What is the difference between prayer with expectations and without expectations?
There are two types of prayer depending on the intention behind the prayer. Which prayers do you make more often?
1. Prayer with worldly expectation
This is the commonest variety of prayer. This type of prayer is said with the expectation of fulfillment of some worldly requirement. The prayer may or may not be accompanied by any other spiritual practice.
Some of the prayers with worldly expectation would include prayers about:
• Gross material requirements like job, partner, child, etc.
• Subtle material requirement like recovery from illness, happiness, etc.
Prayers that are said with expectation of some worldly benefit are generally said by people in the initial stages of their spiritual journey. Even those whose prayers about some worldly benefit are regularly answered, are generally in the initial stages of their spiritual journey.
When we pray for the worldly benefit of ourselves or others, the prayer may get answered but we end up using our spiritual energy gained through spiritual practice. This spiritual energy could be either from this birth or an earlier birth.
People who continue praying lifelong with worldly expectations use prayer as a tool to obtain a little something from God rather than striving to increase spiritual practice to attain the all encompassing continual grace of God. The important disadvantage of this type of prayer is that one tends to remain trapped in worldly desires and needs instead of transcending to surrender to God’s will and being able to rely on Him to provide as per our requirement (and not as per our wish).
2. Prayer without worldly expectation (for spiritual growth)
This type of prayer is said by the seekers of God who are serious about their spiritual journey. In such prayers also there is a pleading to God, but it is not about worldly expectations. The expectation is about being able to do better spiritual practice to achieve spiritual progress. Seekers may also pray for removal of obstacles in their spiritual practice, reduction of their ego, etc.
A prayer without expectation for the man in the photograph here would be: “Lord, I have just finished the interview and I leave the outcome at Your feet. Please grace me with the strength to accept the outcome as per Your wish.”
Seekers who pray without worldly expectations have the double benefit of being graced with spiritual progress as well as their material need being taken care of as per the requirement. Here as the person who is praying surrenders much more than the person who prays with worldly expectations, he is able to access much more grace of God. Also the surrender contributes to dissolution of mind, intellect and ego. Both these factors result in rapid spiritual progress.
Prayer with worldly expectation
– Prayer may get answered if a person’s destiny does not deem it otherwise.
– Spiritual energy is used up.
– Spiritual progress does not occur.
Prayer without worldly expectation (for spiritual growth)
– Always gets answered depending on the intensity of the prayer and person’s spiritual level.
– Spiritual energy is not used up.
– Spiritual progress occurs and worldly requirements too are taken care of as per God’s wish.
In summary, the following is a rule of thumb that one can keep in mind when making a prayer:
• If the prayer is about enhancing the five senses, mind and intellect it is a prayer with worldly expectation
• If the prayer is about making efforts to experience the Soul (i.e. the God within us) it is a prayer without worldly expectation.