The baskets of prayers

We can thank God by leading ethical lives of nonviolence, truthfulness, purity, humility and selfless service.

By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj

There is a story about how God sent two angels to earth to listen to the prayers of humanity. One angel was asked to collect all the prayers in which people asked God for something. The other angel was asked to collect all the prayers of thanksgiving.

The two angels descended to earth and began their task. They agreed to meet back in a month with their results. The angel collecting prayers asking God for something, soon became extremely busy. There were prayers that people had to help them earn more money, or get a windfall, or win a lottery. There were prayers for God to cure people of illnesses. There were many prayers for improved health of one’s children, spouse, parents, siblings, relatives, and friends.

The angel filled the basket with prayers that people had for worldly objects such as a bigger house, newer car, latest computer , jewelry, expensive clothing, and for their children new toys. Some people prayed to God for a husband or wife, for children or better relationships. There were so many prayers asking for things that the angel had to obtain a van while on earth to carry them all around!

In the meantime the other angel traveled far and wide looking to fill the basket with prayers of thankfulness. One day passed, two days passed, three days passed, but no prayers of gratitude were heard, the angel visited young people and elderly people, men and women, people of all countries, all religions and all economic levels. Still not a prayer of thankfulness was heard. All that this angel heard were the prayers asking for things. Wondering whether it was missing something, the angel got on the angel hot-line to contact the other angel and asked whether its basket of prayers was being filled.

“Oh, Yes, I have not only filled one basket, but have filled many more,” said the angel. “But in all my collecting, I have not heard any prayers of thankfulness either.”

For the rest of the month, the two angels fulfilled their mission, and were ready to return to God. The angel collecting prayers of requests was laden with many baskets. The angel collecting prayers of thankfulness had hardly any in the basket.

There were a few prayers of thankfulness, but a tiny amount compared to the prayers of requests.

When God was presented with their findings, God sighed. “This is nothing new,” said God. “You now have a taste of what it is like being God. People are always praying for something from Me, which is all right because at least they are thinking of Me. But few ever thank Me.”

This story illustrates our human condition. In life, many people request others to do something for them, but how many people take an equal amount of time to thank them. Similarly, we pray to God for so many things that we want, but how many take the time to thank God?

The post office receives many letters from children addressed to Santa Claus before Christmas. Yet, after Christmas, children do not typically send a letter to Santa thanking him for what they received.

The next time the two angels are sent by God to come to earth to collect the prayers of human beings, let us not disappoint the one collecting prayers of thanksgiving. Let us be among those who thank God for the gifts we have received. Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving in the right spirit of the festival. Let us be among those who can thank God for the many gifts we have received-for our human birth, for our health, for our food, clothing and shelter, and for our families. Let us also thank God for our education and for our jobs. However, let us not thank God merely with words but with our deeds. We can thank God by leading ethical lives of nonviolence, truthfulness, purity, humility and selfless service. The deed most appreciated by God is meditating daily so that we can connect with the inner Light and Sound which is the means by which we can return to our True Home in the shortest possible time.

Image courtesy of Provided

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