The hardest obstacle to overcome is yourself. When you sit to meditate at night, your nervousness and restlessness are still with you. Learn to control your mind and body. Be king of yourself. Carry within you a portable heaven, and in life or in death, in heaven or in hell, that inner heaven will be with you. Pray deeply, sincerely, “O God, I yearn to know You. You must answer me!” and next morning pray again, “Lord, You must come to me!” and pray again the next night in the same way, in the language of your heart; if you keep on, He must respond. But when you pray halfheartedly, while thinking in the back of your mind about something else, He knows He is not first with you, and He does not respond.
Have God first. Have God now. Don’t wait because delusion(Maya) is very strong. Before you know it, the time will have come for you to quit this world. Whenever you have a moment, sit down and meditate. No matter how many times your prayers have not been answered, don’t worry; keep on praying. Pray with sincerity. Believe that your prayer is answered.
In my life I have seen the most wonderful demonstrations of God’s response to prayer. I urge you to pray not for little things, but for His presence. Only that prayer is worthwhile. If you are willing to sacrifice an hour or two of sleep for meditation every night, you will enter the kingdom of God. Don’t watch the time. With deep sincerity pray, “Lord, I want You alone.” Bad habits and restlessness will try to shake you from your effort, but keep your mind on God and you will find His presence with you.
Desires for worldly joys create the magnetic attraction that draws man back to earth, life after life. Reincarnation is no longer necessary for those who have fulfilled their desires in God. Whenever they want to fulfill any wish, they simply think of that object and it is materialized before them. My mother appeared before me in flesh and blood, just as I see you here. How kind is God, how marvelous is God! that He materializes the objects of our desires to show us His love and gratefulness when we have given Him first place in our hearts.
To be able to demonstrate health or wealth or power or friends with God’s help is fine, but if you can coax God Himself to respond to your prayers, you are a man of destiny. So don’t rest until you demonstrate God in your life. He will give you everything you ever wished for; and He will test you. The tests in the spiritual life are greater than in any other. But you who pass His tests shall say: “Lord, my greatest prayer has been answered. What else could my heart want or need, but You?”
[an excerpt from lecture by Paramhansa Yogananda at SRF International Headquarters,
Los Angeles, California, October 26, 1939]