Allan Kardec

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658. Is prayer pleasing to God?
“Prayer is always pleasing to God when it comes from the heart. Intention is everything in God’s eyes and a prayer from the heart is preferable to one read from a book, no matter how beautiful it may be, if you read more with the lips than with the thought. Prayer is pleasing to God when it is offered with faith, passion and sincerity. God will ignore the prayer of a vain, proud or selfish person, unless it is offered as an act of sincere repentance and humility.”

659. What is the general nature of prayer?
“Prayer is an act of worship. Praying to God is a mean to think, get closer and communicate with God. A person who prays may do three things: praise, ask and offer thanks.”

660. Does prayer make humankind better?
“Yes. Those who enthusiastically and confidently pray have more strength to withstand the temptations of evil, and to get help from the good spirits sent by God to assist them in so doing. Such help is never refused when honestly asked for.”

a) How is it that some individuals who pray for long periods of time are sometimes repulsive, jealous, envious and harsh, lacking in compassion and mercy, and even extremely cruel?
“What matters is how you pray, and not how much you pray. These individuals presume that all the virtue of prayer lies in its length and duration, and turn a blind eye to their own flaws. For them, prayer is an occupation, a means of passing their time, but not a true study of themselves. In these instances, it is not the remedy that is ineffective, but the manner in which it is employed.”

661. Is there any use in asking God to forgive us for our faults?
“God sees good and bad, and prayer does not hide any flaws. Those who ask God to forgive their faults only obtain that forgiveness if they change their behavior. Good actions are the best prayers, because actions are worth more than words.”

662. Can we pray effectively for others?
“People who pray exercise an influence through their desire to do good. By prayer, they attract good spirits who take part in the good they desire to do.”

Through our thought and will, we possess a power of action that extends far beyond the limits of our physical world. To pray for others is an act of volition. If our will is passionate and sincere, it calls good spirits to the aid of the party prayed for, and helps that person by suggesting good thoughts and providing the strength of body and soul that he or she needs. Once again, a prayer from the heart is everything, while that of just the lips is worthless.

663. Can we avoid our trials or change their nature by praying for ourselves?
“Your trials are in God’s hands, and there are some through which you must persevere right to the very end. God always takes into account the submission with which they are endured. Prayer calls good spirits to your side who give you strength to bear these trials with courage, so that they seem less severe. Prayer is never useless when it is sincere, because it gives you strength, which is important. After all, ‘Heaven helps those who help themselves.’ God could not change the natural circumstances to suit the various opposing demands that are made, because what appears to be a great misfortune to you, from your narrow perspective, and in relation to your temporary life on Earth, is often a great blessing for the general order of the universe. Anyway, how many troubles in life do humans create for themselves through their own short-sightedness or wrongdoing! One is punished where one has sinned. However, reasonable requests are granted more often than you believe. You think your prayer has not been answered because God has not produced a miracle for you, while in fact God has actually assisted you in such a natural manner that it seems to have been the effect of chance or the ordinary course of events. God even suggests the thought of what you must do to help yourselves when in trouble or when experiencing any kind of difficulty.”

664. Is there any point in praying for the dead or suffering spirits? If so, in what way can our prayers alleviate or shorten their suffering? Do they have the power to escape God’s justice?
“Prayer has no effect on God’s designs, but the spirits for whom you pray are consoled by your prayers because you are showing them proof of your interest. They are comforted by the kindness of those who are compassionate towards their pain. Your prayers may also motive them to repent and to do everything within their power to become happy. This is how you may shorten the term of their suffering, provided that they support your action by that of their own wills. This desire for betterment, motivated by your prayers, attracts higher spirits who come to enlighten them, console them and give them hope. Jesus prayed for the sheep that went astray, and in so doing showed that you, in order to have a clear conscience, must do the same for those who desperately need your prayers.”

665. What should we think of the opinion that rejects the idea of praying for the dead because it is not noted in the Gospel?
“Christ preached to all humanity to ‘Love one another.’ This implies the duty of using every possible means of showing affection for each other, without going into any details in terms of reaching that end. If it is true that nothing can stop the Creator from applying absolute justice, then your prayer, on behalf of suffering spirits, is accepted as proof of honor and acknowledgment, which never fails to bring relief to the subjects. As soon as those for whom you pray show the slightest sign of repentance, and only then, help is sent to them. They are always informed that a sympathetic heart has thought of them, and they are always left with the consoling impression that this friendly intervention has been of use to them. Therefore, your prayer induces gratitude and affection for the friend who has given them this proof of kindness and pity. The mutual love that Christ shines upon all humankind either develops further or awakens between you and them. Both you and those for whom you pray will have obeyed the law of love and union imposed on all the beings of the universe, a Divine law that will introduce the reign of unity and harmony, the ultimate goal of all spirits.” (1)

(1) Response given by the spirit of Mr. Monod, Protestant priest from Paris, died in April 1856. The previous response, no. 664, is that of the spirit of Saint Louis. A.K

666. Can we pray to spirits?
“You can pray to good spirits since they are God’s messengers and they execute God’s will. Their power is always proportionate to their superiority, and depends entirely on the Master of all things, without whose permission nothing takes place. For this reason, prayers addressed to them are only effective if accepted by God.”

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