Growing up in a Hindu family, prayers and rituals have always been an integral part of my religious practices. But because I never understood the meanings of Sanskrit mantras or these rituals, a part of me felt disconnected from God whenever I tried chanting.
And that made me feel ashamed, thinking that there’s something wrong with me for not praying seriously enough. Eventually, watching the Indian TV show, Devon ke Dev Mahedev reinforced the idea that God doesn’t need to be flattered. That our connection with God isn’t just through repeating sacred verses or any of that.
Truth be told, prayers aren’t for God. God doesn’t need any of that flattery or pleasing. Really, it’s for US.
Let me start by clarifying the misconception that “God comes to us when we pray”. God is omnipresent. Well if you’re rolling your eyes at the use of the term God (because you are thinking of one specific energy), then let me rephrase.
The Universe is omnipresent.
Thus, in prayer, WE go to God.
What does that mean?
As we establish a connection with the ‘beyond’, we work to eliminate the heavy densities of fear and doubt. So, we start moving up the ladder, to start operating in a lighter state of knowing.
This often occurs in our worst times, when we remember, or at least hope to be assured, that life can’t be this bad. That there must be grace somewhere. And when we reach out to it, we take our leap of faith.
So, the Universe is always subtly present but in true, deep-felt prayer, the subtlety becomes a roaring presence.
And thus, the grace we seek is no longer subtle either. Our life speeds up.
Have I experienced this personally? YES. In today’s list, there’s a personal story associated with it, to help you see the power of spiritual prayers.
Of course, there would be no point chanting a prayer if you didn’t know what it meant. Because, any act of devotion is only as meaningful as you, the person praying can intend it to be. So, I’ve shared the meanings for each, that you can invoke in your heart. In the section after that, I’ve also shared vivid stories and tools to reflect the power of praying for other people.
4 Life-Changing Spiritual Prayers with Meanings
More than religious, I now see these as deeply personal and spiritual prayers. And I’ve noticed that by engaging in chanting or listening to these sacred conversations with the Universe, I get great comfort whenever my mind is rattled.
#1 – Om Chanting
MEANING : OM, or AUM, is the sound of vibration that reverberates throughout each particle of the universe, of existence. When you become one with this prayer, you become one with existence itself.
Here’s some beautiful OM chanting music.
MY STORY : I started chanting Om when I first began meditation and my mindset was very pessimistic, and depressive. Within a week, this simple chant lifted that heavy cloud and for the first time in months, my mind felt like there was hope. I talk more about my meditation stories in this dedicated post, and as you will find, this simple AUM word with its high vibrations was just the beginner’s luck I was aching for!
#2 – Heartfulness Prayer
Thou art the real goal of human life.
We are yet but slaves of wishes
Putting bar to our advancement.
Thou art the only God and Power
To bring us up to that stage.
MEANING : The first part of this prayer affirms our goal – enlightenment. The second part refers to our present state, acknowledging that we are the creators of our own problems and that our wishes and attachments are obstacles to our progress. The third statement points to the source of our liberation, recognizing that it is God alone who can help us rise to the higher state of existence.
(meaning extracted from : http://www.sahajmarg.org/sm/practice/prayer-meditation)
Here is a guided meditation from the Heartfulness program that you can pray along with.
MY STORY : A few years later into my journey of meditation, I faced a time where I was meditating daily but still felt quite restless and moody. I was doing the “inner reflection” but I hadn’t quite grasped that there were other elements to make my meditation practice effective. The Heartfulness Way came to me like serendipity and changed my life.
There are 3 parts to this methodology – the first invites you to be intentional with your prayers (by focusing directly on the Universe/God), the second encourages us to meditate on our Heart Center, and the third practice is about “cleaning” the mess we might discover inside, by letting that energy move through our back.
These step-by-step practices combined with the fact that the teachings were non-religious and open to interpretation brought me immense peace and clarity. While I am not a regular practitioner of the meditations shared above, I’ve adopted the teachings to help me deepen my connection with the Universe.
#3 – Lotus Sutra
Namyo Ho Renge Kyo
MEANING : I am devoted to the mystical law of Cause and Effect. In other words, repeating this prayer is a reminder to ourselves to be Conscious of our actions, and to let the Universe help us rapidly clear it. The faster you pray on this mantra, it is believed that life moves faster too!
In case you find it tricky to pronounce, here’s a powerful online version you can sing to.
MY STORY : I chanted this prayer for one hour, and three days later, I met my to-be in-laws and one week later, my now-husband! Before this, we had been actively searching for the ‘right guy’ for several months to no avail. It was this prayer that assured me that sometimes our life is just a few chants away from completing a life-old promise and experiencing a true transformation.
