Tag Archives: pray

Prayer Is a Ladder Reaching Up to Heaven

1 – Spiritual Transformation

We seek transformation as in Awakening, a spiritual transformation but one that allows us to function even better in the secular than we did before. Secularism is not to be discounted. Many are ready to be reached only through the secular. Here is the full quotation:

“Prayer is a ladder reaching up to Heaven. At the top there is a transformation much like your own, for prayer is part of you. (S-1.II.7)”

2 – Reach Heaven

We see in this passage that prayer will allow us to reach Heaven, and nothing is said but that this is a Heaven on earth as well as beyond death. We do not have to wait for death; indeed, in A Course of Love, we are bade to allow the elevated Self of form to function unheeded in the world of form—this world. If prayer will get us to Heaven, why do we not pray more often? Is it because we didn’t know about the goal before? We didn’t know that prayer would get us to Heaven?

3 – Efficacy in Prayer

Perhaps. But maybe we don’t see evidence of efficacy in prayer, though prayer is its own reward. We shouldn’t be trying to “get” things in prayer. We simply ought to relaxed and be easy with God, our Source. He wants us to commune with Him; He is lonely without us (from ACIM Text).

4 – Forgiveness

Prayer guides us toward forgiveness:

“Prayer in its earlier forms is an illusion, because there is no need for a ladder to reach what one has never left. Yet prayer is part of forgiveness as long as forgiveness, itself an illusion, remains unattained. (S-1.II.8)”

We don’t attain forgiveness for ourselves and others because we don’t recognize that all is an illusion, and we don’t recognize that the things—attack and anger—that we hold against our brothers and sisters are “distress that rests on error” (from ACIM Text), and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is fully justified, because our brother is innocent in his heart of hearts. It is only in illusion that he has sought to harm us by word or deed. And we try to forget the misthought or misdeed, not holding it against him as undeserving of pardon. This continued “holding” is the way that the world forgives, thinking that the one pardoned is not worthy of being forgiven, that he does not deserve forgiveness.

5 – Deserve Forgiveness?

We doom ourselves when we think that one does not deserve forgiveness. This is the “forgiveness to destroy” that Jesus talks about in the supplement to A Course in Miracles on psychotherapy. What we offer another, we receive. Like attracts like in the law of attraction. What we give, we receive.

6 – Wholly Justified

Let us give forgiveness as wholly justified, for it is wholly justified. In actuality, our brother has only called for help by his misthought, bad word, or bad deed. And when one is calling for help, we are to respond where we see that need.

7 – Anger and Attack

It is not easy to see the wholly justified way of forgiveness when we are confronted with anger and attack. We want to retaliate. This is a very human response, and Jesus indicates that people will respond in kind when attacked. But we need to make a different choice, a better choice, another way. We need to recognize that all want love just as do we, and it is only ignorance of how to attain love that leads us down the wrong pathway (a concept addressed by Hugh Prather in The Little Book of Letting Go). Only very disturbed people would get up in the morning making plans to hurt us. Only ignorance of how to live can mean that the choice of attack is made. And would we denounce another for his/her ignorance? We too have been ignorant of the way, but now, at last, we are learning.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day go well. May I use the law of attraction, like attracts like, to offer to all my brothers and sisters the best of which I am capable. I would be calm and relaxed today, for it is only under stress that I lose my temper. I would remain tolerant and, above all, forgiving today.

Be with me throughout the day. Be with others. May I do what I can to give everyone that I see a good day. This is especially true for my significant others, for they are the most impacted by any moods that I might drop into.

Keep me settled in a generous good will to my fellow men and women. And thank You for being there last night, when I slept in Your peace.

Amen.

Pray from Fear into Inner Peace

cezanne.jas-buffan-pool“To pray out of fear is not to pray at all, because such prayer chooses not the union that is the prerequisite.  To pray out of fear is to ask from an unreal state of lack for what is seen as missing or desired.  In contrast, true prayer, formed in union, is a means of creating, recollecting, or recalling a divine memory and transforming that divine memory into a present moment experience.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.6)”

Affirmation:  “I will choose to avoid fearful prayers.”

Reflections:

1 – Fearful Turmoil

When we are in fearful turmoil, our emotions are so engaged that it is hard to sense God’s presence.  We are not in union with God, because we cannot feel His presence.  This is the so-called foxhole prayer, i.e., “There are no atheists in foxholes” (a reminder of World War I).  We need in some way to alleviate the fear, and I have found that prayer, in fact, does alleviate fear.  I can pray myself to sleep when I am anxious.  Is there a problem with my experience vs. the words of Jesus in this passage?

