All right, so I know I've been going a bit off the beaten path lately. I wanted to give a few weeks to explain where I am coming from now.
But now, I can return to the point of this site, which I see as twofold: to teach the importance of a spiritual connection with God, and then once that is in place, to co-create with God the kind of life you'd like to live.
Why It's Okay to Ask for Things
I'll respond to this in two ways. Firstly from my own personal experience in the past, and secondly from what I've learned.
Toward the end of last year, of course I had been talking a lot about the law of attraction. I believed that it was a mechanical process. You put in the right emotions and intentions, and you get back the desired result.
Yet around the same time, I ran into some difficult circumstances financially. At that time I figured that I wasn't trusting enough, so my mistrust of the process was being reflected back to me. In a sense, I wasn't too far from the truth.
We had two or three months where I often didn't know how the next bill would be paid for. By necessity, I had to learn to trust, because there was literally nothing I could do in my own power to change things. And isn't it often in this way that God teaches us the lessons we need to learn? For me, trusting and surrendering to God was the lesson.
In doing that, I saw things turn around often miraculously. No, I didn't win the lottery or anything like that, but in the nick of time, just enough money would come through to take care of our needs, and often more than that, too.
Intellectually, I believed this was happening because the law of attraction was reflecting back my increased trust. I believed there was nothing more than that to it, no intelligence behind the scenes. Yet, emotionally and spiritually, I often felt like there was something that wanted to bless me, because I had left that room open through my increased trust. It didn't feel like the output of a purely mechanical process: it felt like something very personal paying attention to my needs and desires, and answering them.
But of course, I wanted to believe that I was in control of all this, so I couldn't believe there was something else. But now that I look back, I am moved by the blessings I received, despite believing there was no one behind them.
As time continued and I realized more and more the importance of surrendering to God, things got easier and easier. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the path of increased surrender brought me to where I am now.
Now lately, I've had to rebuild my philosophy from the ground up, if you will. I knew certain things from personal experience, such as the importance of letting go and surrendering your desires to God. But the reason I thought those things worked was not at all the real reason, and I had to figure out how it all fit together.
I used to feel very selfish asking God for things in prayer. A lot of times when I was younger, that was really the only time I would pray, to ask for something.
But through my experiences last year, as well as these new changes, I realized that God wants to answer our supplications. He does not see it as selfish or needy in the least, but in fact He wants us to ask for our needs, and even our wants.
Now why is this? I think it's because when we go to Him with our requests, we realize that we don't have the power to fulfill them ourselves. We are admitting that He has full control, and therefore we surrender our request to God.
So in a sense, the very act of asking for our desires is the beginning of surrender, and as always, surrendering to God is the key to having our desires fulfilled. Therefore, we should not be shy about asking.
Keys to Having Your Supplications Answered
First of all, from here on out I'm going to call them supplications, not manifestations. “Manifestations” implies that we're in control of this process, and if we think, say and do the right things, then we're guaranteed to get what we want.
However, this is a supplication. That means, there is no guarantee. It might not be the right thing for us at this time, or our trust and patience might be tested, first. It might come in a different form than we expect. If it were guaranteed, then it wouldn't really be a blessing, would it? We could simply tell God what we wanted and He'd have to give it to us. This should be seen as a gift, not as an expected outcome for which we are responsible.
Let the Relationship be First
Moreover, the relationship has to be first, and then the supplications second. If you have a good friend, you don't simply call them up and begin demanding things. If you did that every time you called, you wouldn't have much of a relationship, and they'd soon tire of you. However, if you often do things for them, and spend time together, then they'll be happy to do whatever they can for you. In other words, the friendship comes first, and then you can ask for things. But if you were only friends with this person in order to get things out of it, then you're likely not going to succeed.
I bring this up because I've realized that in the “law of attraction” culture, there is often this expectation and presumption that we'll get what we want. Spirituality is often only a secondary concern to that, in order to support the process itself. However, here, I'm trying to turn that on its head. I'm saying the spirituality must come first, as an end in itself, and then we can speak of desires.
Be Thankful for What You Have
It's erie how similar this is to classic “law of attraction” advice. However, it is true that you need to be thankful for the blessings and gifts you have already been given. Look around you, and see all the wonderful things you have. Realize that if God willed it, these things could have never been given to you. They are a sign of His mercy and generosity.
