For what should we pray?

All of us have prayed to God to fulfil certain desires. Then after some time, we were ashamed. We asked ourselves, "How could I have prayed for such silly things?" But it is never too late to correct our mistakes. Once we have come to realise them, we can pray to God for guidance, the most essential thing. When we allow God to lead and guide us, this problem of personal desire never arises because He transforms our personal desires into aspiration.

Very often seekers pray for their near and dear ones and they create real problems in the inner world. In spite of knowing that their parents or dear ones are most ordinary and not at all aspiring, they pray for them most sincerely. The children pray for their parents and dear ones because they feel it is their duty — and to some extent it is a real duty. If the children pray to God to cure their parents of illness, what happens? When they are cured, they enter deeper into ignorance and create problems for their children, who are spiritual.

When we pray for Light, Purity, Peace and Bliss, consciously or unconsciously, we become closer to God. This is the difference between desire and aspiration. In our desire, we try only to possess and be possessed, but in our aspiration we enter into our infinite Self where there is nothing to be possessed by and nothing to possess. Everything is already ours and we are part of everything.

So what are we trying to do now? We are trying to aspire, not desire. In the ordinary human life we desire, but in the spiritual life we aspire. Desire was necessary in our early life, but the strength of desire is very limited. Now we need aspiration to carry us to God. Today one desire is fulfilled, tomorrow another and the day after tomorrow another. It is like an endless train. With only one aspiration we can go up like a climbing flame and touch the Highest; with one aspiration we can realise God.

When we pray to God, there is a divine approach which is infinitely superior from the spiritual point of view to the ordinary approach. When we pray with our human love, very often, although not always, we act like beggars. We have a conscious or unconscious desire to get something from Him. As long as there are two different wills involved, the seeker will have no peace. The best thing is to pray to God only for the fulfilment of His Will in and through us. At that time we are not expecting anything from Him, even unconsciously. In that way we give Him the responsibility and we become the observer. We pray for whatever God feels is best for us. If the seeker can sincerely say, "My will is my Father's Will," his conscience will be free because he is identifying himself with the Will of the Supreme, the eternal Father.

Some people pray for understanding between generations. They sincerely say, "We have to change ourselves first before changing the world. Then we have to adapt ourselves to the ways of others." There will not always remain conflict and misunderstanding between the old generation and the new generation if each is sincere and genuine in its own inner and outer progress. Each must try to see the truth that the other is trying to reveal. Truth is omnipresent and at the same time truth is manifold. At each moment truth is being utilised for a different purpose.

We must never pray to God to change someone's mind just because we want his opinions to agree with ours. If we feel that he is making mistakes, we should pray to God to guide and mould him in a divine way, the way He wants. A man has every right to pray to God to make his son a brilliant, sincere, honest and true citizen of the world, a pride of humanity. But he has no right to pray to God to make his son's opinions always agree with his own. That will be wasted time. He does not actually know what is best for his son, but his mind tells him what it thinks is best. That is a selfish prayer. But we can freely pray to God to make our son, our wife, or anybody whom we love, the best person on earth in every way: physically, vitally, mentally and spiritually. This kind of prayer is always good and is never a waste of time. It is a sincere wish for the best for the person we are concerned about. So let us not try to justify our own ways, but let us pray to God to guide and mould our younger ones in a divine way, in His own Way.

In the spiritual life we should pray only to please God in His own Way. If God wants us to be His instrument, well and good. If God wants somebody else to be His chosen instrument, at that time also we have to be equally satisfied. If a seeker cannot please God in His own Way, then the next best thing is to try to please God in a limited way. We can try to please God instead of pleasing darkness and ignorance. Then gradually we will develop abundant inspiration and aspiration to please God in His own Way.

What is the best thing to pray for? By far the best thing is to pray to God to give you the inner capacity to please Him in His own Way. You can try to please God in your own way and God will be pleased to some extent. But if you can please Him in His own Way, then God can think of you as His chosen instrument because He will know that at any moment He can send you into the battlefield of life. What for? To fight against fear, doubt, anxieties, imperfections, limitations, bondage and death. This is what you will do the moment you make your total, unconditional surrender to God's Will. When you can say, "Let Thy Will be done," God will say, "You are ready now. I can accept you as My chosen instrument.”

Otherwise, what will happen? Right now if God stands in front of you, immediately you will bring Him a big garland and you will place it at His Feet. You will think, "I am sure God is pleased, because He likes flowers and I have brought flowers to worship Him." But at that time, if God was thirsty and wanted a glass of water from you, do you think your offering of flowers will really please Him? He was thirsty, but you brought only flowers. The idea that God may want water, not flowers, did not flash across your mind. But your mind told you that worshipping God with flowers is the best thing to do, so you brought flowers and placed them at His Feet. At that time you expected God to be pleased with you, and God was pleased to some extent by your own form of worship. But poor God was thirsty at that time and He wanted water from you. If you had asked God, "Please tell me what You would like to have from me," then God would have said, "Please bring Me a glass of water." Then you would have done it and you would have pleased God totally.

We have always to wait for God's Command. We have always to be vigilant, aspiring and loving. At any moment God can tell us that He is ready for our service. At any moment He may be ready to command us. Our soul listens to God's Commands, but our mind, vital and body are stubborn. They are very often unwilling to listen to God's dictates. Then what happens? There is a fight in the family. As in our earthly families the members very often quarrel and fight, our body, vital and mind very often stand against our heart. The poor heart wants to take the side of the soul but when the vital and the body put pressure on the heart, the heart often surrenders to the vital and the body and loses the fight.

Always pray to God to fulfil Him. In order to do that we must first realise Him consciously. He is within us as He is within everything and everybody. This is a theoretical idea right now, but there will come a time when it will be a conscious feeling. We will be consciously aware of the existence of the Supreme in ourselves and in everybody. We have to feel the Supreme as the supreme Reality. Unless we have the conscious feeling of God's presence in each individual it will be impossible for us to fulfil Him totally in His own Way. First we have to feel that He is in everybody. Otherwise, at every moment we will find fault with our friends, neighbours and relatives, and then, if God asks us to serve Him in them, we will be reluctant. Everybody has read in a book or heard from others that there exists someone by the name of God, but this is not a reality for them. When we have a living feeling of God's existence within us, then we can sincerely pray, "God, I wish to please You and fulfil You in Your own way." That is by far the best prayer that we can offer to the Supreme.