2 – Personal Experience

I think not, because I am calmed by the prayer, a calming that precedes receiving an answer (an answer that is sometimes just blissful sleep).  I do not go to sleep fearful, and I do not remain fearful as I pray.  The fear just drops away, and I pray from a relaxed state of mind and heart.

3 – Divine Memory

The latter half of this passage is difficult to understand.  What exactly is a “divine memory”?  I think that Jesus is calling on our Self/Christ at this point.  When we experience the Self/Christ, we are healed from a divine perspective, for the Self/Christ is our part of the God within (an interpretation, not stated precisely in A Course of Love).

4 – When to Pray

We need to begin praying when we are afraid or fearful, but–and this is the important point–we will not remain afraid or fearful.  We will, in nearly all cases, immediately begin calming down, for we will be recalled to trust in God.  We need never cease to pray because we think that we are too overwrought.  God will create the holy instant that will bring us peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for guiding me to know that praying to You in the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep, is a very practical way to induce a return to sleep.  I think that You welcome this communion, for our private times together heal and calm me.  Thank You for letting me adopt practical use of prayer for a very human need of sleep.

Thank You for leading me to realize that the best prayer is not one of fear.  The prayer may begin with anxieties, but the prayer will take me out of the anxieties into peace.  Thank You for this blessing.

If I can reach divine healing today, it will be because You have led me every step of the way.  Fort this leading, I am very grateful.

Amen.

The Definition of Prayer

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“Thus prayer must be redefined as the act of consciously choosing union.  With this definition, you can see how your life can become a prayer.  This does not negate the fact that a prayer is also a constant dialogue of asking, being answered, and responding.  This is the aspect of prayer that makes of it an act of creation.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.3)”

Affirmation:  “I will choose union through prayer today.”

Reflections:

1 – Union

This passage for today emphasizes once again how important prayer is to our well-being in this life.  We are said to make of our whole life a prayer, when we follow what Jesus is saying in A Course of Love.  We consciously choose union with our Self/Christ and God within, with our brothers and sisters in this world and all worlds (even unseen), and we choose to embrace the universe(s).  Union is all-inclusive, and it is a big part of our way home.

2 – Prayer

The second sentence in this passage is important:  “This does not negate the fact that a prayer is also a constant dialogue of asking, being answered, and responding.”  Certainly!  This is the way that we have traditionally seen prayer at its most simple:  asking and being answered.  But here we also see that we are to respond.  And this is the new art of thought.  We learn through receiving and then responding, not only to God, Who has answered our prayer, but also to others who can benefit as well.

3 – Personal Experience

I have personally found that my answers to prayers have increased in very recent days.  What we believe does make a difference, and I have been expecting answers to come at the point of asking.  I have not had to wait long.  Recently I asked for a solution to a minor health problem, and immediately–yes, immediately–the answer to my problem came into my mind, not as a voice, but as an internal word that was my own thought, but yet a bit beyond me.  At first I thought that I had misheard, that another one-word answer was meant.  But as the afternoon wore on, I realized that the initial word had been accurate.  I acted on this precise directive, and my minor health problem cleared up.

4 –  Mind

The word that come into our minds are not always God speaking to us.  There is much left in our minds that alter His messages.  But as we walk further along the pathway to Awakening, the chaff tends to fall away, and our internal hearing does seem more on the beam with God.  We can ask silently, and receive an answer.  We can also journal our questions, and wait for an internal prompting of what to write by way of an answer.  This latter suggestion is championed by a writing expert, Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way).  And it works.  The fact that we capture on paper what is impressed upon our minds encourages us to reread and to respond in the future to what has been answered in our prayer.

5 – Listening in Prayer

So, pay attention to the internal, silent monologue of thoughts when asking in prayer.  I have been very, very pleasantly surprised that this type of listening increases as it is used.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the immediate answers to my prayers that I have been receiving.  I realize that this is the way that prayer is supposed to work, for our communion with You answers all problems.

May all of us have a good day.  May anxieties fall away, and may we walk into the sunlight with You.

Amen.

The Value of Prayer

pissarro-montmartre-night“Prayer is but reproducing and recollecting a divine memory and divine memory cannot help but produce a divine outcome.  Said in another way, prayer reproduces the truth and allows the truth to exist as it is.  Prayer does this because it is the act of consciously choosing union.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.2)”

Affirmation:  “I will pray often and sincerely today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

One of the most important points of the spiritual life, to me, is the matter of prayer.  A favorite professor of mine once, in effect, witnessed to me about prayer.  In answering a question as to how he had come to a given answer, he replied, quietly, “Prayer.”  In truth he was a changed man from what he had been like just a couple of years previously.  The witness of his truth about prayer was a defining moment in my own life.  The exchange constituted a peak experience.

