Why Are Spiritual Practices Necessary? Isn’t Asking God from the Heart Enough?


The Bible says about God-realization (experience) to 'ask and it shall be given'. Then why do we have to do spiritual practices? Just ask from the heart.

Secondly, God is our loving Father. Do we need to pay a price (spiritual practices) to get something from our Father?

—Vivek , India


Dear Vivekji,

For ages this question has been discussed. Bhaktas (devotional people) often say that grace alone saves you, that there is only a need for prayer, devotion, self-surrender — “asking”, as you say, and all will be given — no spiritual practices are needed.

Others say that self-effort, especially spiritual practices, are the only real key to Self-realization and God-union.

The “recipe” Yogananda taught is a mixture of the two: devotion and technique. Together they work like mathematics: they cannot fail. Only devotion, only asking, without any technique, will take just a few rare souls to the Divine Goal. On the other hand, only techniques and self-effort, without grace, drawn by prayer, won’t reveal the Divine Beloved.

So yes, love is a main key, but the “price” we have to pay is also daily discipline, self-effort, and spiritual practices. Otherwise an important power is missing on our path to the High Divine Goal.

This is why Swami Kriyananda writes:

“‘Be still,’ says the psalmist. Absolute stillness comes only from God, but we ourselves must take the first steps toward achieving inner stillness, for self-effort is necessary, too. Hence the value of yoga, which helps one to quiet the mind. Devotees fall too easily into the thought that God’s grace alone will save them. True, certainly, but our ‘grace’ is also needed! God is too humble to thrust Himself on anyone.” –Rays of the One Light

May you ask your Father, trusting Him, and at the same time help Him to help you, through your regular self-effort and practices.

In divine friendship,