Q40. What is the Sikh prayer?
A part of the prayer called 'Ardas' was given to the Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh. The first part invokes God and the blessings of first nine Gurus. The second part recounts the events in the life of the Tenth Guru, the subsequent Sikh history, the struggles faced and the sacrifices made, for the reform of temples and the maintenance of Sikh tradition. The third part pertains to the individual's own thoughts and any special purpose or the occasion for it. In the end, the Sikh prays for humble mind and sound intellect, the victory of the Khalsa Panth, "the Word" and betterment of the humanity.
A Sikh believes in a personal God to whom he must go every now and then because he regards Him as friend and benefactor. He recites a prayer before he starts any work or business. Even if he has no time for a full Ardas, he shall make a short prayer.
Sikh prayer can be led by any man or woman; it is congregational in the nature of its contents. It recounts the sacrifices of Sikhs but makes no mention of the enemies of the Sikhs. The basic idea is to inspire the Sikhs to similar heroic deed in any future times of need.
Prayer is a means of ridding the mind of its ills and desires and filling it with pure thoughts and noble aspirations. True prayer requires an effort of heart-searching, an effort to become more pure and noble. The mind must be emptied of all worldly thoughts so that peace may enter it.
The Sikh Ardas demands a complete surrender to Divinde Will. Resignation to the Will of God will ultimately benefit the individual. Only then can God take up his problems and sort them out. The Lord will never fail him who throws himself on His Mercy. Moreover, this submission eliminates the ego, the wall which stands between man and his Creator.
The reading of the Guru Granth Sahib is itself a kind of prayer. We seek the Guru's command. He gives us wise counsel, but it is for us to obey. Merely worshiping the scripture without carrying its teaching into daily life is the very negation of prayer. True prayer is the practical living up to of the word of the Guru and a continuing effort, for spiritual development.