Please explain the law of cause and effect in relation to prayer.

—R.B.

First, you must find out what kind of prayers bring a response from God. Some people pray with emotion, which often loses its force in tears, religious dancing, or muscular demonstrations. Emotional prayers result in activity and excitement, but devotional prayers alone bring the calm joy of the soul. Purely intellectual prayers may give intellectual satisfaction, but they do not draw a response from God.

The Importance of Devotion
To draw a divine response to your prayers, you must pray intelligently, with a bursting soul, seldom aloud, without displaying to anyone what is happening within you. You must pray with utmost devotion, feeling that God is listening to every word. Pray into the depths of night in the seclusion of your soul. Pray until God replies to you through the bursting joy flowing through every body cell, or through visions depicting what you should do in a given case.

The increasing joy felt after meditation is proof that God has answered you through the devotion-tuned radio of your heart. The longer and more deeply you meditate, the deeper your feelings of joy. You will then know without doubt that there is a God, and that He is ever-existing, ever-conscious, omnipresent, ever-new joy. Then pray to Him: “Father, in every instant, in sleep, in wakefulness, all through life, death, and the beyond — remain with me as the consciously responding joy of my heart.”

Your Prayer Must be Scientific and Definite
Ordinary prayers consist of addressing our desires, half in belief and half in doubt, to an unknown God. If prayers are answered, a superstitious trust in God may result; if they are ineffective, distrust may follow.

To pray effectively, we must really mean business with God. He is the secret knower of all our thoughts. He knows what selfish desires reside in our innermost mind. Effective prayer must be scientific, definite, and show an intelligent understanding of all its elements.

Whoever wants to demonstrate the scientific nature of prayer must first be sure that God exists. How can this be known? By accepting the testimony of great souls such as Jesus, Krishna, Swami Shankara, Babaji, and others who have said that they found God — that they talked with Him, and listened to the truth from the sacred divine lips.

These saints have said that God responds to law, that they experienced His response, and that all people who conform to the law can test and experience this for themselves. Physical laws are interpreted by the physical senses and judged by the mind. Divine laws are comprehended by concentration, meditation, and intuition.

The Importance of Solitude and Devotion
Solitude is the price of God-contact. Since God is above law, devotion is also necessary to attract His attention. The devotional call, if sincere, deep, and continuous, and if supplemented by sincere efforts at deep meditation, will bring a divine response. Devotional demand is greater than law, for it touches the heart of God and makes Him answer both His naughty and good children alike.

Law is based upon mathematical precision and is exacting in its demand, but devotion is based upon claiming God as our own true love. Did He not make us in His own likeness? Love causes God to surrender Himself to the devotee. God can never hide from the person who exercises devotion and follows the laws of meditation.

Don’t be like the baby who stops crying as soon as his mother gives him a toy. Cry for God unceasingly, like a divine naughty baby, throwing away all lures of name, fame, power, and possessions — rending the heart of the Divine Mother.  Pray until you are absolutely sure of the divine contact, then claim your material, mental, and spiritual needs from the Most High as your divine birthright. Then you will find the answer to your prayers.

The Law of Cause and Effect
Perhaps you have prayed for healing and you subsequently became well. Do you know whether your cure was due to natural causes, to medicine, or to your own or another’s prayers, bringing help from God?

Sometimes there may be no causal relationship between your prayer and your cure. Even if you happen to pray for a recovery, that fact alone does not mean that your prayer caused the healing. You might have been healed even if you had not prayed. This is one reason why we should find out whether the scientific law of cause and effect can be applied to prayer.

We must then ask the question: “Would a conscious God, Almighty in nature, subject Himself to the law of cause and effect which He created?” Why not? The Maker of all laws certainly does not want to break the laws He has created.

We must also remember that, although God is approachable through the law of cause and effect, He is far greater than what can be demonstrated in a laboratory. It is always His decision whether or not to respond to a mechanical prayer.

Never Become Discouraged
You must never become discouraged because of ill health, poverty, or moral weakness. Remember, sin is only a temporary graft; in reality you are eternally a child of God. Even if the world condemns you and casts you away, God will always find you and bring you home.

Never mind if you cannot see Him or hear His knock at the gate of your heart. For a long time you have been running away, hiding from Him in the marsh of the senses. It is the noise of your own rowdy passions, and the flight of your heavy footsteps in the material world, that have rendered you unable to hear His call within.

Stop, be calm, pray steadfastly — and out of the silence will loom forth the Divine Presence.

From Inner Culture, October 1941.