Any prayer offered selflessly from the bottom of one’s heart sends out healing vibrations and good thoughts into the universe. These vibrations and thoughts circulate in the cosmos, in the universe. If you pray selflessly for an individual, then your thought vibrations reach that individual in a very subtle form. He/she may not know that you have prayed for his/her welfare, but he/she will definitely receive the help requested and also benefit from it in due course. The relief and loss of stress felt is almost immediate as the solution to their problem presents itself — that is the power of a selfless prayer.
Most of the times we offer universal prayers, this is because as Swamiji says when you pray for all, you also pray for yourself and your near and dear ones, so everyone benefits. When the prayer is universal, all those who have an open sail will catch the prayer and benefit from it.
Many times, a person’s karma is very strong and the prayer may not penetrate that barrier — in which case you may ask, “The what’s the use of praying?” When such people come to know that a lot of people are praying for them, that itself is a psychological booster which gives them great mental comfort — “So many people are concerned about me and my welfare.” Even if some people, for whatever reason, do not want your prayer, you can still pray selflessly without their knowledge. When you do this, it benefits you greatly, because it opens up your own heart, your heart chakra gets purified. You are showing compassion and kindness selflessly — by doing this you also purify your mind. You become a better person. When you pray in this manner you are expressing your faith in a higher power — God or Paramatma, whatever you want to name it.
No one’s karma can be alleviated through prayer, nor can it be eradicated, but like I said before it acts like a balm; a kind of anesthesia that numbs the pain or shock of the karmic operation that is taking place.
Prayer definitely helps in numerous ways. Performed selflessly and if performed collectively the power gets magnified as the universe gets a message to heal on a mass scale — remember, the universe is always listening to your prayers. It is an extremely powerful practice and its collective power is magnified — let us all pray for peace in the world, including for the current conflict zone in Ukraine.
Radical minds may not understand ‘prayer’ or its power. But a heartfelt prayer offered sincerely and selflessly, coming from a faithful heart / hearts can definitely perform a miracle. So, have faith — pray for the welfare of all — by doing this you will definitely purify your heart!