“Ask and You Shall Receive”—What Does that Mean?


“Ask and you shall receive”. What exactly does it mean?

—Nusrat, Singapore City


“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

Paramhansa Yogananda taught that we should go to God not as beggars, but as children of God demanding our divine birthright. He called the prayers in his book, Whispers from Eternity, “prayer-demands,” to reflect that attitude.

I’ll let Yogananda say it in his own words:

Never pray with the attitude of a beggar. You are God’s child. As His child, you have a right to the treasure from His storehouse of infinity.

Pray with utter confidence that He is listening. For indeed, so He will, if you pray to Him with love. Pray from your heart, with deep intensity.

Demand of Him lovingly; never beg. By demand I don’t mean you should try to force your will on Him, as though anticipating His reluctance to accede to your wishes. I mean, pray with the firm conviction that He wants to give you everything you need, and that He will give it.

Jesus put it this way: ‘Pray believing.’

Utter faith, and love: these are the most important elements in prayer.

—Paramhansa Yogananda from The Essence of Self-Realization