Look not only at the things, but also at the circumstances. Are you in good health? Do you have enough money to meet your needs? Do you have good friends, and even perhaps a spouse? The more you look for things to be thankful for, the more you'll find.
Being thankful allows us to open to even more blessings in our life, because we're not taking for granted that which we already have been blessed with.
Give Your Complete Trust
As I mentioned above, and countless times in the past, trust and surrender are essential components in having your supplications answered. The very act of asking for something is a sign of surrendering to God, but it should also go deeper than this.
Part of the difficulty for me to believe in God was that I wanted to believe I was in full control. I had been taken in by the promise that I could have the kind of life I wanted to live, and that I was in complete control of it.
However, as I talked about surrender for the weeks and months before my conversion, I of course began to realize that if surrender is such a necessary component, I'm really not in as much control as I think I am. A central message I started to put out there was, “In order to have control, you must give up control.” If you had a session with me or attended one of my webinars during that time, you likely heard me say something like this.
In fact, our control is very limited. We have the power to ask for what we want, and even to take the physical steps we can to move us towards this desire, but even our ability to do this is given by God. Something as simple as, say, going to the store to pick up some milk, could not happen if God did not will it. The car could break down on the way there, the store could be out of stock, or any number of other things could happen to prevent us from obtaining that milk. That's why we should always give thanks for all things that we have and for all events that happen to us, because God is in complete control.
Expect the Best
I know, above I said to not presume on God's blessing, but this is a bit different. Once we realize all the blessings God has given us, and the utter lack of control we ourselves have in this matter, we can then trust in the goodness and generosity of God, that He will meet our request.
I'll return to the friend analogy to demonstrate this point. If we presume on our friend's generosity, then we may very well not get what we're asking for. But if we thank them for what they've done, and ask in a polite, reasonable manner, then we can expect, based on the good nature of our friend, that they'll respond to our request if it is at all possible.
As I said above, God wants to bless us. Occasionally, we are put through certain tests to strengthen our trust in Him, and for various other reasons I may discuss at a future time, but in the end, He will often do what we ask and even more.
In a way, this takes us back to surrendering to God. Why would you surrender if you thought God didn't have your best interest at heart? Why would you surrender if you believed it wouldn't really lead to anything? Before I was really able to trust, I used to often say I was afraid to put it into practice, because what if I did trust, and then things went terribly wrong? So, you have to learn, sometimes by experience, that God wants the best for you, and then it is easier to let go and trust.
Impatience is one of the greatest things that can block your supplication from being answered. It may not be answered in a day, or even a week, or even longer. But you must keep asking, and having faith that God will provide.
When you stop asking, and complain that it was not answered, then it certainly won't be answered. But if you are persistent and continue to ask, then it will be answered, granted you follow the other keys listed in this post.
Be Sure It Is Moral
This is one of the biggest differences from the “law of attraction”. It is often taught, it really doesn't matter what you ask for, as long as you believe you can have it.
But God will never give us something that is immoral, and for a very simple reason: doing so would actually hurt us. As I said above, He wants all good for us. If we assume that what is immoral is bad for us, and therefore what is moral is good for us, then we could never ask for something immoral, and that request be granted. No matter what kind of short-term gain we might seem to receive from such a request being answered, the long-term results will always be bad in such a case.
Moreover, the more you perform any kind of immoral act, the less likely God is going to answer your requests, no matter how good they are. Doing what is wrong is one of the fastest ways to cut off that spiritual connection. That's why one of the first things I recommend doing when your supplication isn't being answered, is to look at your own life and see if everything is in order—that you are doing what you should, and not doing what you shouldn't.
Perform Good Deeds
On the other hand, as an extension of the above discussion, performing good deeds is a great way of increasing God's blessing in your life, both for your specific request, as well as in general.
In the domain of wealth, giving to charity, or giving to those in need in some way, is a great way of purifying your wealth. If you do so out of a place of true concern and caring for those in need, then you'll certainly be blessed by doing this.
But any kind of good deed will be rewarded massively. In Islam, we have a teaching that good deeds are counted towards you ten times over, but bad ones are only counted against you once. So it is a huge benefit to do what good you can in the world.
Go Ahead and Start Asking
I hope the above gives you some good ideas for how to have your supplications answered. It's certainly not a complete list, but doing these simple steps will certainly benefit you in many ways. Remember that God wants you to ask for what you want and need in life.