What Is the Best Prayer?


How to ask God for guidance in life? Should you pray for something specific or surrender the situation to God and let her guide you? How to do that?

—Vidhya, India


Dear Vidhya,

Paramhansa Yogananda affirmed a teaching similar to that of Jesus Christ: Jesus said pray believing, and Yogananda taught to use what he called prayer-demands. What is being taught here is to approach God (Divine Mother) as our own mother-friend-God!

You might give a beggar in the street only a rupee; but you will be happy to grant your own child or best friend a need that you can fulfill (so long as you feel it is good for them).

Make, then, the acquaintance with Divine Mother first before asking for anything. Pray, meditate, and when you are quiet and calm, then offer your prayer. Jesus said “Seek first the kingdom of God…..and all these things (that you have need of) shall be added to you.”

If you seek something specific be very careful that your prayer include the understanding that you would only want this specific something IF it is Divine Mother’s will for you. You may want a specific job or a potential marriage partner but you cannot know in advance whether the result will be a disaster on some level or another.

It is true that a saint will never pray for her own needs or healing but that is too high a bar for most people. It is undoubtedly true that the best prayer may be “I want only Thy will, not my will” but if that isn’t realistic or honest then this cannot be your prayer! If something you need is legitimate and appropriate for your life, it is ok to pray for it with the proviso that it be the right thing for you, spiritually. To experience that all good comes from God is a step in the right direction, spiritually speaking.

Blessings to you,
Nayaswami Hriman