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Never Be Too Proud to Pray


   “Call to remembrance, O Lord, thy tender mercies, and thy loving kindnesses, which have been ever of old. O remember not the sins and offences of my youth; but according to thy mercy think thou upon me, O Lord...” - Psalm 25

   “A cry uttered only in the depths of the heart is the same in the sight of Him who sounds all hearts, as a cry that pierces the heavens.” - anon

   “Pour out your heart to Him as a little child pours out his heart to his father. Never doubt your Lord’s deep love for you. As you come to Him, come as a weak child, one who is all soiled and badly bruised - a child that has been hurt from falling again and again. Come to the Lord as one who has no strength of his own; come to Him as one who has no power to cleanse himself. Humbly lay your pitiful condition before your Father’s gaze.” - Jean Guyon

   “Prayer is one of the oldest of human acts and one of the first of human needs...The quest begins with prayer and even ends with it too. No man, whether novice or proficient, can afford to throw away this valuable means of communion, adoration, worship, and request… It occupies a most important place in the philosophic aspirant’s life...Prayer, worship, communion, reverence, and faith in God are indispensable parts to the philosophic life...They acquire the religious spirit from it even if they never possessed it before. They increase their religious fervour if they did possess it before. They finish up with a sense of their helplessness, their smallness, and their dependence. They finish up with prayer. This religious worship, so often denounced as the first superstition of primitive man, becomes the final wisdom of matured man.” - Paul Brunton

   “I assure you on the part of God, that usually, indeed nearly always, when you think you are praying your worst, that is the very time when you are praying best. Why? Because on the one hand the will, and the the firm desire to pray is a real prayer of the heart; and because, on the other hand, you pray then without any self-complacency, without any of those vain reflexions which spoil everything; you pray by your patience, your silence, your self-effacement, your submission and abandonment to God; and you leave off praying greatly humiliated and cast down, and without any of those sensible feelings of satisfaction to your self-love that made St. Francis of Sales say that our miserable satisfactions were not those of God...Let us pray to God that he would root out of our hearts everything of our own planting, and set out there, with his own hands, the tree of life, bearing all manner of fruits...St. Augustine said that his mother lived upon prayer; do you so likewise.” - Fenelon

   “The petition you so often make interiorly, “Lord, have pity on me, You can do all things,” is the best and most simple prayer that you could possibly make. Nothing more is required to draw down His powerful aid. Keep steadfastly to this practice and to the habit of never expecting anything from yourself but of hoping to obtain all from God. He will do all the rest, without your perceiving it, and I feel assured that this will be visibly shown by the results. I am interiorly convinced that unless prevented by great infidelity on your part, God, by His holy operation will perform great things in your soul.” - deCaussade

   “A disciple lives by prayer.” - Hazur Baba Sawan Singh

   "Prayer is the salt of life and we cannot do without it...A prayer never goes in vain. A cry from the heart is always heard.” - Sant Kirpal Singh

   "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him...If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him." - Christ

   “A devotee asked why his prayers were not answered and Bhagavan replied laughing, “If they were, you might stop praying.” - Ramana Maharshi

T. Craig Isaacs - from John’s Apocalypse

   “...the ego needs to incorporate the virtues...It also needs to employ a prayer life incorporating vocal prayer as well as mental and affective prayer. Vocal prayer reinforces within the ego, by means of verbalized conversations with God, the reality that it is subservient to God. To neglect such prayers of petition and praise and skip over to meditation allows the ego to continue to experience itself as the center of power, and become immersed in a self-indulgent introspection on spiritual experiences. Prior to the safe encounter with such spiritual experiences, humility, at minimum, must be grasped.“

Ramana Maharshi

   "All such worship is also necessary. What is necessary for the infant class pupil is not necessary for the graduate…[“The Lord is bound to protect a person who has surrendered to Him. In fact one who has surrendered need not even pray; the Lord always remains close extending His protection.”]…But even the graduate has to make use of the very alphabet he learnt in the infant class. He knows the full use and significance of the alphabet now."

