Chinese Natural Healing by Stephen Lau
WHY PRAYERS ARE SELDOM ANSWERED
From the perspectives of the TAO wisdom of Lao Tzu
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Why Prayers Are Not Answered

Many believe that their prayers are seldom answered, or not answered at all. If you are one of them, then you should ask: Why?

There is an old proverb that says: “He who cannot ask cannot live.” Life is all about asking questions, and seeking answers from all the questions asked.

Albert Einstein once said: “Thinking is difficult; that’s why so few people do it.”

Thinking is a process of self-intuition through asking relevant questions to create self-awareness and self-reflection. It’s the natural habit of the human mind to try to solve all problems by asking questions. Through the process of solving problems, the human mind may then make things happen.

So, asking all relevant questions is self-empowerment of the human mind to increase wisdom because it initiates the intent to learn, to discover, and then to change for the better.

Here are some of the questions you may want to ask yourself concerning why your prayers are seldom answered, or not answered at all:


What is a prayer?

Jesus said: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Is a prayer just your way of asking for something that you want or desire?

Is it your personal request to the Creator to make something happen or not happen in your life?

Is it your conversation or a means of communication with the Creator to further develop your relationship with Him?

Is it your way of seeking advice from the Creator to help you deal with your own life’s problems and challenges?

Is it your asking the Creator for His blessings that you think you may be entitled to?

Or is it none of the above?

Are you spiritual? What is spirituality?

For a believer, spirituality is the inexplicable communication and the subtle relationship with God.

For a non-believer, spirituality is the invisible connection to a Higher Being, who seems to have inexplicable control over certain things in life, such as life and death.

Even for those without a specific religion, they may still have a soul or spirit, because their spirituality is their own conscience that intuitively tells them what’s right and wrong, and not just following the laws and orders of their country. 

In many ways, spirituality is like a shadow that follows us: sometimes we see more of it, and sometimes we see less of it; but it’s always there, forever following us wherever we go, whether we like it or not. Spirituality is always present whenever we focus less on ourselves and more on others.

Does God exist?

Many do believe that God exists-but His existence is no more than the existence of the sun, the moon, and the planets.

Few believe that God plays a pivotal role in their daily lives.

Even fewer believe that they can somehow communicate with God in their daily prayers.


The bottom line: Are you spiritual?

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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Death and Dying

“Life begets death; one is inseparable from the other.
One is form; the other is formless.
Each gives way to the other.
One third of people focus on life, ignoring death.
One third of people focus on death, ignoring life.
One third of people think of neither, just drifting along.
They all suffer in the end.
      
Trusting the Creator, we have no illusion about life and death.
Holding nothing back from life, we are ready for death,
just as a man ready for sleep after a good day’s work.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 50)

“Abiding in the Creator, we do not fear death.
Following the conditioned mind, we fear everything.
Fear is a futile attempt to control things and people.

Death is a natural destination of the Way.
Unnatural fear of death does more harm than good.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 74)

Dying and Beyond

On the final journey, with acceptance of the inevitable fate, there is usually no anger or even sadness-just numbness that initiates the winding down of the body.

Dying is just something we all have to do. Do you want to die with grace?

Dying with grace is to end well; all is well that ends well!.

A Case in Point

Francis of Assisi, the Italian Saint who chose a life of poverty in spite of his family’s wealth, said on his deathbed: “Death will open the door of life.” He died gracefully while singing.

Maybe for a believer, death is, indeed, a triumph, a meaningful exodus from this mundane world to the eternal world beyond.

A Case in Point

Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his last speech, just several days before his assassination: “It (death) doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountain top. . . . and I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the Promised Land.”

It was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s strong faith that led him to believe in the existence of the Promised Land beyond death. Indeed, to many believers, they are only humans having a brief existence in this transient material world, and their final destination is the eternal world beyond death.

A Case in Point

There have been many near-death experiences (NDEs) during which people claim that they have seen strange lights and tunnels, letting them have a glimpse of the eternal world beyond. Some of these instances have been written in books and become Amazon’s bestsellers, such as Heaven Is for Real (2010), about a child who saw heaven during surgery.

Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon and author of Proof of Heaven, said in Newsweek in 2012 that his incredible near-death experience had totally convinced him that his consciousness (the soul or self) exists somehow separate from or outside the mind, and therefore it can travel to other dimensions on its own. Eben wrote: “This world of consciousness beyond the body is the true new frontier, not just of science but of humankind itself, and it is my profound hope that what happened to me will bring the world one step closer to accepting it.”

