Are you there, God? Are you listening to my prayers? Do you even know what I’m going through?”

I think we all have thoughts like these from time to time—especially when we’re facing challenges in life. To keep our faith strong, it’s important to remember those times—and we’ve all had them—when our prayers have in fact been answered.

Recently a friend told me about a trip she’d taken in which she encountered one hurdle after another. The final blow came when she was driving home alone at night from the airport and realized she had a flat tire. Not knowing what to do, she was about to panic when a friend “coincidentally” drove by. He stopped his car and helped her change the tire; soon she was on her way home.

Her story reminded me of an incident in my own life that happened about fifteen years ago—one that I’d forgotten. A friend of mine had been diagnosed with widespread cancer. To slow the disease’s advance, she began receiving intravenous chemotherapy. A group of her friends would take turns driving her to the chemo sessions, and would sit with her throughout the day until she was done.

Marilyn (this was her name) was a quiet, gentle soul who was a devoted follower of Yoganandaji. She never complained about her diagnosis, the treatments, the changes they wrought on her body, nor the upheaval the disease caused in her life. She passed away peacefully about a year after this story took place.

On that particular day, Marilyn had finished her latest chemotherapy session, and I was driving her back to Ananda Village. It was late afternoon; exhausted from the treatment, Marilyn reclined in the passenger seat and drifted off to sleep.

We were a few miles away from Ananda on a rural road, when suddenly I heard the dreaded “thump, thump, thump,” and knew we had a flat tire. I pulled over to the side of the road, and not knowing how to change a tire nor seeing anyone around, inwardly I offered a desperate prayer for help.

Just at that moment, an old, beat-up pickup truck pulled over in front of us. Two disreputable-looking characters with long, greasy hair and dirty clothes came over to the car. Since I didn’t know what to expect, I cautiously rolled my window down a crack. To my great relief one of them said, “Looks like you ladies can use a little help.”

In short order, they changed the tire and were on their way. I was sitting in stunned silence, when Marilyn opened her eyes and quietly asked, “What happened?”

“I think God just heard my prayer,” was my quiet reply.

yogananda autobiography of a yogi two penniless boys in brindaban, yogananda with childhood friends

(Left to right) Jitendra Mazumdar, companion on the “penniless test” at Brindaban; Lalita-da, Master’s cousin; Swami Kebalananda, Master’s saintly Sanskrit tutor; and Master, as a high school youth.

One of the most beautiful and powerful chapters in Autobiography of a Yogi is “Two Penniless Boys in Brindaban,” in which Yoganandaji’s eldest brother, Ananta, challenges him to put his faith in God to a test. Ananta proposes that young Yoganandaji travel to the nearby city of Agra with a friend, Jitendra, but with no money and no return ticket.

To complete the test, they must not beg, reveal their predicament to anyone, nor miss any meals. Further, the boys must see the sights of Agra and return home by train before midnight.

Perhaps feeling some remorse for sending two young boys on such a journey, the skeptical Ananta added: “If by any chance or grace you pass successfully through the Brindaban ordeal, I shall ask you to initiate me as your disciple.”

Maybe you are familiar with the rest of the story. While still on the train to Brindaban, they were approached by two strangers who invited them to lunch at their ashram. The meal turned out to be a sumptuous repast prepared for two princes, patrons of the ashram who at the last minute were unable to attend.

As they were leaving the ashram, replete from their elaborate banquet, Jitendra complained, “A fine mess you have got me into! Our luncheon was only accidental good fortune! How can we see the sights of this city, without a single pice between us? And how on earth are you going to take me back to Ananta’s?”

Yogananda’s reply was one we all need to remember: “You forget God quickly, now that your stomach is filled.” His account continues, “My words, not bitter, were accusatory. How short is human memory for divine favors! No man lives who has not seen certain of his prayers granted.” (If you haven’t read the Autobiography, I’ll let you discover for yourself how the story ends.)

Indeed, how short our memory is for the graces we have received. As you finish reading these words, I suggest that you take a moment to recall an instance in your own life of an answered prayer, or a feeling of certainty of God’s love for you.

The great saints tell us that God’s blessings, guidance, and protection are always with us. It is we who too often forget them.

Seeking always to remember,

Nayaswami Devi

Listen to Devi as she 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 (10:13):

26 Comments

  1. Blessed to always feel the Masters’ invisible arms protecting us 🙏✨🌷

  2. The inspiring article helped me recall many such incidences in my own life. Any desperate call is immediately answered. If it is not answered I always found that the fault lay in what I asked for or desired.

  3. This itself is my answered prayer🙏🏻..AUM GURU🙏🏻🙏🏻..

  4. Wonderful article , brilliant reminder of gratitude towards any good that has happened in our lives ..

  5. Thank you for the reminder about gratitude and thankfulness. I close each meditation with these thoughts. I give thanks for what I will receive that day and in the future. I have learned much in my many travels to Europe about that travel really depends on the kindness of “strangers” (who often become long term friends.). Your words reminded me of all the good fortunes that my family has had. Even my experience with breast cancer brought me riches beyond all measure in my best friend whom I met while she was testing me. I appreciate your work and inspiration.

  6. Thank you for the beautiful reminder that God is with us always, and that I must remember to be grateful at all times for His great blessings in my life. Even through difficult times, God makes us stronger and stronger with every trial. :)

    1. I believe that it is not trials, but opportunities for growth and service to others (like our children) that do not recognize at the moment. Our growth comes from our experiences.

  7. Beautiful. So easy to “forget” how we are loved and protected by Master and God.

  8. Beautiful!
    Thank you for the reminder that God is always a His best, even if we don’t see it or remember due to our short memory.