Paul Brunton - from The Notebooks

   "He should not fall into the error of believing that the transition to philosophical study has exempted him from the duty of mystical practice or that the transition to the latter has exempted him from the need of religious devotion. We do not drop what belongs to a lower stage but keep and preserve it in the higher one. Aspiration is a vital need. He should become as a child at the feet of his divine Soul, humbly begging for its grace, guidance, and enlightenment. If his ego is strong, prayer will weaken it. Let him do this every day, not mechanically but sincerely and feelingly until the tears come to his eyes. The quest is an integral one and includes prayer alongside of all the other elements."

   "Many philosophic students do not realize the importance of prayer and are genuinely surprised when counsel is given to preface their meditations with a few minutes of humble worship...They seem to think that those who have started practicing mystical exercises - and certainly those who have commenced philosophic studies - have no further need for prayer. They could not be more mistaken.The positive gains from each stage of the Quest are never lost. Those of religion are preserved in the mystical stage, and must not be rejected; those of mysticism are retained in the third and higher degree of philosophy. Naturally, the individual advances to higher conceptions of prayer, but that is not to say he advances beyond its practice altogether. Such an atheistic attitude could never be sanctioned. Sincere prayer is a necessity and a delight to the earnest student."

   "The mystic has to pass through the earlier stage of regarding the Overself as an "other" before he can arrive at the later stage of regarding it as his own, essential self. Hence the need of prayer for the first stage.”

   "Too many individuals - and some of them are followers of this Quest - fail to remember the importance of simple prayer. There is not enough humbling of intellectual pride at the feet of the Higher Power and there is an obvious neglect of reverent worship in their attitudes and daily lives."

   “Every day he should go down on his knees and pray for grace, offer himself in self-surrender to the higher self, and express his yearning and love for it. Such readiness to go down on his knees for a minute or two, to abase the ego’s pride in prayer, is extremely valuable. This is what Jesus meant by becoming “as a little child.”

   “Too often man has to have his ego crushed, has to be pushed into sorrow and even despair, before he is willing to turn his head upward or to bend his knees in prayer to that the unseen power.”

   “When a sensitive man loses faith in his own goodness, and even his own capacities, to the point of despairing hopelessness, he is really ready to pray properly and practice utter dependence upon the Higher Power’s grace.”

   “He has to kneel before his higher self and confess how weak, how ignorant, and how foolish a being he is. And then he has to pray for grace, to ask like a beggar for a little strength light and peace. Such daily recurring prayer is only a beginning of what he has to do but it is a necessary part of that beginning.”

   “There is no entry here for the proud, the conceited, the self-pedestalled. They must first be humbled, shorn, and shamed. They must drop to their knees, must become weeping beggars and wounded mendicants.”

   "It is one sign of progress when we stop informing the higher power of our need, which It must already know. It is another sign of progress when we stop expecting from It some boon which we ought to set about getting for ourselves."

   "What shall he pray for? Let him aspire more intensely than ever to the Overself and ask to become united in consciousness with it, surrendered in will to it, and purified in ego."

   “True prayer is first fellowship, then communion, and ultimately merger. That is, it is a drawing closer and closer to the Overself.”

   “The true purpose of prayer is not to keep asking for some benefit each time we engage in it, but rather to express the yearning of the underself for the Overself, the attraction felt by the ego living in darkness for its parent source dwelling in light.”

   "Beware what you pray for. Do not ask for the truth unless you know what it means and all that it implies and nevertheless are still willing to accept it. For if it is granted to you, it will not only purge the evil out of you but later purify the egotism from your mind. Will you be able to endure this loss, which is unlikely to be a painless one?"

   “He is sometimes taken at his word and made to undergo what Light on the Path refers to as the keenest anguish, which is brought to bear upon the disciple in order to lift him or her finally above the oscillations of experience. The path is no joke. It is as terrible as it is beautiful at other times.