2 – Practice Prayer

So, in my own way, in many years since, I have practiced prayer–deep prayers when I was upset about something, deep prayers in which I felt God’s touch of healing.  A Course in Miracles refers to this action as “communing” with God, and that is, in effect, what I have tried to do in times of crisis.  Prayer rights things.  There is absolutely no emotional charge that can remain, of an upsetting nature, that in my experience is not made better by deep prayer.  And by “deep” prayer, I mean the heartfelt reaching toward God that I imagine the author of The Cloud of Unknowing (an anonymous medieval treatise) had in mind.

3 – Tenderness

Now we find in A Course of Love that prayer is counseled.  Of course, this simply reinforces in my own mind something that I have believed since I was 24, when the encounter with my professor occurred.  The joy of communing with God is exceedingly tender, for He is a gentle God.  His way is not perceived, in prayer, to be a hard or difficult pathway to follow.  His is the way of supreme good sense.  His is the way that I know, in such moments, that I want to walk.

4 – Healing

We cannot all be healed of physical ailments, and there are emotional ones as well that are not healed.  But certainly the physical and emotional ones stand a much better chance of healing if prayer has taken place.  And, in my experience, the emotional difficulties are especially prone to healing by prayer.  There is a calm that settles over one who is in deep prayer.  Sleep comes gently in such a case, if one is saying nightly prayers.  We end the day aright, and we are preparing, in our own way, for a subsequent day that will be started aright.  There is no substitute for the comfort that prayer can and does give.  This I know from personal experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the myriad answers to pray that You have given me over the years.  Prayer works in a very practical sense, and I am not upset by “using” prayer in this way.  Of course, I do not want to use You, but to love You.  And to know that You love me.  Communing with You in deep prayer shows me that love flows in both directions.

Thank You for the experience that I lived through when I was 24, the experience of first learning how valuable prayer could really be.  Thank You that this occurrence happened so early in my life.  I am very grateful for the role that You have played in my life through the deep prayers that I have been led to have over the years.

Be with all of us today.  If hard times come, let us know that we always have You to whom to turn.  And the hard times melt away in the blessing of communing with You.  Thank You especially that healing of emotional issues comes with prayer.  I do not rule out healing of physical issues as well, but it is with the emotional that I am especially grateful today.  When our mind and heart are calm, we can live through any struggle, and we, with Your help, can turn that struggle into ease.

Amen.

Prayer

female impressionistA Course of Love began with an injunction to pray.  A Course in Miracles began with a definition of miracles.  Both are the same.  Prayer and the art of thought are the same.  This should serve to make it clear that the request I have made of you is once again far more broad and generalizable than your old habit of thought has led you to see.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.3)”

Affirmation:  “May I pray often and deeply today.”

Reflections:

1 – Speaking Abstractly

These frequent statements by Jesus in A Course of Love that two phrases mean the same can be confusing.  He is speaking from an abstract basis.  We are still thinking concretely, specifically.  We need to change that, so that the egoic mind does not gain a toehold again.

2 – Choose a Miracle

The request that Jesus refers to is his injunction to choose a miracle.  He is encouraging us to see the broader implications of miracles, the miracles that are present all the time in everyday life.  When we pray, we receive miracles as a matter of course.  When we employ the “art of thought,” then we are praying by definition.  The art of thought is the abstract, generalizable way of thinking and speaking.  It is not something foreign to us any longer.

3 – Drop the Ego

Our old habit of thought was informed by the ego.  And we would not have our new habit of thought unless we drop the ego.  Let us all choose to fail to reinforce anything that smacks of egotism.  We will know disaster unless we drop the ego, and we will know peace when we have done so.  Any pleasure is short-lived when it involved the ego.  And we pay for that pleasure with tears of despair.

4 – Pray without Ceasing

May we remember to pray as we go about our day.  It is the most satisfying way to live.  The Bible enjoins us to “pray without ceasing,” and many of us find this injunction beyond us.  But we don’t have to be foxhold pray-ers either.  We can pray often and deeply, and the blessings that will be ours will surprise even ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You that prayer has meant so much to me throughout my life.  It is the way that I go to sleep at night.  It is the way that I calm anxieties.  And it the way that my entreaties reach Your ears.

Be with me today so that I do not deep into worries.  Prayer heals that tendency in me.  And I thank You for it.  Fear and worry are of the ego, and, as I have said to You many times, I would quit the ego immediately.

Help me to reach out to others today, to answer whatever needs are mine to answer.  Be with all other whom I touch in any way today.  And may the day go well.  Thank You.

Amen.