It was late afternoon when I felt a compelling need to call one of my introverted, silent and mysterious friends.
His father hadn’t been feeling anything at all, let alone ill; he was in a partial coma after a serious accident a few weeks ago, and last I heard from my friend he was kept alive artificially.
So, I felt this need to call him and ask about his father, but then I forgot. A few hours later, I opened Facebook and found the news of his father’s death on my newsfeed.
I am a person who is deeply affected by anything happening to anyone’s father. Somehow, during the process of growing up, I ended up developing an intense empathy for my father, which allows me to connect to and feel the pain and joys of anything going wrong or well for fathers in general.
I am writing these words within a few minutes of acquiring this awareness of my friend’s father’s death. And with something growing painfully in my throat, each moment that I gulp I remember that I had prayed for this man.
I had never met my friend’s dad but indeed I had prayed for him with all my soul components combined.
So, where did my prayer go?
Do prayers ever work?
Do prayers die with a person?
And lastly, is it important to pray? Is there any benefit in praying?
These questions in my mind may sound mechanical or philosophical to some, but right now, in a moment of grief, these are merely emotional speculations for me. I need to get these speculations clear in order to make sense of my grief, or the way I would like to see grief from now on.
Do Prayers Ever Work?
Yes. I would like to think that prayers work. We would all love to believe that prayers work, no matter how skeptical we are in our professional lives or how scientific our work is. We would all love to believe in the power of prayer, even if we have few things in life to have faith in.
Prayers work because they make us feel better.
Even all that scientific stuff concludes that praying changes the chemistry of our brains positively, if done regularly.
From our personal experiences, we know that praying for a loved one may or may not change their pain or situation, but it does eliminates the pain that we feel for them. I will keep praying for my friend’s father until I feel better or hopeful for his soul being in a heavenly spot.
Do Prayers Die With A Person?
What about the prayers of those who have died? What about all those prayers of prosperity and wellness my friend’s father may have made for his son? Does it mean my friend won’t be able to find prosperity and wellness in his life now that his father has died?
Say I deeply love a human and pray most of my life for his well-being and good fortune; are you telling me that all these prayers would be gone with me once I die? Are you f***ing kidding me? These prayers are the most sacred part of my soul, they are like savings of my entire life work, and they are just going with me, no longer applicable after my death?.
I do not believe in this. Even if the person dies, the prayers of that person surround us forever.
They guard us in all ways possible. And that’s what I am going to say to my friend. I believe that his father’s prayers will forever surround and protect him. Death would never end this relationship. The heaviness and repetition of prayer words is not something we can ignore or take for granted if we truly believe in soul.
Is There Any Benefit In Praying?
How great do we feel when we know that a loved one is praying for us in our hard times?
How good do we feel when we can do nothing about a difficult situation except pray?
I did not realise the potential of a prayer until I had no other practical options left. I was on my knees at my most vulnerable, having the most intimate conversation with myself and the divine in the form of prayer. Prayer taught me a lesson in humility when it cleansed my insides with my own tears of helplessness. And I am thinking what possible benefit we can we have in praying? Can I not see it?
Not only does it connect people with each other instantly, it makes us evolve spiritually as well by reminding us of our limitations as humans. A prayer accepted is a lifetime transformation of self into a humble human being.
In these times, we may find it annoying when someone tells us that they would remember us in prayers. We may get skeptical that there is no significance in praying, that only lazy people who cannot do anything to help us would tell us that they would pray.
But, prayer is an act of soul—an act that doesn’t die with our death.
It is comforting to know that some part of my love will always surround the people I care deeply for, even if I die. It is comforting to have this awareness that someone we have lost will still be making a difference in our lives through all those prayers they have left behind—even if they no longer exist in our world.
It is comforting to know that there is an option of absolute surrender to our human limitations when we are helpless, an option that makes us humble but never lets us feel humiliated—prayer.
Author: ZauFishan Qureshi
Editor: Toby Israel