   "Whoever invokes the Overself's Grace ought to be informed that he is also invoking a long period of self-improving toil and self-purifying affliction necessary to fit him to receive that grace."

   "The eternal laws of karma will not cease operating merely for the asking and cannot violate their own integrity. They are impersonal and cannot be cajoled into granting special privileges or arbitrary favors to anyone. There is no cheap and easy escape from them. If a man wants to avoid hurtful consequences of his own sins, he must use those very laws to help him do so, and not attempt to insult them. He must set going a series of new causes which shall produce new and pleasanter consequences that may act as an antidote to the older ones."

   "If the world's business were to be at the mercy of every uttered petition that rises from the lips of men, then it would tumble into chaos, and life would become a bewildering maze. No! - before we talk glibly about prayer being answered, we should first distinguish between pseudo-prayers and genuine prayer."

   "What is the use of praying to the Source for those things which man himself, by using his natural capacities, can supply? He should turn to prayer only when his own efforts are in vain, an indication that it is time to turn the problem over to the Source, the Overself. How many of his illnesses, for example, come from wrong ways of living, eating, drinking, or thinking? The body has its own laws of hygiene, and the learning of them is as much part of his development during his lives on earth as the learning of spiritual laws."

   "Immeasurably better than begging God for things is to beg him for himself."

   "It is good and necessary to practise confession in one's prayer at all times but especially so in distressful times. If one is praying for deliverance, it is not enough merely to ask for it - indeed, that would be egocentric, childish, and useless. One should also ask in what way one is responsible for, or has contributed toward, the making of the trouble from which escape is sought. Nothing should be hidden that can help to bare this guilt. The natural inclination to blame others or protect one's self-esteem should be resisted. Nor should one confess only moral sins; it may be that the cause lies in intellectual incapacity, poor discrimination, or lack of balance."

   "It is common to pray for help to overcome our shortcomings, and this is right; it is even more common to pray to escape the painful results or our shortcomings, but this is not right. Their results are needed for our development and if God took them away from us we would be robbed of a chance to make this development."

   "Too many believe in their own weakness, and in prayer implore or request a high being to bestow upon them a personal power, virtue, or capacity felt to be lacking in themselves. Yet they, too, have latent inner resources, untapped and awaiting exploration."

   "He should not hesitate to pray humbly kneeling in the secrecy of his private room, to the Overself. First his prayer should acknowledge the sins of his more distant past having led to sufferings in the later past or his immediate present, and he should accept this as just punishment without any rebellious feeling. Then he may throw himself on the Grace as being the only deliverance left outside of his own proper and requisite efforts to amend the causes. Finally let him remember the living master to whom he has given allegiance and draw strength from the memory."

   "It is not to be, as it is with so many unenlightened religionists, nothing more than a request to be given something for nothing, a petition for unearned and undeserved personal benefit. It is to be first, a confession of the ego's difficulty or even failure to find its own way correctly through the dark forest of life; second, a confession of the ego's weakness or even helplessness in coping with the moral and mental obstacles in its path; third, an asking for help in the ego's own strivings after self-betterment; fourth, a resolve to struggle to the end to forsake the lower desires and overcome the lower emotions which raise dust-storms between the aspirant and his higher self; and fifth, a deliberate self-humbling of the ego in the admission that its need of a higher power is imperative."

   "Prayers really begin when their words end. They are most active not when the lips are active but when they are still."

   "Prayer not only must be used as a suitable preface to meditation, but may also be effectively used as a help to meditation. When an aspirant is unable to calm his restless thoughts, in addition to the constant daily regular effort to do so - for perseverance is part of the secret of success - he may pray to the higher self to take possession of his mind. Such prayer must be deeply heartfelt, constantly repeated, and animated by a longing to get away from the peaceless ego."

   "It seems to be a law of the inner life that we have to ask for the inner help that is needed long long before it begins to manifest."

