The Infinite Way
Chapter - Prayer
"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss," says the Apostle James. Have you ever thought of this when you have prayed for some time, and then found no answer to your prayer? "Ye ask amiss." There is the reason.
Prayer, when based on the belief that there is a need unfilled or a desire unsatisfied, is never in accord with true scientific prayer. A prayer for God to do something, send something, provide, or heal is equally without power.
It is sometimes believed that God requires a channel through which to fulfill our prayer, and this leads us to look outside ourselves for the answer. We may believe that supply can come to us; and therefore, we watch for the person or position through which it is to come; or we may be depending on a healer or teacher as the channel through which the healing is to come. "Ye ask amiss."
Any belief that that which we are seeking is anywhere but within us, within our very own consciousness, is the barrier separating us in belief from our harmony.
True prayer is never addressed to a Being outside ourselves, nor does true prayer expect anything from outside our own being. "The kingdom of God is within you," and all good must be sought there. Recognizing God to be the reality of our being, we know that all good is inherent in that Being, your being and mine. God is the substance of our being; and, therefore we are eternal and harmonious. God is life, and this Life is self-sustained. He is our Soul, and we are pure and immortal. God is the consciousness of the individual, and this constitutes the intelligence of our being.
Rightly speaking, there is not God and you, but God is ever manifest as you, and this is the oneness which assures you of infinite good. God is the life, mind, body, and substance of individual being; therefore, nothing can be added to any individual, and true prayer is the constant recognition of this truth.
Conscious awareness of our true being -- of the infinite nature and character of our only being -- this, too, is prayer. In this consciousness, instead of seeking, asking, waiting, in prayer, we turn our thought inward and listen for the "still small voice" which assures us that even before we asked, our Father knew and fulfilled the need. Here is the great secret of prayer, that God is all-in-all and God is forever manifested. There is no unmanifested good or God. That which we seem to be seeking is ever-present within us, and already manifested, and we need to know this truth. All good already is, and is forever manifested. The recognition of this truth is answered prayer.
Our health, wealth, employment, home, and harmony are then not dependent on some far-off God, are never dependent on a channel or person or place, but are eternally at hand, omnipresent, within our very consciousness; and the recognition of this fact is answered prayer. "I and my Father are one," and this accounts for the completeness of individual being.
Properly speaking, there is not God and you. It is impossible to pray aright unless this truth is understood; and unless we know our real relationship to Deity, prayer becomes but blind faith or belief rather than understanding. It is our conscious awareness of the oneness of Being--the oneness of Life, Truth, Love--that results in answered prayer. It is the constant recognition of our life, our mind, our substance and activity as the manifestation of God-being, we are able to comprehend ourselves as the fulfillment of God, as the completeness and the perfection of being -- all inclusive, immortal and divine. The recognition of the divinity of our individual being, embracing and including the allness of God, is true prayer which is ever answered. The correction of the belief that we are ever separate or apart from our good is the essence of true prayer. That which I am seeking, I am. Whatever it is of good that I have believed to be separate from me is, in fact, a constituted part of my being. I include, embody, and embrace within myself within my consciousness, the reality of God which forms the infinity of the health, wealth, and harmony of my being. The conscious awareness of this truth is prayer.
Despite the allness of God, expressed as perfect individual being, there constantly arise in human experience those ills which call forth our understanding of prayer. What is the nature of error, sin, disease? How can such things be and God be all-in-all? Such things cannot be and are not, despite the appearance of pain and discord and sorrow.
The Bible reveals to us the basic truth of being, namely, that "God saw every thing that he had made and, behold, it was very good." In this all-good that God made, there is nothing that "defileth . . . or maketh a lie," and there is no other creative Principle. It becomes clear then that that which is appearing as error, sin, disease, pain, and discord is illusion, mirage, or nothingness.
Let us then, as part of our prayer, remember that God made (evolved) all that was made, and in this universe of God there is only the All-Presence and All-Power of God, divine Love, and therefore that which at the moment appears to us as error is a false sense of reality.
There comes a time in our experience when spiritual inspiration reveals to individual consciousness a state of being free of mortal conditions and beliefs. Then we no longer live a life of mental affirmations and denials, but rather receive constant unfoldments of truth from Consciousness. Sometimes this comes through no other channel than our own thought. It may come through a book or lecture or a service imparted by divine Consciousness. Regardless of the seeming channel through which it may come, it is the divine Consciousness revealing Itself to individual consciousness.
As we become more and more consciously aware of our oneness with the universal, or Christ-mind, what ever desires or needs come to us bring with them their fulfillment of every righteous thought and wish. Is it not clear, then, that our oneness with Consciousness having been established "in the beginning" through the relationship forever existing between God and His manifested being, it requires no conscious effort to bring about or maintain? The awareness of this truth is the connecting link with divine Consciousness.
To many, prayer means supplication and petition to a God in a place called heaven. That this prayer has resulted so universally in failure to attain its ends must prove that this is not prayer and that the God prayed to is not there listening. Human thought eventually realized the lack of an answer to such prayers and turned to a search for the true God and the right concept of prayer. This led to a revelation of truth as understood and practiced by Christ Jesus and many earlier revelators.
Here we learn that "the kingdom of God is within you," and therefore prayer must be directed within to that point in consciousness where the universal Life, God, becomes individualized as you or as me. We learn that God created (evolved) the world in the beginning and that "it was good." Being good, the universe must inevitably be complete, harmonious and perfect so that instead of pleading for good, our prayer becomes the realization of the omnipresence of good, and so the higher concept reveals prayer as the affirmation of good and the denial of the existence of error as reality.
When the prayer of affirmation results in the use of formulas, it has a tendency to revert to old-fashioned faith-prayer and thereby loses its potency. When, however, one's prayer consists of spontaneous and sincere affirmations of the infinity of God and of the harmony and perfection of His manifestation, one is indeed nearing the absolute of prayer, which is communion with God.
Before our enlightenment in truth, we prayed for things and persons; in other words, we sought to gain some personal end. With his great vision, Emerson wrote: "Prayer that craves a particular commodity, anything less than all good, is vicious." Then this wise man defines prayer for us: "Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the spirit of God pronouncing His works good. . . . As soon as the man is one with God, he will not beg." Prayer must not be understood as going to God for something because, as Emerson continues, "Prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft."
Now we know what prayer is not, and have glimpsed that prayer is the union of our Self, the individual Soul, with God the universal Soul. Actually, the individual Soul and the universal Soul are not two, but one, and the conscious awareness of this truth constitutes the union of oneness which is true prayer.
Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world," and this we must remember when we pray. To go to God carrying some demand or some desire of this world must end fruitlessly. When we enter our sanctuary of Spirit, we must leave outside all worldly wishes, needs and lacks. We must drop "this world" and go to God with but one idea - communion with God, union, or oneness, with God. We must not pray to gain anything or to have anything changed or corrected.
Prayer which is conscious oneness with God always results in bringing forth harmony, peace, joy, success. These are the "added things." It is not that Spirit produces or heals or corrects matter or the physical universe, but that we rise higher in consciousness to where there is less matter and therefore less discord, inharmony, disease, or lack.
Communion with God is true prayer. It is the unfoldment in individual consciousness of His presence and power, and it makes you "every whit whole." Communion with God is in reality listening for the "still small voice." In this communion, or prayer, no words pass from you to God, but the consciousness of the presence of God is realized as the impartation of truth and love comes from God within to you. It is a holy state of being and never leaves us where it finds us.
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