Prayer and Self-Knowledge

Let us consider the nature of prayer—where God is usually worshipped or prayed to as if separate from our Self—in the light of the non-dual teachings. For prayer is a practice common to all the great religions, and it is considered by many to be essential for safe and wise living.

First, what is prayer? Put simply, prayer is a talking to God. Expressed in a more sophisticated way, prayer is a communication made by the human mind, generally through words, to a great being or presence that is thought to be all-knowing and all-powerful, infinite and eternal.

The impulse to pray arises from the conviction that the Supreme Being has the power to help us in any situation. Implicit in this is the belief that God knows our inner condition as well as the outer circumstances, knows us from within, better that we know ourselves. Prayer would be pointless without this belief in one who hears our prayers and knows our heart.

But who and where is this great being that we refer to as the Infinite, God, Allah, the Highest? If such a Power is aware of what is transpiring in our own mind—if it knows the motions of our thought and our sincerity—then it makes no sense to regard such a being as essentially separate from us. As the Sufi poet-sage Rumi says: ‘Thou art an inmost ground of consciousness, witnessing our every thought.’ The great reality must somehow be present in the mind itself.

Subscribe or enrol for free guest access to read all of this article and Self-Knowledge online.

Already subscribed or enrolled? Log in:

This article is from the Spring 2023 issue of Self-Knowledge Journal.