Question to Radhanath Swami: When only in distress one is able to pray from the heart, otherwise those prayers spring from the mind, and are mechanically offered. Why is it so? Why only in distress does the mind shut down and allow us to pray from the heart?
Radhanath Swami: What you are talking about is sometimes human nature. But we should cultivate a higher standard.
When you are successful and everything is going your way, you could thank God for the blessings. “I don’t deserve this. Yet, you are giving me so much. You are giving me the air to breathe, you are giving me food to eat, you are giving me your holy names, and you are giving me the association of great personalities. You are giving me so much.” Thus we should rejoice. That is also a perfect prayer. In happiness or distress, honor or dishonor, success or failure, victory or defeat, heat or cold, health or disease, we can pray from our hearts, we can chant the names of God from our hearts. When in distress we can call out for help, and when things are very nice, we can call out in gratitude. But you should know that neither situation will last for long.