Effective Prayer


Should mankind pray like the jews do and only praise/worship god or is it ok to ask for personal things (isn't it "overbearing")? E.g.: Why pray for a special person. Why not pray for whole mankind?

—Simon, Germany


Dear Simon,

Let’s say you are wanting to open your own small business, and are looking for advice about the nature of assistance available to small business entreprenuers. Or someone dear to you is having a health crisis and is confined to bed. You want to help them by researching home-care options.

When you go to the offices of the agencies responsible for this kind of assistance, would you merely praise them for their good works, or would you specify your needs?

And would you expect these agencies to do everything for you, or rather to offer you assistance in carrying forward the responsibilities which you have undertaken?

A person of faith and spiritual experience knows that God cares about each of his children far more than social agencies, and the He is willing and able to offer assistance to those who seek it. The enormous power and intelligence that maintains the operation of the universe responds to our needs.

And just as there are people who can help us get through the complicated procedures when requesting a grant from a large foundation, there are spiritual guides who help us in making what Yogananda called our “prayer demands.”

He says: “The first rule in prayer is to approach God only with legitimate desires. The second is to pray for their fulfillment, not as a beggar, but as a son:

“I am Thy child. Thou art my Father. I and my Father are One.”

When you pray deeply and continuously you will feel a great joy welling up in your heart. Don’t be satisfied until that joy manifests; for when you feel that all-satisfying joy in your heart, you will know that God has tuned in your prayer broadcast.

Then pray to your Father:

“Lord, this is my need. I am willing to work for it; please guide me and help me to have the right thoughts and to do the right things to bring about success.

I will use my reason, and work with determination, but guide Thou my reason, will, and activity to the right thing I should do.”

Simon, if you have a real need, then use these guidelines and ask God to be your partner in fulfilling your destiny.

In divine friendship,