   "His prayers and longing, his aspirations and yearnings are not in vain. They are all heard, let him be assured of that. But their fulfillment must necessarily come in the Overself's time, not his own. A seed cannot shoot up all at once into a tree. The processes of growth in nature satisfy the criterions of soundness, although they dismay the criterions of sentimentality."

   "The answer to prayer may come in a wholly unexpected way that we neither desire nor like. It may come as an apparent misfortune, for that may be the real "good" for us just then."

   "If the response to prayer could set aside universal laws for the sake of those who pray, then the universe would become a chaos."

   "Where the response to prayer is so direct definite and unmistakable, it is mostly because the devotee has touched this infinite power through and in his Overself. This does not mean that the Deity has intervened to set laws, decrees, or circumstance aside for this one man's personal benefit. It means rather that he has himself drawn on his own latent godlike capacity. This can happen only when the attitude of prayer becomes so intense and so concentrated that it is really a form of meditation."

   "If the sincere desire of his heart is echoed by a prayer that expresses humility and requests guidance, it will be heard. Although he may receive no answer for quite a time, sooner or later it will come."

   "If he could penetrate into the so-called unconscious levels of his mind he might find, to his utter amazement, that his enemies, critics, or domestic thorns-in-the-flesh ares the very answer to his prayer for Grace. They fully become so, however, only when he recognizes them as such, when he perceives what duty or what self-discipline they give him the chance to practise."

   "Many who ask for Grace would be shocked to hear that the troubles which may have followed their request were actually the very form in which the higher power granted the Grace to them."

   "In the end, and after we have tried sufficiently long and hard, we find that the knot of self cannot be untied. It is then that we have to call on grace and let it work on us, doing nothing more than to give our consent and to accept its methods."

   “Are we to wander with all our burdens from a hapless birth to a hopeless death? Or shall we surrender them?”

   “He will come to the point where he will give up the burden of always trying to do something for his spiritual development, the burden of believing that it rests entirely upon his own shoulders.”

   “Having worked to the utmost upon himself, but finding that a stable spiritual consciousness still eludes him, he has no recourse except to submit his further development to a higher power than his own will and then wait and let it work upon him.”

   “It may be helpful to try a new angle on his spiritual problems. This is to stop striving and to wait with surrendered will for the higher power. The power is there within him and without him and knows his need. Let him stop being tense, stop working and striving. Let him even stop studying for the realization of this presence, but let him just ask prayerfully for it to take hold of him.”

   "At a certain stage he must learn to "let go" more and allow the Overself to possess him, rather than strain to possess something which he believes to be still eluding him. Every aspirant who has passed it will remember how he leapt ahead when he made this discovery."

St. Augustine

   "Usually prayer is a question of groaning rather than speaking, tears rather than words."

Nineteenth century hymn

   “What a friend with have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear; what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.
   Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear; all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer....
   Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear; May we ever, Lord, be bringing, all to Thee in earnest prayer.
   Soon in glory bright unclouded, there will be no need for prayer; Rapture, praise and endless worship, will be our sweet portion there.”

Jeanne Guyon

   “St. Paul declared that it is the Spirit who must pray:

   “The Spirit also helpeth our weaknesses: for we know not what we should pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself make the intercession for us, with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)

   “This is plain enough: we do not know what we need! We do not know how to pray for the things we need. In fact, we do not know how to pray! Ah, but the Spirit who lives inside us
[Jesus Christ, for Guyon; for others the Master, or Master-Power] knows what and how to pray. The One to whom you have given yourself knows everything! If that be true, shouldn’t you therefore allow Him to pour out His unutterable groanings on your behalf? You cannot always be sure about your own prayer. But, oh, the Spirit is always heard when He prays.”


   "True prayer is not a matter of sense or imagination, but of the mind and the will. But one may easily make mistakes in speaking of pleasure and delight. There is a pleasure that is altogether vague and indeliberate, that does not proceed from the will. And there is a deliberate pleasure, which is nothing more than a steadfast will. And this delight that comes of the deliberate will is that of which the psalmist says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." [Psalm 36:4] This delight is inseparable from all real prayer, because it is in itself prayer."

