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Sounds like you are starting to develop a connection to God again (slowly recovering), and that when you just pray without something specific in mind, it goes well for you and you feel connected. If you feel connected like that then I would say continue doing that. Continue just experiencing the prayers. Just because you don’t specifically do ardaas for the thing you want, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Waheguru knows the desires of each heart. I’m sure your parents are basing their opinion based on their own experiences. You need to do what feels right for you. At the end of the day they only really want what is best for you and you need to determine that based on your experiences.

It seems like it hurt you quite a bit to set your hopes on the fact that your prayers would come true and then when things didn’t exactly work out, it was really hard. Setting yourself up for potentially the same thing again sounds like it might not be the best idea. I don’t know your specific situation, but sometimes not getting something is a blessing in disguise because it’s the wrong time for us. I don’t think praying for specific things per se is bad and I see it done all the time in the Gurdwara, but I think it’s expecting the outcome part that makes things hurt. I think sometimes when you pray for something specific you kind of expect that it then must happen and when it doesn’t we set ourselves up for a great disappointment. We get a lot more out of prayer when we go without that expectation and just accept that whatever His will is, I accept that. As you’ve kind of mentioned, prayer isn’t just about asking for things, but about the experience too and it sounds like you experienced a lot more when you weren’t asking.