Prayer and Effort
Should effort be given up when praying? It should be remembered that until man becomes a conscious co-worker with and under His will, he should not give up effort. It is not the purpose of prayer or Grace that you should make no effort, except to go on praying. This can be made clear by an illustration.
A boy is late for school. What would you think of him if he were to sit down and pray, "Oh Lord! let me not be late." It would be proper for the boy that, while praying, he should also rely on his own effort and should walk quickly in order to reduce the delay. In the first instance there would be more and more delay. We should take a lesson from one aspect of this illustration only. The topic is discussed in detail in the chapter on "Selfless Action." While making an effort, also extend the hands in prayer. This is the chief cause of success. A sincere desire for anything and a sincere effort for it is true prayer. This is praying in the right way.
All too often we pray with our lips and act otherwise. Such a prayer is not granted. When a man makes a sincere effort for something from his heart, that prayer issues from the very pores of his cells, even though he may not utter a syllable. Whenever necessity arises or a calamity comes, then make an effort with firmness and confidence and pray to the Lord to remove the defects due to imperfections and weakness in you.
It is said in the holy Quran that when Moses and Harun prayed for victory over the infidels and their men, they received the reply, "I have accepted the prayer of both of you. You should now stand firm in your efforts and not follow the example of those who do not know the reality."
The prophet Moses told his people, "Ask for help from the Lord and be firm. Do not lose courage in the face of calamity. Only he loses courage who has no refuge. The Lord and His human form, the Master, is your everlasting refuge. If in spite of effort you fail, take it to be His Will. If one loses while trying, take it to be His Will."