| ||Why I believe in the power of prayer || |
by Uri Geller
You don't have to believe in God to believe that prayer can heal you and make you stronger. Put your faith in medicine and science: prayer works as well in the lab as it does in a church or synagogue.
To pick a few medics at random from my files -
* Dr Dale Matthews, of Georgetown University Medical Centre,
believes his prayers often help patients as much as his prescriptions.
* Dr David Larson, who runs the National Institute for
Healthcare Research, is calling for a full study of statistics which seem to show that people who regularly go to worship have better health and longer lives than their atheistic neighbours.
* Dr Thomas Oxman, a psychiatrist at Dartmouth Medical School
in New Hampshire, interviewed 230 elderly people before open heart surgery - six months later, ten per cent were dead, but all of the 37 who described themselves as "deeply religious" had survived.
I could fill a page with examples like these - of studies featuring remission rates from cancer, of experiments where church congregations prayed for patients they knew only as names at distant hospitals, even of tests by university botanists to show that seedlings grew faster when prayers were directed at them.
If you feel stupid "praying", call it meditation instead.
Psychologist Richard Friedman, who directs research at Harvard's Mind/Body Medical Institute in Boston, believes that a repetitive chant calms the nervous system and instils good health. His colleague Gregg Jacobs has used computer brain scans to study 20 meditators, and believes that even first-time chanters can relax their minds.
"They are able to voluntarily quiet the activity in the frontal lobes of the brain," he said. "These areas are associated with emotional self-regulation and co-ordinate activity in the limbic system, the seat of a person's emotional experience."
I do believe in God. My conviction is that all living things are connected, and that our energy flows between us when we focus our thoughts ardently. We call this prayer. The urge to prayer is instinctive - we all find ourselves doing it in moments of stress and need. One of the miracles of prayer is that you don't have to believe in it: like the sports slogan says, Just Do It.
The faith of a little girl
| ||Peace in the world's great religions || |
CHRISTIANITY: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
CONFUCIANISM: "Seek to be in harmony with all your neighbors...live in peace with your brethren."
BUDDHISM: "There is no happiness greater than peace."
HINDUISM: "Without meditation, where is peace? Without peace, where is happiness?"
ISLAM: "God will guide men to peace. If they will heed Him, He will lead them from the darkness of war to the light of peace."
TAOISM: "The wise esteem peace and quiet above all else."
SIKHISM: "Only in the Name of the Lord do we find our peace."
JUDAISM: "When a man's ways please the Lord he maketh even his enemies be at peace with him."
JAINISM: "All men should live in peace with their fellows. This is the Lord's desire."
ZOROASTRIANISM: "I will sacrifice to peace, whose breath is friendly."
BAHA'I: "War is death while peace is life."
SHINTO: "Let the earth be free from trouble and men live at peace under the protection of the Divine."
Love in the World's Great Religions
CHRISTIANITY: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love."
CONFUCIANISM: "To love all men, is the greatest benevolence."
BUDDHISM: "Let a man cultivate towards the whole world a heart of love."
HINDUISM: "One can best worship the Lord through love."
ISLAM: "Love is this, that thou shouldst account thyself very little and God very great."
TAOISM: "Heaven arms with love those it would not see destroyed."
SIKHISM: "God will regenerate those in whose hearts there is love."
JUDAISM: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself."
JAINISM: "The days are the most profit to him who acts in love."
ZOROASTRIANISM: "Man is the beloved of the Lord and should love him in return."
BAHA'I: "Love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can no wise reach thee."
SHINTO: "Love is the representative of the Lord."
The Golden Rule in the World's Great Religions
CHRISTIANITY: "...All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them..."
CONFUCIANISM: "Do not unto others what you would not they should do unto you."
BUDDHISM: "In five ways should a clansman minister to his friends and familiars - by generosity, courtesy and benevolence, by treating them as he treats himself, and by being as good as his word."
HINDUISM: "Do not unto others, which if done to thee, would cause thee pain."
ISLAM: "No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself."
SIKHISM: "As thou deemest thyself so deem others. Then shalt thou become a partner in heaven."
JUDAISM: "What is hurtful to yourself, do not do to your fellow man."
JAINISM: "In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self."
ZOROASTRIANISM: "That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self."
TAOISM: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your gain and regard your neighbor's loss as your own loss."
If you believe in God then you can contemplate these words.
Life is a journey we do not make alone, for there is One who is with us and within us to share every step of our journey and prepare the path before us. As we take time to contemplate where we are going on our lives' journeys, we know that we have an ever present of the light companion-God.
Let us acknowledge God, our constant friend who knows us and cares for us as we pray:
Dear God, Your steadfast love is my support and my reassurance.
Gently enfolded in Your divine embrace,
I am protected, strengthened, and healed.
What joy I find in knowing You, dear Friend, and what peace I gain in knowing I am never alone. You accept me as I am, and I am grateful for the freedom Your acceptance gives me. Wherever my journey takes me, I am safe and secure with You.
In the stillness of Your presence, I release all that concerns me.
I pause now to rest in this sacred awareness of Your presence, God, and let Your peace enfold me.
I leave my burdens behind as I walk with You, dear God. The road that stretches before me invites me to move beyond the next bend and explore the experiences ahead of me. I proceed with confidence, knowing that You are ever with me. Your infinite love and wisdom direct my footsteps along whatever path I choose.
You are with me to lift my spiritual view, to show me the way to my right path. At each fork in the road, I know that I will make the right decision, because you are there to guide me.
I rest a moment in the silence with You now, opening my mind and heart to the wisdom and inspiration that flow from Your love for me.
God, Your strength fortifies me along my journey. Every step I take moves me deeper into an awareness of divine perfection in mind and body. I live each day surrounded by Your warmth, energy, and love. Infused with Your life, I am whole, well, and strong.
As I breathe deeply and evenly, I feel Your life flowing through me as healing energy. Your breath becomes my own, and every fiber of my being is blessed by Your love within me. I am renewed.
In Your presence, God, I rest again, reassured by Your steadfast love and infinite life that create in me health and wholeness.
Renewed and refreshed, I continue along my path. Your love, dear God, lifts me above any mountain that appears before me. You open my eyes to the beauty and majesty of Your creation, and I know that Your goodness and bounty are mine.
Thank you, dear Friend, for providing for me on my journey through life. I embrace today, tomorrow, and the days to come, knowing that Your goodness prospers me. In this awareness, I rest once again in Your love and give thanks for Your blessings.
It is time now to end our meditative journey and bring our awareness back to this time and place. As we do, our sense of perfect peace and well-being remains in our hearts.
We are rested and confident that we have a Friend who walks with us and lives within us throughout our days.
Also, see "Acts of Faith"