By Mahfouz A Adedimeji
In the fast-paced and supersonic lifestyle of today, it could sound preposterous to some people that prayer is very essential to success in life. Such people are going to give examples of secular and atheist countries making progress and the “religious” ones lagging far behind others. They will give you a long list of “successful” people who don’t care about God and the suffering of the ordinary people who are genuinely faithful.
While people may choose to believe what to believe or disbelieve, the fundamental truth is that none of us created themselves and we do not know for certain when we shall leave. We only know that we live today, or a part of today in which we still draw our breath, but we do not know what’s going to happen to us the next moment or day. Just as there is power behind what we see on the screen of our cell phones, it did not just evolve from nothing, there is power behind our life.
As James Harrington once said, “Every man, either to his terror or consolation, has some sense of religion.” It was reported that the first Soviets to use parachutes did not profess belief in God. But on their first attempt, as they jumped out of the plane prior to the activation of the parachute system, they exclaimed, “Oh God!” in freaking terror. It certainly makes a human heart tranquil even in the face of outright terror that God is in one’s support or that one’s prayer will be answered by Him.
So, the first education a person requires to navigate the stormy waters of this unpredictable life is a sense of connection with God through prayer. Everyone stands in need of God’s grace, and divine support to succeed. Prayer is the foundation; work is the superstructure. No one ever lives on the foundation of a proposed building alone and no one ever lasts in a building, no matter how magnificent, without a foundation.
In other words, if anyone believes in prayer without work or foundation without a superstructure, the person’s life will be half-empty. Also, if anyone believes in work without prayer or building a structure without a foundation, the person’s life will be half-full. It is the combination of both that makes one’s life full and fulfilled.
When one learns to pray hard, then one learns to work hard. It is said that these days, and correctly too, that apart from working hard, one still has to work smart or be strategic such that the effort will bring the maximum impact or benefit. If you blink in the dark, you know what you are doing but no one else does so your blinking is of no relevance.
Many people work hard but there is no result for their hard work beyond coarse hands and wrinkled skin. Those who work hard and smart achieve better results. Sometimes, part of being smart itself is being prayerful and God-conscious. A person that is conscious of God is at peace even when he has nothing. A person that lacks consciousness of God is troubled even when he has everything. Certainly, it is with the remembrance of God that hearts are tranquil.
Part of the secrets of life’s sweetness consists of praying hard, loving God, working hard and being smart, not sluggish. Whoever loves God sincerely will automatically love His work, His creation, especially fellow human beings. Whoever loves God truly will believe in work since the entire creation is a product of intense work, an amazing job.
It takes hard work to succeed in examinations and life in general. It takes hard work to make a difference. Interestingly, hard work does not kill. The bane of many young people these days is that they want to make an omelet without breaking an egg. They want to succeed without struggle and they want money without work. They forget that the only place where money comes before work is the dictionary.
It is in praying and working hard that life finds its purpose. Therefore, learn to pray hard, to work hard and be smart.
[About the author: Dr Adedimeji is a senior lecturer and director of centre for peace and strategic studies, university of Ilorin]