Will prayer wash away sins?

As children, whenever we committed a wrong, innocuously or wilfully, instantly we would launch on praying sessions, believing they would negate the bad effect of our sins, with the Lord fully forgiving our wrongs.

But as grown-ups, if we keep committing wrongs, that too knowingly, and then indulge in elaborate worshipping of God, will our sins be washed away by prayers?

I’m reminded of a thing that has remained ineradicable on my mind even after these years. I was ten years when I used to visit the house of my family’s acquaintance. With a bunch of children over there, with delirious abandon, I played in the sprawling area skirting the house. Even as we revelled in surfeit fun, I never failed to notice a scrawny woman swathed in a frayed sari, always sitting shrivelled in the corner of the house verandah.

Twice the food was served to her, virtually in a clinical manner, as she was forbidden from gaining entry even into the adjacent room. I often wondered who she was and why she was meted out such frosty treatment. Later on, I learnt she was none other than the widowed mother of the man of the house.

Apparently, the man was a marionette in the hands of his wife, who was over-domineering, and who obviously hadn’t taken a liking to this old lady.

Years rolled by, and we lost all contacts with this family. Soon, these memories too turned fuzzy and got expunged from my mind. Fortuitously, a few years back, I saw this man in a temple, working as a priest. After having recognised him, when I casually enquired him about his family, he let loose the misery saga of his life.

It seems, his only son, had turned almost a riff-raff, married a girl from a different community, and had left him and his wife in the lurch. He also added that they were reeling under an acute financial crisis, besides combating myriad health problems.
Truly, the man’s poignant tale was quite heartrending. Nevertheless, the vagaries of life could be really mystifying.

Though the man, being a temple priest, had indulged in endless prayers and poojas, still all these worshipping possibly couldn’t wash away his sins of ill-treating his mother.

The above instance proves that, be it happiness or misery, what we spread around, is what ultimately strikes back at us.

The role of the Lord is, by being an unbiased judge, to keep tabs on our deeds/misdeeds, and to grant rewards or retributions accordingly. Apparently, any amount of buttering up by intense worshipping will never ever melt Him, since God is able to see through the selfish intents, hidden in prayers.

Naturally, even when we worship God, with expectations of having a better life or lifestyle, it may not happen when we haven’t indulged in enough good deeds to deserve good things.

After all, we reap what we sow.

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