SUNDAY SERVICE: What is the Best Way to Pray? – Shantidev

Sunday Service Week 43: What Is the Best Way to Pray?

Reading from Rays of the One Light

Truth is one and eternal. Realize oneness with it in your deathless Self, within.

The following commentary is based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.

Jesus Christ and Sri Krishna, both, advised praying to God as personal. Yet both emphasized also that God is above form, and that He must be sought, ultimately, in Infinity. As Jesus put it, “God is a spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

Yet he spoke of God constantly as our Heavenly Father. In what is known as the Lord’s Prayer, he proposed a very human prayer to the Heavenly Father, asking fulfillment for all our spiritual needs.

The Bhagavad Gita explains that man, living as he does in a human body, finds it difficult to worship Infinity as though the ego and body didn’t even exist. Far better for human beings, Krishna says, to work with reality as we know it than to affirm a reality of which the human mind is incapable of forming any clear notion. Encouraging the devotee in this direction, he says, “O Arjuna, be thou a yogi!”—that is to say, be one who works with, not in rejection of, the energies of the body and the natural tendencies of the mind.

In the twelfth Chapter of the Gita, Arjuna asks:

“Those who, ever steadfast, worship Thee as devotees [that is to say, in an “I” and “Thou” relationship], and those who contemplate Thee as the immortal, unmanifested Spirit—which group is the better versed in yoga?”

The blessed Lord replied: “Those who, fixing their minds on Me, adore Me, ever united to Me through supreme devotion, are in My eyes the perfect knowers of yoga. . . .

“Those whose strict aim is union with the Unmanifested choose a more difficult way; arduous for embodied beings is the path of dedication to the Absolute”—the path, that is to say, of Gyana Yoga.

Thus, through holy scripture, God has spoken to mankind.

Reading from Affirmations for Self-Healing

Many people confuse progress with movement and with outward change. Thus, the more dust of excitement they can stir up, the more productive they feel they are! The more they get swept up into a happy mood when things go well, the better, they imagine, things have gone. And their answer to every slump is to cast about for some other thing to sweep them high once more. Such lives are like cars driven over deeply rutted roads: Their movement is almost as much up and down as it is forward.

With even-mindedness, progress is a straight, not a jagged, line. Progress, however, should mean above all progressive understanding. Even-mindedness bestows clarity of perception, which is the ability to see things as they really are, undistorted by emotional bias.

Practice this affirmation out loud, guided by Swami Kriyananda

I remain untouched by gain or loss. In the calm mirror of my understanding I behold Thy light reflected.


When I rejoice, Lord, let it be with Thee. And when I grieve, help me always to see Thy sunlight through the mists.

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