Prayer for Self Doesn’t Work Unless
“I pray for two hours in meditation. And I think prayer is the one thing which God listens to you. Not he gives the immediate answer but he listen to you I feel it. Because There are many incidents in life I say, by doing the work you know, when the hard cases comes to me and they are very poor and they need thousands of rupees. Then I feel where the funds come, when I approach people, people give me. Or one day a person had been operated but he needed the medicine really badly. The doctors said “Within in a hour you must bring 600 rupees” ($12 or $15 dollars), but he didn’t have it. And my salary at that time was not even ten dollars. But somehow I had the money in my pocket. But whenever I said God “I need these things,” He gives me. Not for myself that I never asked but whatever I ask for my patient or my family, not this family, the family which I work. So whatever, He takes care of them. That is what I observed. People had a kidney problem nobody wanted to donate the kidney and then I said “Look this young chap is going to die”. Three brothers never agreed to give a kidney and I said “Now what to do?” But luckily his dad was not that old. Then he gave so I do not know but whenever I ask God that I’m in this difficulty I ask “Please help me” and He helped me. My mother has taught that if you do any religious law, never do it for your selfish purpose.”
Usha Shah is a career social worker in Mumbai, India. Her life and profession have been driven by her Jain faith, especially the tenet of Jainism to have love and compassion for all living things. I was so deeply moved when Usha shared with me how God always provides a solution for those in need in her life as long as she doesn’t ask on behalf of herself. While I was raised learning Jewish liturgy, I don’t feel that I really learned about personal prayer until later in my life. And what I have come to understand is that prayer for self doesn’t work unless it is prayer to be more useful to others. Usha’s life as a social worker is filled with examples of the Universe providing exactly what is needed for others when it is most needed. Whether it be money for a prescription for a sick client or a client in need of a kidney transplant, Usha’s stance is that she is here to be useful to God and to all living things. And what is so profound for me is that Usha feels she has been given everything in life. I pray that I remember this lesson that life is most meaningful when it is in service of others.