pray_hands.GIF (680 bytes) Prayer & Spirituality
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What Is Prayer?

Prayer comes from the Latin precarius, "obtained by begging" and precari, "to entreat" - to ask earnestly, beseech, implore.

Prayer means many different things to different people. At its most basic level, it is the manifestation of hope in human beings, our ability to say that we don't know everything, that there is something or someone larger and wiser than we are that can guide our lives.

Mahatma Gandhi, father of modern India, described prayer as:

"Prayer is", according to theologian Ann Ulanov and Prof. Barry Ulanov, "the most fundamental, primordial, and important language humans speak. Prayer starts without words and often ends without them. It knows its own evasions, its own infinite variety of dodges. It works some of the time in signs and symbols, lurches when it must, leaps when it can, has several kinds of logic at its disposal."

To L. Crawford,

Prayer may be individual or communal, private or public. It may be offered in words, sigh, gestures or in silence. Prayer may flow from the subconscious. It may even emerge in dreams, completely bypassing waking awareness.

Prayer is probably the world's most widely practiced visualization technique. Those who pray often begin with a relaxation ritual such as attending a house of worship or kneeling by the bed. Then they conjure a personal image of a God or some Higher Power and ask that the requests in their prayers be granted.

Many people feel profoundly calm after praying. Prayer is deeply relaxing, and those who do it regularly are, in effect, meditating. But science cannot explain some remarkable studies showing that to a degree that goes way beyond coincidence, prayer works.

The Scientific Side of Belief

Beliefs may be classified as: convictions that are extrinsic and those that are intrinsic.

Extrinsic belief may include such things as:

What distinguishes extrinsic belief is that it remains in the head and never makes it to the heart. Various studies have demonstrated that these outward practices and affirmations don't have the power in themselves to improve one's spiritual status, emotional well-being, physical health-or much of anything else.

Intrinsic belief is characterized by such qualities as:

This kind of inner belief is the key to real spiritual power. Intrinsic belief has the capacity to spark major personal enrichment in every area of life -including dramatic improvements in physical health, emotional well-being, and fitness.

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