  9. Back in April, I was in a bad bicycle accident… a man opened his car door into the bicycle lane in Sacramento just as I was coming along in the lane at a good clip. I never saw it coming…I slammed into the door, then the pavement of Watt avenue, right in the middle of oncoming traffic! I wound up damaging a knee, rib, foot and left wrist (broken..and I am left-handed!) It seemed terrible…WAS terrible… I could not believe the pain and bruising all over my body.
    However! There were MANY miracles, great and small, associated with this terrible accident. FIrst off, the fact that none of the fast-moving vehicles in the lane ran me over! Secondly, a true “angel” of a man immediately stopped his car and rushed to help me, gently easing me over to the sideway (very important to do this carefully, in case of spinal fracture…which, thankfully, I did NOT have.) He gave me his info and periodically still checks up on me… Third, I had myriad other “angels” step forward in the following days, bringing my homeopathics, helping me bathe, transporting me where I needed to go. Fourth, ALL of my online students were totally fine with the fact that I could no longer type notes for them… and were most sympathetic and kind. 5th, my healing has gone quite well… everything has healed now, 3 months later, and all that continues to be done is physical therapy to restore muscles in my left wrist and arm (because of the atrophy after being in a cast for 6 weeks). 6th, Regarding the bicycle: I thought it was totalled, and dreaded the thought of what it would cost to replace it. As it turned out, a very kind, competent mechanic was able to fix the bent front wheel for only $30! So easy! The bike is rideable again (most important, as it is my only source of transportation, by and large, here in Sacramento.) 7th, and lastly, I needed a new bike seat. NOT related to the accident; the seat was worn, corroded and falling apart. While the wheel was getting fixed by the superb mechanic, I checked out various seats in the bike shop. All were expensive, none were truly comfortable. I have been mulling over how and where to replace the seat for weeks. WELL! In my mind, the strangest miracle of all occurred yesterday: I was once again (yay! yes! back in the saddle!) riding along a bike path yesterday when I spotted an upside down bicycle seat right next to the path. Puzzled, I came to a stop and picked it up. It was all by itself… no other bike parts around, not a person in sight, just the seat. It looked brand new. Quite a nice Schwinn seat, in fact! I took it home and put it on the bike. Voila! The bike is good as new, with a lovely, new, perfect seat!!! SO many gifts!! Divine Mother, you are AMAZING! It is absolutely true that you come through, every day, ALL the time, in great AND small ways….but always miraculous. I am eternally grateful!!!

    1. WOW! What a story! Too bad we can’t UPvote comments on here. Your story, like so many posted in response to Jyotish and Devi’s writings reflect the joys we experience through God’s grace.

      Thank you Supriya!

  10. Rumi’s “Love Dogs” (text provided) as rendered by Coleman Barks

    Musical accompaniment by Eugene Friesen and Arto Tuncboyaciyan.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrUd62LwJBY

    This poem of Rumi about faith says quite a lot for me…

    Love Dogs by Rumi
    One night a man was crying,
    “Allah, Allah!”
    His lips grew sweet with the praising,
    until a cynic said,
    “So! I have heard you
    calling out, but have you ever
    gotten any response?”
    The man had no answer for that.
    He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
    He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
    in a thick, green foliage,
    “Why did you stop praising?”
    “Because I’ve never heard anything back.”
    “This longing you express
    is the return message.”
    The grief you cry out from
    draws you toward union.
    Your pure sadness that wants help
    is the secret cup.
    Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
    That whining is the connection.
    There are love dogs no one knows the names of.
    Give your life to be one of them.

  11. Thank you for this beautiful story and elegant reminder :-)

  12. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,
    Thank you for sharing this inspiring blog… what a great reminder! Master’s words on God granting prayers to be etched in our hearts.
    The last paragraph Is a beneficial message.

    Joy,
    Prem

  13. Thank you dear soul. I took several minutes and felt the warmth of Divine Mother’s gifts recently as well as over the years. So often, it is the small answered prayers that seem to stand out. Finding this or that with Divine Support. Remembering something I’ve forgotten and was gently and joyfully reminded about. It is a great gift to have loving Gurubhais to help remind me of the joys of this life. Namaste

  14. Such a joy reading the blog and all the comments!! Pascal said ” You would not have looked for me if you had not found me” Indeed it is the grace and love that we receive that makes the heart long for the divine! Thank you for the wonderful blog!

  15. Respected Deviji
    I always read your blogs, infarct was eagerly waiting for it. Tears came in my eyes after reading this. We always take for granted to our beloved Guru and God. But as we are child of god our divine father divine mother never forget us. We always received help. but we tend to forget and keep doing same mistakes and cry.
    With your inspiring words I will try my level best to remember the presence of God and Guru in my life.
    Warm Regards
    Thank you in full faith.

  16. O Divine mother
    Thanks for reminding once again our true self…
    Thanks for reuniting me with one I was missing ..
    It’s not coincidence but only Your grace …

  17. Thank you dear Devi ji for sharing this beautiful reminder to have faith in God… Having gratitude and faith in God may get difficult in difficult times, but that’s the test, isn’t it: Even in those moments, remembering that the touch of His hand is our strength and our guide, as it’s been before…

  18. Dear Devi, Thank you immeasurably for this wonderful reminder. No words are adequate to express my gratitude. I know for myself, even in Eternity, I could never thank God enough even for one thing. Praise Him, in Jesus’ Name.

  19. Such a beautiful inspiring blog and sweet audio message dearest Devi Ji. Thank you. I had a yellow highlight (as you sweetly called it) just 2 weeks back on how God, Master help us in the right time after some days of praying and asking to overcome a certain test. They are ever so near and I can only thank you all for the constant reminders you give us to feel His grace and blessings in everything that happens in our lives. Thank you Ji.

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