you since a good thought is worth more than numerous words which do not touch the heart.” (The Gospel According to Spiritism, Ch. 28, Item 1)

Most people pray, but only a very few really know how to pray! Of what importance to God are sentences which are mechanically linked together from habit, a duty to perform which weighs as heavily as any other duty? (The Gospel According to Spiritism, Ch. 27, Item 22)

A good way to structure our prayer is to praise, ask, and give thanks. The idea to first praise is to put ourselves in the position of creatures and understand how humble we should be when addressing our Creator. Next, we should ask for what the prayer was intended to. And lastly, we should finish our invocation with gratitude. No matter how needy we are, there is always something to be thankful for.

THE SPIRITS DO NOT PRESCRIBE AN ABSOLUTE FORMULA FOR PRAYERS. When they do give us one it is merely to help us form our ideas . . .. Or perhaps to offer guidance to those who find it difficult to express their ideas, because there are some who believe they have not prayed properly if they have not been able to formulate their thoughts well. . . . THE OBJECTIVE OF PRAYER IS TO ELEVATE OUR SOUL TO GOD. ((The Gospel According to Spiritism, Ch. 28, Item 1) (Emphasis added.)


When to Pray

• The first duty of all human beings, the first act which should mark the return to activity each day, is prayer. (The Gospel According to Spiritism , Ch. 27, Item 22)

• In the morning hours, open your channels of communication with the eternal for the necessary encouragement that will inspire the tasks to be accomplished that day. At that time, pray for all humanity, for family and acquaintances, and with the necessary serenity, bless the ones immersed in crisis. (Spirit Bezerra de Menezes, excerpt from SEI Bulletin # Nov/Dec, 2001)

• You should pray constantly without seeking your chapel or falling on your knees in public. Daily prayer is the fulfillment of your duty without any exception of any kind whatsoever. Is it not an act of love towards God when you help brothers and sisters in any moral or physical need? Is it not an act of gratitude to lift up your thoughts to Him when something happy occurs, when you avoid an accident, or even when some simple triviality grazes our soul. . . . This is quite apart from regular morning and evening prayer and those for sacred days. As you see, prayer can be for all moments without interrupting your activities. On the contrary, in this manner it sanctifies them. You can be sure that just one these thoughts, if sent from the heart, is listened to by our Celestial Father even more than those long repetitious prayers said out of habit and almost always without any determined motive behind them only because the habitual hour is calling mechanically. ( The Gospel According to Spiritism , Ch. 27, Item 22)


What to Pray For

Your prayer should include a request for [the Lord's] blessings for all those things you really need. Therefore, it is useless to ask the Lord to shorten your tests and trials, or to give you happiness and riches. Preferably ask for more precious items, such as patience, resignation and faith. (The Gospel According to Spiritism, Ch. 27, Item 22 )


Prayers

In addition to the prayers offered below, you can find a collection of prayers, selected among those the Spirits have dictated on several occasions, at Ch. 28 of The Gospel According to Spiritism.

 

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