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  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

What is the meaning of prayer?

Why should I pray to God?

Prayer is the compensation of a person’s helplessness. An individual, again and again, experiences helplessness and prayer is his response to such occasions. He calls out to a Being that is above and beyond him.

The Second World War was fought between the Axis Powers and the Allied Powers. During the war, there was a time when it was not sure who would win. The victor side became clear after the atom bomb was dropped. In the famous Yalta Conference, heads of three countries, Russia, Great Britain and the US, had gathered to find a strategy to contain the Axis Powers. Joseph Stalin was

representing Soviet Russia. He was given to read the draft of the strategy and after reading it, he exclaimed suddenly: ‘May God prosper this undertaking!’

At the point where man feels helpless, his nature is bound to call out to the One who is beyond human beings. Therefore, though there is no scientific proof of prayer, it is undoubtedly the experience of every person to call

out to the Supreme Being when he feels utterly helpless.

In the sea, when a ship is on voyage and a storm strikes, there is nothing that a person sees except huge waves of water ready to engulf the ship any moment. It is in such times of helplessness that one spontaneously calls out to God. I had once read that a Russian pilot, who was an atheist, was as usual flying a plane. When his plane got stuck in thunderstorm, he was heard saying, ‘Peter, save us!'

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