   "This is not always accompanied by that other delight, the involuntary one that we can feel. The "deliberate pleasure" may be the most real, and yet not give any emotional consolation. Sometimes souls that are the most severely tested may retain the delight of the will in an utterly dry prayer without conscious pleasure. Otherwise we would be reduced to saying that souls are perfected in God's ways only to the degree to which they feel their pleasure in virtue increasing, and that all souls deprived of conscious pleasure by a time of trial have lost the love of God and are under delusion."

   “We must not be ever children, always hanging upon the breast of heavenly consolations; we must put away childish things with St. Paul (1 Cor. 13:11) Our early joys were excellent to attract us, to detach us from gross and worldly pleasures by others of a purer kind, and to lead us into a life of prayer and recollection; but to be constantly in a state of enjoyment that takes away the feeling of the cross, and to live in a fervor of devotion, that continually keeps paradise open, this is not dying upon the cross and becoming nothing.”

   "This life of illumination and sensible delights, is a very dangerous snare, if we become so attached to it as to desire nothing farther; for he who has no other attraction to prayer, will quit both it and God whenever this source of his gratification is dried up. St. Teresa says that a great number of people leave off praying at the very moment when their devotion is beginning to be real. How many there are who, in consequence of too soft an upbringing in Jesus Christ, and too great a fondness for the milk of his word, go back and abandon their interior life as soon as God undertakes to wean them! We need not be astonished at this, for they mistake the portico of the temple for the very sanctuary itself. They desire the death of their unrefined external passion, so that they may lead a delicious life of self-satisfaction within. From this it follows that unfaithfulness and disappointment occur even among those who appear the most fervent and the most devoted. Those who have talked the loudest about death to self and about the darkness of faith are often the most surprised and discouraged when they really experience these things and their consolation is taken away...Interior delights and revelations secure our self-love against loss or harm - despite all our external sacrifices - and lead us to cherish a secret and refined life of the old nature. But to allow ourselves to be stripped inwardly and outwardly at once, outwardly by Providence and inwardly by this dark night of pure faith - this is a total sacrifice and least likely to be subject to self-deception."

   "Those who seek a constant succession of emotions and certainties are by that very course exposing themselves most surely to deception. On the other hand, those who follow the leadings of the love that strips them and leaves them the faith that walks in darkness, without seeking any other support, avoid all the sources of error and deception."

   “Prayer, then, does not consist in sweet feelings, or the charms of an excited imagination, or in the illumination of the intellect that traces with ease the sublimest truths in God; nor even in a certain consolation in the view of God; all these things are external gifts from his hand, in the absence of which, love may exist even more purely, as the soul may then attach itself immediately and solely to God, instead of to his mercies. This is that love by naked faith which is the death of nature, because it leaves it no support; and when we are convinced that all is lost, that very conviction is the evidence that all is gained.”

   “It is a sort of infidelity to simple faith when we desire to be continually assured that we are doing well; it is, in fact, to desire to know what we are doing, which we shall never know, and of which it is the will of God that we should be ignorant...We never pray so purely as when we are tempted to believe that we do not pray at all...There is no more bitter penance than this state of pure faith without sensible support; and hence it seems to me the most effective, the most crucifying, and the least illusive. Strange temptation! We look impatiently for sensible consolation from the fear of not being penitent enough! Ah! why do we not consider the renouncement of that consolation which we are so strongly tempted to seek, as a proof of our penitence? Remember our Lord abandoned by his Father on the cross: all feeling, all reflection withdrawn that his God might be hidden from him; this was the last blow that fell upon the man of sorrows, the consummation of the sacrifice. Never should we so abandon ourselves to God as when He seems to abandon us. Let us enjoy light and consolation when it is his pleasure to give it to us, but let us not attach ourselves to his gifts, but to Him; and when He plunges us into the night of Pure Faith, let us still press on through the agonizing darkness. Moments are worth days in this tribulation; the soul is troubled and yet at peace; not only is God hidden from it, but it is hidden from itself, that all may be of faith.”

