Does God respond to our prayers?

by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa, India)

Does God respond to our prayers?

There may be mixed feelings or conclusions about the outcome of our prayers to God. Sometimes God responds to the prayer of an individual and at other times He doesn’t. Let me analyze the situation because this is a very typical question to which nobody can reply straightforward in affirmation or negation.

Why do we pray? Our purposes may range from acquiring worldly objectives (family, health, wealth, fame, et cetera) to cursing a tormentor. Not only do we pray for our requirements and likings but also for removing the objectives of our dislike. Moreover, we may pray for some desires that originate in our mind due to jealously or rivalry. We may also be afraid of losing what we possess, so we pray for the growth of it, or for keeping at least the status quo of our possession.

In fact, there is no difference among likes, dislikes, desires, ambition, etcetera, as their origin is the same, i.e., attachment and hatred. However, although I didn’t desire certain things in my life (Please see my article: God knows what I really want), they nevertheless happened for my overall good. Does it mean that we should not pray for anything and accept whatever we get from our sincere efforts?

If we take astrology for granted, we find that a life pattern on the basis of the karmic effects of earlier lives is already set up prior to birth. But there is always a scope for the betterment of the doomed people and downfall of the righteous people on account of one’s freedom to act. It is considered that, other than man, no species has such freedom. It is man who never feels satisfied with his position and looks for the advice from an astrologer to alleviate his suffering or to get desired results.

If someone, in a desolate state, happens to take shelter at the feet of the Lord, or leaves everything at His mercy, then saints have assured betterment of the situation. This betterment should not be measured in terms of physical objects and fulfillment of ambitions, but by what is gained in peace of mind or spirituality.
Where to pray to God? According to the saints one need not run to any specific place or do it ceremoniously. A well-known saying is given below:

A man while passing his stool was remembering God or praying. A faithful associate of God happened to notice it. He kicked the fellow for doing prayer in such a nasty place and went away. Afterward he met God in heaven and found that He was yelling due to pain. The associate happened to ask the reason, to which God replied: “You kicked the fellow when he was remembering Me. Wherever a devotee remembers Me sincerely in whatever condition or mood, I happen to descend in his heart and feel his pains.”

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