Are you ready to believe in dying and beyond, instead of praying for longevity?

YOU JUST DON'T DIE!

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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Don't Pray for Money and Wealth

According to CNN news, near the end of December, 2018,
the nurses and staff of neonatal intensive care unit at Mercy Children’s Hospital at St. Louis, won $10,000 in the Mega Millions lottery-entering the lottery is what they have been doing for years to overcome their stress from their daily work.

Instead of dividing up the winnings among their group, they decided to give the money to two colleagues going through some tough times: one whose son committed suicide the night before the lottery drawing; the other whose husband was battling with cancer.

Here are some questions about the lottery for your self-reflection:

Why do people line up for hours to get their Power Ball? Their heart is on their greed.

Can their anticipated winnings solve all their financial problems? Probably yes; but also instrumental in creating many other problems in their lives as a result of their winnings.

What if it’s God who wants them to win the lottery? Well, in the first place, God didn’t create the Power Ball; it’s only an individual’s own choice and decision to go and get the lottery, without being aware that the winnings come from many people’s “blood-and-sweat” money. It has nothing to do with God; it has everything to do with that individual’s greed and vanity.

What if people would like to turn their winnings into a good cause to help others-such as those nurses and staff of Mercy Children’s Hospital at St. Louis? If people were to win millions, instead of just $10,000,  would they still have given away 100 percent of their winnings to charity, or to help others? Probably not!

Buying a lottery ticket is one of the many attachments to money and wealth. You may want to keep up with the Joneses by driving a more expensive car than those of your neighbors and friends. So, it all boils down to only one thing-your greed to satisfy your ego-self. Money and wealth have become your treasures, and also where your heart is.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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Attachments Are Expectations to Be fulfilled

“Prayers not answered” simply means “expectations not fulfilled.”

But what are your “expectations”? And where do they come from?

Descartes, the great French philosopher, made his very famous statement: “I think, therefore I am.” Accordingly, you think and you then become what you think you are-the byproducts of all your thoughts and your own thinking.

Gradually, all your life experiences with their own respective messages-the pleasant as well as the unpleasant, the positive as well as the negative-are all stored at the back of your subconscious mind in the form of your assumptions, attitudes, causal concepts, and memories. They are the substances of your ego-self

The ego is the origin of most, if not all, of all human expectations and problems.

The “unreal” perceptions of all the life experiences by the flawed thinking mind create and inflate the ego-self, which is only a reflection of the wishful thinking of the “real” self. But these perceptions become the attachments that need to be fulfilled, and many just pray for their fulfillment.

The Meaning of Attachments

Attachment may come in different forms, such as career attachments, money attachments, success attachments, and relationship attachments, among others.

Attachment is your emotional dependence on things and people that define your self-made identity, around which you wrap your so-called “happiness” and all your “to-be-fulfilled expectations.”

Attachment is also your self-distraction from facing some of the insoluble problems that confront you, or from adapting and changing yourself in an ever-changing environment.

Attachment is your holding on to anything and everything that you don’t want to let go of, whether it’s positive or even negative, because it defines who you think you are.

The College Admission Cheating Scandal

As an illustration of some of the attachments that have become the human flaws that create the “expectations to be fulfilled.”

On March 12, 2019, the United States federal prosecutors disclosed an ongoing conspiracy with the primary purpose of influencing some student college admission decisions at several prominent colleges and universities in the United States.

In that college admission cheating scandal,
some wealthy parents paid as much as $75,000 per test to help their children get a better score. It was reported that at least 50 people, including some famous Hollywood stars, allegedly had participated in that scandal.

From the perspectives of some of the participants of that scandal, it might just be a “crime with no victim”-the wealthy parents with “good intention” were helping their own children’s education by lavishing their money on those who were more than willing to receive and to help; it was quite different from a crime of robbing a bank or a stranger in the street.

Getting a good education is a right-minded goal for any young individual; there’s nothing wrong with that. But if the heart is on satisfying one’s ego-self, instead of focusing on the education itself, the treasure then turns into an attachment and becomes a flaw and a burden of the ego-self.

Worse, it could be a serious crime of greed and control. The wealthy parents were so self-centered without thinking of the impact of their selfish act on their own children, as well as on those who were potentially denied of their own admissions to those colleges and universities.

Worst, these participants might also have subconsciously reinforced their own implicit assumptions-another flawed thinking of the ego-self-such as a “good education” for their children will guarantee a successful career, leading to a happy marriage, and the vanity of living happily ever after. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered.