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Interreligious dialogue : Spiritual Practice > Prayers

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O ne must not stand up and say the Tefillah except in a serious frame of
mind. The pious men of old used to wait an hour, and then say the prayer,
in order to direct their hearts to their Father in heaven.

Judaism 4384 | 
Mishnah, Berakot 5.1 

A nd when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love
to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they
may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your
Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward

And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for
they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like
them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Christianity 4375 | 
Matthew 6.5-8 

A lways let a man test himself: if he can direct his heart, let him pray;
if he cannot, let him not pray.

Judaism 4374 | 
Berakot 30b 

O f all the prayers of the heart, the best prayer is the prayer to the
Master to be given the grace of properly praising the Lord.

Sikhism 4373 | 
Maru Ashtpadi, M.5, p. 1018 

T o serve the Lord your God with all your heart" [Deuteronomy 11.13].
What is a service with the heart? It is prayer.

Judaism 4372 | 

C all on your Lord with humility and in private.

Islam 4371 | 
Qur'an 7.55 

L ord of creation! no one other than thee
pervades all these that have come into being.
May that be ours for which our prayers rise,
may we be masters of many treasures!

Hinduism 4369 | 
Rig Veda 10.121.10 

E stablish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches
of the night: for those things that are good remove those that are evil.
This is a word of remembrance to those who remember.

Islam 4368 | 
Qur'an 11.114 

P rayer restrains one from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of
God is the greatest thing in life, without doubt.

Islam 4367 | 
Qur'an 29.45 

C ast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.

Judaism 4366 | 

Y ou will feel restless for God when your heart becomes pure and your mind free from attachment to the things of the world. Then alone will your prayer reach God. A telegraph wire cannot carry messages if it has a break or some other defect.

Hinduism 3900 | 
Nikhilananda, 1942; p. 375 

A h me! oft do I feel such pangs of separation from my Beloved that I am like to die unless I see Him.
Maiden, hearken to the tale of my agony; I am restless without my Beloved.
In my yearning desire for the Beloved I break into song day and night; I pour out my woes like the nightingale.
Ah me! Who will bring me to my Beloved? Who will show me His path and console my heart?
Dadu says: 0 Lord, let me see Thy face, even for a moment, and be blessed.

Others Beliefs 3860 | 
Psalm 7, Pad 151; Orr, 1947, p. 66 

O my Lord God, most faithful lover, when Thou comest into my heart, all that is within me doth joy! Thou art my glory and the joy of my heart, my hope and my whole refuge in all my troubles. But -inasmuch as I am yet feeble in love and imperfect in virtue, therefore I have need to have more comfort and more help from Thee. Consent, therefore, oftentimes to visit me and to instruct me with Thy holy teachings. Deliver me from all evil passions and heal my sick heart from all earthly pleasure, that I may be inwardly healed and purged from all inordinate affections and vices, and be made ready and able to love Thee, strong to suffer for Thee, and stable to persevere in Thee.

Christianity 3824 | 
History of Myticism, Abhayananda, 1998; pp. 293 

T he door by which we can enter this castle is prayer. It is absurd to think that we can enter Heaven without first entering our own souls -- without getting to know ourselves, and reflecting upon the wretchedness of our nature and what we owe to God, and continually imploring His mercy.

Christianity / Catholicism 3471 | 
Interior Castle. Trans. E. Allison Peers. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1990, p. 53, Second Mansions, Chapter 1, paragraph 12 

B ut we do not need to be totally present in our other activities, such as eating and drinking, our comings and goings, and the like. If we wish to feel the fruit of true prayer, while at the same time performing our various other occupations, we are to keep our heart totally present to God. If we are tempted while praying, it is because our hearts are not totally committed to prayer.

Christianity / Catholicism 3446 | 
Complete Works. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1993, p. 260 

T he soul cannot have true knowledge of God through its own efforts or by means of any created thing, but only by divine light and by a special gift of divine grace. I believe there is no quicker or easier way for the soul to obtain this divine grace from God, supreme Good and supreme Love, than by a devout, pure, humble, continual, and violent prayer.

By prayer I mean not merely prayer from the mouth, but of the mind and heart, of all the powers of the soul and senses of the body. This is the prayer prayed by the soul who wills and desires to find this divine light, studying, meditating and reading without cease in the Book and the more-than-a-book of Life. This Book of Life is the entire life of Christ while he lived as a mortal on earth.

Christianity / Catholicism 3444 | 
Complete Works. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1993, p. 302 

W hen you are praying, do not shape within yourself any image of the Deity, and do not let your intellect be stamped with the impress of any form; but approach the Immaterial in an immaterial manner, and then you will understand.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3387 | 
On Prayer: ("Philokalia (Vol. 1)", p. 63, text 67) 

H e who wishes to be spared all misfortunes should associate God with everything through prayer; with his intellect he should set his hope in Him, putting aside, so far as possible, all concern about things of the senses.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3386 | 
On the Spiritual Law: ("Philokalia (Vol. 1)", p. 140, text 172) 

Y ou cannot attain pure prayer while entangled in material things and agitated by constant cares. For prayer means the shedding of thoughts.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3384 | 
On Prayer: ("Philokalia (Vol. 1)", pp. 62-63, text 71) 

S tand on guard and protect your intellect from thoughts while you pray. Then your intellect will complete its prayer and continue in the tranquility that is natural to it. In this way He who has compassion on the ignorant will come to you, and you will receive the blessed gift of prayer.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3383 | 
On Prayer: ("Philokalia (Vol. 1)", p. 63, text 70) 

W hen your intellect in its great longing for God gradually withdraws from the flesh and turns away from all thoughts that have their source in your sense-perception, memory or soul-body temperament, and when it becomes full of reverence and joy, then you may conclude that you are close to the frontiers of prayer.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3382 | 
On Prayer: ("Philokalia (Vol. 1)", pp. 62-63, text 62) 

T ry to make your intellect deaf and dumb during prayer, you will then be able to pray.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 3361 | 
On Prayer: ("Philokalia (Vol. 1)") 

E veryone can attain Knowledge. There are two entities: jivatma, the individual soul, and Paramatma, the Supreme Soul. Through prayer all individual souls can be united to the Supreme Soul.

Hinduism 3180 | 
Mahendranath Gupta. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Trans. Swami Nikhilananda. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1942, 1948, 1958, p. 247 

R abia was once asked, "How did you attain that which you have attained?"
"By often praying, 'I take refuge in You, O God, from everything that distracts me from You, and from every obstacle that prevents me from reaching You.'"

Islam / Sufism 3145 | 
translation by Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut - 'Perfume of the Desert' 

B efore the time of Prayer comes, the servant must be in a state of preparation and his attitude must be that which is essential for prayer, namely, a state of meditation and recollection, free-from wandering thoughts and consideration or remembrance of anything save God alone. Those who enter in this way upon prayer, with heart intent only upon God, will proceed from prayer to prayer in that same state of recollection and will remain in that state after they have ceased to pray.

Islam / Sufism 3003 | 
al-Sarraj, Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.159 

D uring prayer, God lifts the veils and opens the gates of the invisible, so that His servant is standing in front of Him. The prayer creates a secret connection between the one praying and the One prayed to.
Prayer is a threshold at the entrance to God's reality.

Islam 2991 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.204 

O nce Hasan al-Basri went to Habib al-'Ajami at the time of evening prayers. Hasan heard al-'Ajami mispronounce a word during the prayer. He considered it improper to say his prayers with him, and therefore said them separately. During the night he dreamed the Lord spoke to him: "Hasan, if you had stood behind al-'Ajami and said your prayers, you would have earned Our pleasure, and that single prayer of yours would have borne thee greater benefit than all prayers taken together that you have offered in your lifetime. You found fault with his pronunciation but ignored the purity and excellence of his heart. Know it that We cherish a contrite heart much more than the correct pronunciation of words.

