(published in The Speaking Tree column, The Times of India October 31, 2008)
Why do we pray? Some want health, others wealth. Some pray for the longevity of their parents, the safety of their children or that some other desire of theirs gets fulfilled. These prayers, like all others, have power and energy that bring them to life.
The only difference between a prayer and a desire is that a prayer is directed towards God with faith. Faith plays an important role in whether the prayer is answered or not. But do we always know what is best for us?
Suppose there is a new video game in town that every child wants. But this game is not without its dangers – it has gore, violence and profanity and might not be in the best interest of the child. But the child still wants it and repeatedly asks his parents for it. They may refuse a few times, but chances are that after a while, may give in to their child’s demands. Not all parents will give in, but some will. So, the child’s ‘prayer’ was ultimately answered by faith and perseverance. But is the video game good for the child?
We ask God for things that we want, but are those things always the best for our spiritual growth? As the saying goes, ‘be careful of what you wish for, because you might get it’. We may be intensely praying for things or relationships that may not be good for us. But the intensity of our prayers creates a vibratory ripple in the Cosmos that will have its answer, its result – the fruit of the desire seed. This is why it is important for our spiritual growth to let God decide what is best for us.
When Jesus Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of his crucifixion, he knew the fate he would suffer the next day. Though he was divine in nature, he was also in human form and naturally did not want to die. So, in Luke 22:42, we learn that he said the following prayer: “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my Will, but Thine, be done.” Christ put God’s will above his own. “Thy Will be done” is also part of the Lord’s Prayer. This is the essence of faith in its truest and purest form.
Putting everything into God’s hands and saying simply, “Let Thy Will be done” requires a tremendous amount of courage. It requires a lot of faith. Because somewhere deep down inside your heart and mind, you wish and hope that the Lord’s Will coincides with your own. But true and pure faith knows (not believes, because believing is not being entirely sure) that the Will of God is best for you. That is true faith. Like in the case of Christ, if he had not died on the cross, he would not have therefore been glorified through resurrection and thus his mission would not have been accomplished. So, his will in this case, would not have been the best for him. God knew what was best and since Christ said, “Let Thy will be done”, it was done.
At the same time it is fine to put your request before the Lord like Christ did when he said, “If Thou be willing, remove this cup from me.” So you can ask God – “If Thou Art be willing then let Thy Will be done, not mine.” This prayer – if said with utmost faith and sincerity and with the knowledge that God loves you and will do whatever is in your best interest – will yield the sweetest fruit.