Question: Since the Supreme is fully aware of all of our needs, why is it appropriate to pray?Sri Chinmoy: If you get something through prayer, it only increases its value in your life. You can tell the world, “I prayed for it. That’s why I got it.” A child is hungry and he tells his mother, “I am hungry.” Then the mother feeds the child. Then the child will be able to tell the world, “Look, I have this kind of closeness with my mother.” Yes, the mother would have fed the child on her own, but the fact that he asks and his mother listens to his request gives him joy. It means that she is at his beck and call. Because of his inner connection and closeness with his mother, the child can ask the mother to help him.
God sees everything, but in the outer life, if we ask Him for something and He gives it to us, then we get the glory. At that time, however, as individuals we are separated from Him. We feel that God is somewhere and we are somewhere else. We never think that He is around or beside us. We don’t remain in our highest consciousness where we feel that we and God are one. If we feel that we and God are one, then the question of prayer does not arise, for our needs are His needs.
As long as we feel separated from God and feel that we have to ask Him for what we need, then we get joy from our prayer. We feel, “Just because I prayed, God gave me what I wanted, so I am worthy of having His Compassion.” He would have done it unconditionally, but we would not have had the same kind of satisfaction. In a race, if somebody tries very hard and runs the whole course, she will be so delighted when I give her a trophy. She has run with such difficulty and with so much trouble, and she feels that she has earned the trophy. Now, even if you don’t finish the race, I can also give you a trophy, because the trophy is there, but you will not feel satisfied because you have done nothing. God can give everything unconditionally, but you will not be happy, whereas the person who tries and shows the capacity really deserves what he gets. Here the fulfilment of our prayer is the trophy. If somebody prays and meditates and gets something, he will get more satisfaction than if God had given him the thing unconditionally.
Prayer intensifies our intimacy with the Supreme. Meditation increases our oneness with the Supreme. Before we meditate and become one, we have to acquire intimacy. First we have to feel that we and God are intimate friends; then we can realise our oneness-reality with God. Before we meditate, if we pray for a few seconds, then we are developing our intimate connection with the Supreme. Then, once we start meditating, we are developing our oneness-reality with the Supreme. Prayer is intimacy. Meditation is oneness. Unless we are intimate, how can we become one? We have to become intimate first; then only we can become one.