Islam / Sufism 2962 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.110 

S omeone asked what there was that was superior to prayer. One answer is that "the soul" of prayer is better than prayer. The second answer is that faith is better than prayer.
Prayer consists of five-times-a-day performance, whereas faith is continuous. Prayer can be dropped for a valid excuse and may be postponed by license; faith cannot be dropped for any excuse and may not be postponed by license. Again, faith without prayer is beneficial, whereas prayer without faith confers no benefit.

Islam / Sufism 2935 | 
Essential Sufism, by James Fadiman & Robert Frager, Harper SanFrancisco, p.152 

I repeat, it is necessary that your foundation consist of more than prayer and contemplation. If you do not strive for the virtues and practice them, you will always be dwarfs. So be occupied in prayer not for the sake of enjoyment but so as to have the strength to serve. Mary and Martha must combine.

Christianity / Catholicism 2844 | 
Saint Teresa of Avila, from The Interior Castle, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1979). 

T hen a man sees that the Kingdom of Heaven is truly within us; and seeing it now in himself, he strives with pure prayer to keep it and strengthen it there.

Christianity / Orthodoxy 2811 | 
Nicephorus the Solitary, adapted from Writings from the Philokalia on the Prayer of the Heart, translated by E. Kadloubosky and G. E. H. Palmer (London: Faber & Faber, 1990). 

H e who learns the Torah and is not troubled by it, who sins and forgives himself, who prays because he prayed yesterday-the worst scoundrel is better than he!

Judaism / Hassidism 2783 | 
Martin Buber’s ten rungs, collected Hassidic saying, p.96 

W hat counts is to restrain the blaze in the hour of desire and let it flow into the hours of prayer and service.

Judaism / Hassidism 2782 | 
Martin Buber’s ten rungs, collected Hassidic saying, p.95 

T o commune with your Maker in solitude and silence, to recite psalms and pray to him-this it is good to do with your whole heart, until you are overwhelmed with weeping and weep to God as a child weeps to its father. But to weep according to plan in the midst of prayer-that is unworthy! He who does so can no longer say what he says with a whole heart, and the truly great weeping will not overwhelm him. Even thoughts about prayer are like "alien thoughts" which hinder the soul from fixing itself wholly upon God.
There are people who can utter words of prayer with true fervor, so that the words shine like a precious stone whose radiance shines of itself. Then again there are people whose words are nothing but a window that has no light of its own, but only lets the light in and shines for that reason.

Judaism / Hassidism 2751 | 
Martin Buber’s ten rungs, collected Hassidic saying, p.30 

T he psalm reads: "For singing to our God is good."
It is good if man can so bring it about that God sings within him.

Judaism / Hassidism 2749 | 
Martin Buber’s ten rungs, collected Hassidic saying, p.30 

W hen a Jew is about to say: 'Blessed art thou, 0 Lord our God, King of the world," and prepares to utter the first word, the word "blessed," he shall do so with all his strength, so that he will have no strength left to say "art thou." And this is the meaning of the verse in the Scriptures: "But they that wait for the Lord shall exchange their strength." What we are really saying is: "Our Father in heaven, I am giving you all the strength that is within me in that very first word; now will you, in exchange, give me an abundance of new strength, so that I can go on with my prayer."

Judaism / Hassidism 2748 | 
Martin Buber’s ten rungs, collected Hassidic saying, p.29 

H e who prays in sorrow because of the bleakness which burdens his spirit, and thinks he is praying in the fear of God, or he who prays in joy because of the radiance in his spirit, and thinks he is praying in the love of God-his prayers are no good at all. For his fear is the burden of sadness, and his love is nothing but empty joy.

Judaism / Hassidism 2747 | 
Martin Buber’s ten rungs, collected Hassidic saying, p.28 

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