A friend of ours told us that she has always believed in and used the power of prayer. Since childhood, however, her prayers have gradually become simpler and more focused. Now she repeats only a single prayer every day and for every situation: “Lord, let Thy will be done.” This was also the final prayer of Jesus just before his crucifixion. One might call it the ultimate prayer of all great souls.
This prayer provides several profound benefits. For one thing, it allows one truly to follow Yogananda’s advice to “remain even-minded and cheerful in all circumstances.” A second, more important benefit is that complete self-offering is the most fertile soil in which deep devotion and faith can grow.
When we are caught in the labyrinth of our ego we see only a very distorted reality, filtered through the lens of our moods, desires, and attachments. The distortions of the mind due to the turbulence of the heart are depicted beautifully in a song, “Both Sides Now,” by Joni Mitchell.
Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
The song goes on to address the themes of love and life in much the same way, with one’s positive and negative moods distorting perception until the inevitable conclusion is: I really don’t know love at all, and I really don’t know life at all.
Isn’t this everyone’s dilemma—clouds get in our way? A blossoming of love, faith, and clarity is the real benefit of the prayer, Let Thy will be done.
Paramhansa Yogananda put it this way: “Faith must be cultivated. It cannot be achieved by mere wishful thinking. If you throw yourself off a mountaintop with the affirmation, ‘God will protect me,’ just see if He does! He expects you to use the common sense He has given you.
“He will take care of you, surely, if you do your best always, act sensibly, and leave the results in His hands. Faith, however, must be watered by inner experience, like a plant. The more you actually experience the care He takes of you, the more you will come to rely on Him—not fanatically, but naturally, in the divine way.”
He also said, “God doesn’t always answer your prayers in the way that you expect, but, if your faith in Him never wavers, He will grant you far more than you expect.”
Devi and I embark today on our long journey to Italy and India. There are countless unknowns ahead of us, as there are for everyone, every day. Ultimately, anxiety about the future simply takes away our joy. It make a lot more sense to just relax and say lovingly to Divine Mother, “Let Thy will be done.”
In the loving arms of God,
Listen to Jyotish as he reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (8:55):