Be prayerful, not because it has some utility but because it is a joy. Be prayerful, not because through it you will arrive anywhere, but through it you are, through it you start being! Through it you are present, without it you are absent. It is not a goal somewhere in the future; it is a discovery of the presence that is already there, that is already the case.
And don’t think in terms of things, otherwise prayer becomes part of economics, not part of religion. If it is a means, then it is part of economics. All means are part of economics, ends are beyond economics. Religion is concerned with the end, not with the means. Religion is not concerned at all with reaching somewhere. Religion is concerned only with one thing: to know where we are!
To celebrate this moment is prayer. To be herenow is prayer. To listen to these birds is prayer. To feel the presence of people around you is prayer. To touch a tree with love is prayer. To look at a child with deep respect, with reverence for life, is prayer.
So first thing…don’t ask, “Is prayer useful?”
And then the second thing you say: “If so, teach me how to pray.”
If you start by “if,” prayer cannot be taught. The very beginning with “if” is the beginning of doubt. “If” is not part of a prayerful mind. Prayer needs trust; there is no if. It is so. It is absolutely so.
When you can trust the unknown, the invisible, the unmanifest, then there is prayer. If you start by “if,” then prayer will be at most a hypothesis. Then prayer will be a theory, and prayer is not a theory. Prayer is not a thing, not a theory; prayer is an experience. You cannot start by “if.” The very beginning goes wrong, you have taken a step in the wrong direction.
Drop ifs and you will be in prayer. Drop all ifs. Don’t live life through hypothetical things: “If this is so, if there is God, then I will pray.” But how can you pray if God is just an if? If God is just “as if,” then your prayer will also be just as if. It will be an empty gesture. You will bow down, you will utter a few words, but your heart will not be there. The heart is never with ifs.
Science works through ifs. Religion does not work through ifs.
You are asking: “If there is love, then teach me love.” If there is love? Then nothing has stirred in your heart. Then the spring has not come and that breeze has not touched you which is called love. You must have heard somebody else talking about love. You must have read in some book, you must have been reading romantic poetry. The word love has come to you but there has been not a single moment of love experience. So you ask, “If there is love, then teach us” – but with “if” love cannot be taught.