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GUIDE POSTS PRAYER (Bashir Ahmad Orchard) God hears and reponds to all sincere prayer but not always exactly in the manner requested and anticipated by the supplicator. Sometimes there appears to be no apparent result but God knows what He is doing. It may be that He is testing our patience and steadfastness. He knows what is best for us and what is harmful for us. Sometimes He grants us even more than what we requested or expected. Prayer causes God to work in our favour even though we may be unaware of it even as we may be unaware of the process of digestion. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad — the Promised Messiah and Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, laid great stress on the efficacy of prayer and despite his vast spiritual knowledge declared that prayer was his only weapon. Prayer in one form or another is a common feature in all religions. One should pray for specific objectives and preferably for one’s spiritual betterment rather than for one’s mterial benefit although the latter need not be ignored. This aspect of prayer is contained in the opening prayer of the Holy Quran: “Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone do we implore for help. Guide us in the straight path, the path of those on whom Thou has bestowed Thy favours, those who have not incurred Thy displeasure, and those who have not gone astray.” (1:5-7) A prerequisite for effective prayer is the direction of one’s prayer to the One and True God. One should know to whom one is praying and not pray to any vague or false deity. One should pray direct to the One Supreme Being – the Creator of the universe. The same God Who created Jesus and to Whom he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and not to anything or anybody else as the Bible also states: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord your God is One Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” (Deutr 7:4,5) “You shall not go after gods, of the gods of the peoples who are around about you.” (Deutr 7:14) The unity of God has been the cardinal teaching of all revealed religions since the time of Adam. The worship and association of anything or any person with God is condemned and repudiated by the Holy Quran: 4 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS “And worship Allah and associate naught with Him.” (4:37) “Surely associating partners with Allah is a grievous wrong.” (31:14) “Say, He is Allah, the One! Allah the Independent and besought of all. He begets not; nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.”(l 12:2-5) The most important essential, therefore, for the supplicator is to possess the correct conception of God and then to prostrate himself before Him alone. LOST ART OF PRAYER Praying to the Lord is a wonderful thing but the pity of it is that those who pray, do not know the requirements which must be observed while praying. Nor do the people who pray in this age know the ways and manners in which prayers become acceptable to the Lord. Rather the fact is that people are quite ignorant of the very nature of prayer. There are some who do not have any faith in prayer; and there are others who do have faith in prayers but do not have their prayers accepted because they do not know how to pray. (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad)

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