The Prayer of the Heart

“He [Holy Spirit] understands the requests of your heart, and answers them.  Does this mean that, while attack remains attractive to you, He will respond with evil?  Hardly!  For God has given Him the power to translate your prayers of the heart into His language.  He understands that an attack is a call for help.  And He responds with help accordingly.  God would be cruel if He let your words replace His Own.  A loving father does not let his child harm himself, or choose his own destruction.  He may ask for injury, but his father will protect him still.  And how much more than this does your Father love His Son?  (M-29.6)”

Affirmation:  “God will protect me.”

Reflections:

1 – Important Passage

Today’s passage is one of those most important ones, one that says in no uncertain terms that attack is a call for help.  Elsewhere we are given to understand that attack is also a call for love.  But, with the Holy Spirit, giving help and giving love are identical, would it not seem (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM)?

2 – An Impersonal God?

God will not give us bad things.  Not always is this understood, and there are current readings that reject this view–treating God as though He is impersonal and responds to our wishes without any rejection of the things that would hurt us.  I do not believe in an impersonal God, although some teachers/scholars of A Course in Miracles believe that God does not know about us, because we are caught in an illusion, and He does not enter illusion with us.

3 – Practical Help

But let us step aside from controversy, and look to our own experience of spirituality to make up our own minds about these questions.  This is not the time to engage in debate; this is the time to share one’s help and love, in a very practical sense that ACIM endorses, with ourselves and each other.

4 – A Loving Father

Let us take a look at two sentences once again:  “God would be cruel if He let your words replace His Own.  A loving father does not let his child harm himself, or choose his own destruction.”

5 – God “Let Go”

It is true, nevertheless that we can draw negative things to ourselves by our own thoughts and actions.  We cannot look to God to save us from ourselves.  Sometimes, as Neale Donald Walsch notes in his Conversations with God series, God has to “let go” so that we can experience what we are asking to see.  And the (possibly) ACIM sequel, A Course of Love, says the same thing.  God “let go,” because we were like adolescents who still had free will, and who still could hurt ourselves, but needed to learn that we had need of communication with Him.  As Jesus says, we have taught ourselves the unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator (from ACIM).

6 – A Paradox

So:  The bottom line is that there is a paradox here.  We, beings of free will, do sometimes experience pain.  But Jesus says that learning through pain is temporary, and it is better to learn through rewards (from ACIM).  We do not have to learn through pain (from the Text).  In the ideal, we can live free of pain when we cling to God.  And clinging to God is the very best way to walk His pathway back home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would concentrate today only on what is good and right in Your eyes.  I would not attract those things that You would have to move to protect me.  Your protection is assured, but I ask that You give me the wherewithal to walk in Your footsteps and not to let temptation invite me to reject You and Your blessings.  Pain may come, but I would choose (and I do have the choice) to learn through rewards.  Jesus himself has assured us that learning through rewards is a lasting learning.

Be with me today as I seek to give comfort to those who are hurting and under stress.  We do not walk through this world apart from our brothers and sisters, and pain is present.  Knowing that pain is an illusion sometimes seems theoretical, because we see tears and know that the illusory pain feels very real.  Be with us when life turns hard.  Your Way will see us through even the darkest night of the soul.  I trust in this.

Amen.

The Requests of Your Heart

“Never forget that the Holy Spirit does not depend on your words.  He understands the requests of your heart, and answers them.  Does this mean that, while attack remains attractive to you, He will respond with evil?  Hardly!  For God has given Him the power to translate your prayers of the heart into His language.  He understands that an attack is a call for help.  And He responds with help accordingly.  (M71)”

Affirmation:  “May I always remember that any attack is always a call for help.”

Reflections:

A very reassuring passage (as are so many in the Course), these words assure us that the better “thoughts” of our heart will be what the Holy Spirit listens and responds to.  We may ask for what may hurt us, but God will protect us from such false dreams.  The Holy Spirit knows what the Self really wants, and this Self is the larger life that we have beyond this world.

This passage repeats the oft-given truth that an attack is a call for help.  This explains what we may already realize from other passages:  that our brothers and sisters are only asking for help when they attack.  The same holds true for ourselves as well.  Attack is never what it seems.  Attack asks that we rush to the side of the offending party, and give whatever sort of help seems called for.  Once we take this truth to heart, we will never view our brothers and sisters the same.  We have no reason to become angry when we are the brunt of an attack.  Our brothers and sisters always just want our help, however disguised the request comes to us.

The Holy Spirit always helps us.  He does not intrude, but once we have made Him welcome, He will be there for us.  The most important aspect is our flexibility is following His guidance.  He does not frequently give advice unsolicited or even too far in advance; that is why we must be ready and even eager to “turn on a dime.”  When we follow guidance consistently, we open the way to a glorious world, the real world, that is far beyond anything that this prosaic world seems to offer us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I realize that God will give me good.  He understands the requests of my heart, and he translates my sometimes imperfect words into the best for me.

May I also come to terms with all attack, whether from others upon me or from myself upon others.  May I recognize that attack is always a call for help.  Then may I turn inward to find that help that is so much needed at times of attack.

Amen.