   "We may be sure that we never need to pray so earnestly as when we cannot lay hold of any pleasure in prayer. That is the season of testing and trial, and consequently the time for the most earnest recourse to God...It is easy to say to ourselves, "I love God with all my heart," when we are conscious of nothing but pleasure in such love. But true love is the one that suffers while loving: "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him!"
[Job 13:15]

   “It is certain from the Holy Scriptures (Rom. 8; John 14) that the Spirit of God dwells within us, acts there, prays without ceasing, groans, desires, asks for us what we know not how to ask for ourselves, urges us on, animates us, speaks to us when we are silent, suggests to us all Truth, and so unites us to Him that we become one spirit (Cor. 6:17)...The interior teacher, the Holy Spirit, who does everything in us. He is the soul of our soul, we could not form a thought or desire without Him. Alas! what blindness is ours! We reckon ourselves alone in the interior sanctuary, when God is much more intimately present there than we are to ourselves.”

   "Lord, I do not know what I ought to be asking of you. You are the only One who knows what I need. You love me better than I know how to love myself. Father! - give your child what I do not know how to ask for myself."

   (~ Sawan Singh's Prayer: "My Lord! I am ignorant, I do not know what to ask of you. Give me that which you deem fit to give me and about how and where you keep me....")

St. John of the Cross - from The Spiritual Canticle

   "The discrete lover does not care to ask for what she lacks and desires, but only indicates this need so the Beloved may do what he pleases...There are three reasons for this. First, the Lord knows what is suitable for us better than we do; second, the Beloved has more compassion when he beholds the need and resignation of a soul that loves him; third, the soul is better safeguarded against self-love and possessiveness by indicating its lack, rather than asking for what in its opinion is wanting."

Madame Guyon - from Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ

   "But the fact that you will have spiritual dry spells is not the issue. The important question is what you will do in a time of spiritual dryness...You must await the return of your Beloved with patient love...By waiting upon the Lord in this way, you will demonstrate to Him that it is He alone whom you are seeking. You see, you will be demonstrating that it is not the selfish enjoyment which you receive from being in His presence that causes you to love Him. You will be showing that it is not the pleasure which you experience, but your love that motivates you."

   "Let me ask you a question. What if the Lord called upon you to spend your whole lifetime waiting for His return to you? How would you conduct yourself if this were the lot the Lord should mete out to you for all the rest of your life? What would you do? Do this. Wait upon Him in a spirit of humility, in a spirit of abandonment, with contentment and resignation...As you do these things, accompany them all with pleas of sorrowful, plaintive love and expressions of yearnings for your lover's return. I wish to assure you that if you will conduct yourself this way, it will please the heart of God greatly. Such an attitude will compel Him to return to you much more quickly than any other.”

   “An habitual consent from your heart, a humble “fiat,” a complete abandonment, and perfect confidence, that is all. From morning to night you have nothing else to do. It will appear to you that you are doing nothing, but all will be done.”

   "In the beginning you were led into His presence by prayer, but now, as prayer continues, the prayer actually becomes His presence. In fact, we can no longer say that it is prayer that continues. It is actually His presence that continues with you. This is beyond prayer. Now a heavenly blessedness is yours. You begin to discover that God is more intimately present to you than you are to yourself, and a great awareness of the Lord begins to come to you."

Father Maximos

   "When we get ready to pray we must have in mind that God is literally present and that we must speak to Him in utter earnestness of heart and with precision. We must remember that God is listening and registering our every word, our every thought, and our every feeling. I am always awed by the seriousness with which the saints addressed God during their prayer. They were totally focussed and very precise, something that we must learn to do as a matter of course...It is absolutely impossible to pray to an impersonal intelligence...God is personal, not some kind of abstract idea."

