What Is Prayer?

What Is Prayer?
What Is Prayer?

Ordinarily we think prayer is asking for something, demanding, complaining: you have desires and God can help you to fulfill them. You go to God’s door to ask for something, you go as a beggar. For you prayer is begging, but prayer can never be begging; prayer can only be a thankfulness, a gratitude. But these are totally different: when you go to beg, your prayer is not the end, it is just a means. The prayer is not significant because you are praying to get something; that something is significant, not prayer. And many times you go and your desire is not fulfilled. Then you will drop praying, you will say ”Useless!” For you it is a means.

Prayer can never be a means, just as love can never be a means. Love is the end: you love, not for something else; love in itself has an intrinsic value – you simply love. It is so blissful. Nothing is beyond it, there is no result to be sought through it. It is not a means to some end, it is the end. And prayer is love – you simply go and enjoy it, not asking, not begging.

Prayer itself, intrinsically, is so beautiful, you feel so ecstatic and happy, that you simply go and give thanks to the divine that he allowed you to be, he allowed you to breathe, he allowed you to see – what colors! – he allowed you to listen, he allowed you to be aware. You have not earned it, this is a gift. You go to the temple with a deep thankfulness, just to give thanks: ”Whatsoever you have given me, it is too much. I never deserved it!” Do you deserve anything? Can you find that you are deserving in any way? If you were not here, could you say that some injustice had been done to you? No! All that you have got is simply a gift, it is out of the divine love. You don’t deserve it.

God overflows with his love. When you understand this a quality is born in you: the quality of being grateful. Then you simply go to give him your thanks, then you simply feel gratitude. Gratitude is prayer, and it is so beautiful to feel grateful that nothing can be compared to it, there is nothing in comparison to it. Prayer is the climax of your happiness, it cannot become a means to some other end.

The Mustard Seed