Home - How to Get Your Prayers Answered

How to Get Your Prayers Answered

Paramhansa Yogananda pranaming

An article by Paramhansa Yogananda from the February 1933 issue of East-West Magazine

Praying Without Response

Do you realize that you may have been praying to an unknown God and may not have been getting any response? Every Sunday you get into the church vibration and pray with both earnest and indifferent souls. You feel religious, and you feel afraid of God. Sometimes you get emotional, and sometimes you philosophize about Him, but have you ever taken time to think that your ordinary daily prayer to God is almost always a one-sided affair? Do you like to talk to a deaf, mute person? Do you want to go on appealing or talking to someone who never replies?

Are You Sure Your Prayers Are Answered?

You may say: “I know my prayers are answered, for I hear God talking to me. I have demonstrated His response to my prayers.” “Well,” I ask, “are you sure that your prayers reached God, and if they did reach Him at all, did He consciously respond to them?” What is the proof? You prayed for healing and you became well. Do you know whether your cure was due to natural causes, or medicine, or to your own or another’s prayers, bringing help from God? Sometimes there may be no casual relation between your prayer and your cure.

Testing a Prayer

The conclusion that you were well after your prayers may be a fallacy. The fact that the comet rose and then King Edward died may have had no causal relation. Many people in the same condition as King Edward did not die after the advent of the comet. The clock is about to strike twelve and I clap my hands and say: “Now the clock is going to strike.” The clock strikes after I clap, but there is no causal relation between the two events, for the clock would have struck even though I did not clap. Likewise, even if you happen to pray before an inevitable recovery, that does not mean that your prayer healed you. You might have been healed even if you had not prayed. This is the reason why we should find out whether the law of cause and effect can be scientifically applied to prayer.

The method of agreement and difference ought to be applied to prayer. If, every time you get sick, you pray and get well immediately, and then again, if sometimes you get sick and do not pray and your sickness continues, and as soon as you pray your sickness disappears, then you can say: “Ah, yes, my prayers produce results to a scientific certainty.”

Then comes the question: Would a conscious God, Almighty in Nature, subject Himself to be commanded by the law of cause and effect which He created Himself? Why not? The maker of all laws certainly does not want to break the laws of His own making. Of course, we must remember that, although God is approachable through the law of cause and effect, still He, being above the law of cause and effect, has the right to respond or not to respond to a mechanical prayer. God is something more than can be demonstrated in a laboratory.

It must be found out what kind of prayers bring response from God. The following prayers will serve to compare the different kinds and show the best prayer which can be used for bringing response from God.

The Mechanical Prayer

In Sunday morning services there will be found many people who say the Lord’s prayer in unison with others, not for any other reason than because they are in church. Such people pray and sing like the victrola, which does not know what it sings. They wink their eyes, and watch through the corners of their half-opened eyes what the minister is doing. They listen to the creaking chairs around them, or to the purr of autos passing the church, and especially do they concentrate upon their watches, so as to know when the service will end and they can go home to enjoy their Sunday dinner.

Such people pray because other members of their family pray and they are compelled to go to church for fear of being called irreligious. Most husbands go to church because their wives do. Such prayers are better than nothing, and they produce few results. Of course, it is good for restless people to go to church, for its sacred vibration may sometime awaken them when they are afflicted enough to seek God sincerely.

The Emotional Prayer

Some people pray with excited emotion and become intoxicated with the exuberance of their own passion. Such people feel satisfied by being drunk with their own blind feelings and they think that they are inspiration from God. Such emotions often lose their force in tears, or in religious dances or muscular demonstrations. Visitation of God through intuition is different from emotional outbursts. Emotional prayers bring activity and excitement, while devotional prayers bring the calm joy of the soul.

Intellectual Prayer

Some ministers pray with high-sounding voices, high-sounding words, and sophisticated language to please the ears of intellectual audiences instead of praying to please God only. God does not reveal Himself unto the theoretically wise, but unto babes, who surrender themselves, their egoism, their pride, and their mustard-seed-like knowledge before the vastness and humbleness of His measureless wisdom. Intellectual prayers may uplift the intelligence, but not the soul. They may give intellectual satisfaction, but they do not bring conscious response from God.

The All-Round Prayer

Response-bringing prayers must be intellectually coined. You must understand what you are praying for, whether for money, fame, health, wisdom, or love of God. The intellectual prayer must be sugared and saturated through and through with calm emotion. It should be spiced with continuous devotion and boiled in all-surrendering love. Pray intelligently, with a bursting soul, seldom loudly, mostly mentally, without displaying to anyone what is happening within. Pray intelligently, with the utmost devotion, as if God were listening to everything you were internally, mentally affirming. Pray on into the depths of night in the seclusion of your soul. Pray until He replies to you through the intelligible voice of the utmost bursting joy tingling through every body cell and every thought, or through visible visions depicting what you should do.

Don’t cry to Divine Mother like the baby who stops crying immediately when his mother sends him a toy, but cry unceasingly, rending the heart of the Divine Mother like a Divine Naughty Baby, throwing away all lures and toys of name, fame, power, and possession, and then you will find the answer to your prayers.

Above all, pray unceasingly until you are absolutely sure of the Divine contact, then claim your material, mental, or spiritual need from the Most High as your Divine Birthright.

More by Paramhansa Yogananda:

(Visited 2,315 time, 1 visit today)