Michael Molinos (from The Spiritual Guide)

   “Do you believe when you have come from prayer that is dry, that it was because of poor preparation and that the time you spent before Him has done you no good? If you do, then your belief is fallacious. Genuine prayer does not consist in enjoying the Lord, nor enjoying His light. Nor is it in having gained knowledge of spiritual things...The consistency of true prayer is in faith, and in waiting on Him. First you believe that you are turning to Him with your heart. And you wait there before Him, tranquilly. These are the only preparations that you need.”

   “And if it seems to you that you have done nothing in the time that you have set aside for the Lord, do not be deceived. A good heart - a firmness in prayer - is something that is very pleasing to the Lord. When we come to the Lord in this way we labor without personal interest. We labor merely for the glory of God. Surely it may seem that we wait in vain, yet this is not so. We are as the young men who work in the field with their father. At the end of the day, unlike the hired labor, we receive no pay. But at the end of the year, we enjoy all things.”

   “When there is no emotional experience nor intellectual insight into His way, the enemy may suggest to you that God has not spoken. But your Lord is not impressed with a multitude of words. He is impressed with the purity of your heart. He wishes to see the inward part of you humbled, quiet, and totally surrendered to Him and to His will, whatever it may be. You may not find emotions to produce such a relationship, but you will find a door by which you will enter into your nothingness and His all.”

There will be times of difficulty, as mentioned:

Madame Guyon, Les Torrents

   “Prayer in this particular state is very painful. In fact, it is not surprising that the Christian may not even be able to lay hold of prayer. There was a time when a sweet and profound calm was in prayer, and that calm was in prayer and that calm sustained prayer. But God has withdrawn this. Prayer seems to be lost. The Christian finds himself the same as believers who have never practiced praying. There is one difference, though, he feels the pain of the loss.”


   "When you speak a true prayer, you'd better watch out, because you're going to get what you pray for. And what I mean by a "true prayer" is one which is spoken, or made, when you open yourself to the entire universe, from a place of not knowing and not expecting anything in particular. The first time I ever said a true prayer was when I was sitting in a vast desert at a bus stop in California, in a long desert between two mountain ranges. I was contemplating my spiritual life, and I suddenly had the impulse to pray. At the time, prayer wasn't something that I did very often, but somehow, I felt this impulse. I said to the universe, "Give me whatever is necessary for me to awaken. I don't care what it takes. I don't care if the rest of my life is one of ease, and I don't care if the rest of my life is hellish. Whatever's necessary, that's what I want. I'm inviting it. Give me whatever I need to awaken from this separation." When I said this prayer, it was like I was giving the keys of control back to the universe. When I uttered this prayer, it was very frightening. I remember thinking, "What did I just do? What force might I have unleashed?"

   "It became clear that I had unleashed a great force. At that moment, I gave my illusion of control back to a higher intelligence, and sure enough, I did get everything I needed, in relatively short measure, to really open my consciousness. Some of it was beautiful, filled with ease and love and openness , and some of it was rather horrific - very difficult and trying. But in retrospect, I had to admit that I got everything for which I asked. I got exactly what I needed for my own consciousness to awaken from separation. So never underestimate the power of prayer and its ability to open us to grace."

   [In an early essay on his awakening, Adya wrote that after years of effort he "prayed to a God he didn't even believe in," and when he asked his teacher if that was all right, the teacher replied, "yes, yes, that is the prayer of a Buddha"]

Jean-Pierre deCaussade

   “Let us depend then on God alone, for He never changes, and knows better than we do what is necessary for us, and, like a good father, is always ready to give it. But He has to do with children who are often so blind that they do not see for what they are asking. Even in their prayers, that to them seem so sensible and just, they deceive themselves by desiring to arrange the future which belong to God alone...Let us learn then to resign ourselves in all and everything with submission and confidence in Him Who can do all things, and Who disposes of all things according to His own plans. If we could only attain to this state of holy submission we should wait patiently for things to happen at the appointed time, instead of at the time that, in our impatience, we expect them. Abandonment to God’s holy providence binds Him, in a way, to find a remedy for everything, and to provide for and console us in all our needs. Remind yourself of this great saying, “Everything passes away, God alone remains.” Abandon yourself and all who are dear to you, therefore, to His loving care.”