Did life speed up? Oh boy, it did! I got married within the next 6 months and it was time for me to move to a completely different continent, with a new career path and family. I’ve seen this magic of Buddhist prayer in not just marriage, but in propelling many areas of life. And not just for me, but for many others that religiously practice it.
#4 – Forgiveness, Grace & Protection Prayer
I often heard my grandfather say this prayer in Hindi, which translates to,
If I have created bad Karma, please forgive me.
Please grace me.
Please protect me.
MEANING : The beauty is in its simplicity. When you seek humble forgiveness, when you acknowledge the karmic debts, you walk towards liberation. We alone cannot understand our Karma, because we are not that Conscious or evolved, but the all-knowing within each of us can help us act in a way to release them and free us.
MY STORY : This prayer humbles me, every time. Having been hearing it in passing ever since I was a kid, it always reminds me that I’m only a part of the grand scheme of things. And I’m only here to play my part. This spiritual prayer, in a truer sense is for those that want to become a Karma Yogi – the one who is no longer attached to the fruit of his/her labor.
In that way, when there are moments when I’m filled with resentment, this prayer inherited from my wonderful grandfather clears my head and the hurt.
Can you pray for other people?
Praying for other people, in general, is a pure act of kindness. My understanding is that while praying for others does NOT mean their karmic debts will be nullified, I do believe in the Universe’s grace, every time we seek divine intervention.
A few years ago, one Sunday evening, I felt compelled to get up and start chanting a sacred Sanskrit mantra, called Mritunjaya. This powerful chanting is believed to save us from a painful death, and liberate the soul when the time comes. I didn’t know why chanting was so important that night, until the following morning.
A friend called me, telling me about their motorbike skidding across the highway and almost getting into a fatal accident. I was relieved and at the same time stunned how the Universe had called me into action, to be a catalyst for this friend’s protection.
It wasn’t my place to tell the friend about what had happened the night before, but it was reaffirming to witness first hand that prayer can protect even those that we have no idea need the protection.
Ever since, my faith in praying for other people has truly deepened. I’ll be sharing some tools and techniques I like to use in the next section.
Even one of my lovely clients, Nidhi shares her story with chanting the above mantra. She said,
“I had a similar urge [to chant Mrityunjaya] before my father had a brain haemorrhage. I believe in intuition, so even though I was puzzled, I started chanting it when this urge came upon me.
Not sure after how many days (but within a month), but my mother messaged me that papa had pain in right arm and he didn’t have much energy to even get up. His arm was also shivering.
As I live in a different city, I requested a cousin to get papa’s tests done. Blood was detected in the brain in MRI scan. So I immediately flew down, with lots of thoughts crossing my mind, questions like if i will be really helpful.. but to my surprise things just flowed.
There were obstacles in getting the operation done, hospital didn’t co-operate, had to immediately shift him to another hospital and what not. ..but everything was just flowing. That day I felt the divine hand behind me and I don’t question it any longer.”
Here’s another powerful story that spiritual speaker, Caroline Myss shares about the power of praying for other people. It gives me goosebumps every time I hear her narrate the event. I hope you’ll enjoy it too.
Also, as per the amazing spiritual text, Old Path White Clouds, by Thich Nhat Hanh, even the Buddha would hold prayers for other people.
The energy of prayer is much higher than that of anxiety or helplessness, and my consensus is that if you can’t take any other actions, pray for the person to receive the right guidance, synchronicities and actions from those around that can help them.
What are some ways you can pray for other people? Here are some ideas you might like exploring.
Tools: 4 Ways to pray for other people
To begin with, I like to pray for the love & light in each person’s heart to be awakened. When I pray keeping someone in mind, I like to visualize an orb of light in that person growing as I send that prayer out into the Universe.
Here’s a guided prayer and imagery I’ve created for us to pray together for the healing of the collective consciousness.
You can also consider chanting any of the above spiritual prayers on a rosary, dedicating x-number of rounds to the well-being of that person (or group of people).
And one last, but probably the sweetest tool that my sister-in-law taught to me is to go to a nearby water body and pray on small pebbles. As you complete each prayer, throw it into the water in a way that it creates maximum ripples, to symbolize a “ripple effect” of grace in that person’s life.
The path of prayer (called Bhakti Yog in Sanskrit), helps us develop that connection with the Universe through stillness, surrender and gratitude; key components to Self Actualization.
Did you know, there are actually four paths to enlightenment, as explained by Eastern philosophy? Praying is one of those paths. When we practice a mixture of the different paths, we enhance our spiritual connection with the Universe. If this intrigues you, here’s a resource that dives deeper into the other paths:
Vasundhra is the Founder & Writer of My Spiritual Shenanigans. After seeing 11:11 on the clock one fateful night, her life turned around. Ever since, she has been blending modern psychology and ancient spirituality, to help herself and people around the world elevate the quality of their lives.
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