Swami Shantatmananda

   “Devotees would often come to Sri Ramakrishna to seek spiritual advice. They would often lament that they don’t feel a deep love for God. All their spiritual practices appear superfluous and quite often they experience dryness of heart. Sri Ramakrishna would console them and advise them that one of the most potent ways of advancing in spiritual life is to practice the discipline of prayer. Not only that such a prayer should be accompanied by an intense longing for God, one should pray to God shedding tears of agony. In this connection, he would tell them about the love of Radha for Sri Krishna, to inspire them. It appears once Radha complained to Vrinda, her companion, “Our separation from Sri Krishna has made you shed tears of sorrow, but hardly a tear appears in my eyes.” Vrinda replied, “Separation from your Krishna has gone beyond mere tears, my sister. Besides, the intense grief that is burning within you dries up your tears even before they are formed. No sooner the tears appear in your eyes, they evaporate in the fire of agony that is burning within you.” Of course, Radha’s agony is due to her inability to bear her separation from Sri Krishna. Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that to weep for God or to intensely feel separation from Him, one should establish first a loving relationship with Him. This is possible through prayer because in prayer a devotee tries to converse with God. He tries to express all his feelings and by constantly practicing this discipline, it is possible to slowly form a definite relationship with God. When this matures, it will manifest more and more as Vyakulata or longing or a deep desire to realize Him. In fact, this will ripen to such an extent that one would shed tears during prayers. Thus through a very simple discipline it is possible to progress with certainty in your Godward journey.” (SundayGuardianLive, June 2020)

The Philosophy of the Masters, Series Three

  “He in whose power is the whole world,
   He who is the doer of all things,
   No one is beyond Him,
   Pray to your Master,
   He will crown your efforts with success,
   He whose court is the highest,
   He whose name sustains the devotees,
   He who pervades and owns all,
   He whose glory is present in all minds,
   He by remembering whom death cannot harm,
   He by remembering whom dry lands become green,
   He by remembering whom the drowning ones swim across,
   O Nanak, He has heard my prayers.
   The Saints will have mercy on me and I will dwell in the Name.”

   “Sincere prayer from the heart of the disciple reaches the Master, and remembrance of the disciple by the Master produces peace and bliss in the disciple.”

   “Do not forget the Lord through whose grace you have come into this world. O Nanak, remember Him alone through whose grace all obtain salvation. By his kindness you get light; by His mercy the lotus opens. When He is pleased He dwells in the heart. By His mercy the intellect becomes pure. O Lord, Your devotee serves wherever You wish. O Nanak, one has no choice in the matter.”

   “We wish to reach the Lord with the aid of the mercy and strength of the Master. Even though we may fall at every step, that power helps us. It is a law of spirituality that if a disciple takes one step on the path indicated by the Master, the Master takes a hundred steps to meet him. He is the bestower of all benefits. He is beyond praise or comprehension, If you remember the Master just once, the Master remembers you again and again. The Master is all merciful. His praise is beyond understanding.”
(Bhai Gurdas Ji)

Hazur Baba Sawan Singh

   “Shams Tabrez says that if you have not developed yearning for the Lord, you should remain busy in remembering Him, for the Lord does not withhold wages from the labourer.”

Sant Kirpal Singh

   “A disciple must learn to really pray to his Master sincerely and if he does so, all feasible help is sure to come to relieve him or to soften the situation and to minimize the resultant suffering...The Master is the Lord of Compassion. In His kingdom which is boundless, there is no account of deeds.The atmospheric range of a Master-Saint is a vast immensity which man can hardly imagine...The Saint is present everywhere and His sway extends to realms undreamed of. He never leaves nor forsakes His disciples to the end of the world.”