Tag Archives: praying

Feel Your Heart’s Leanings

“Now this power is available to assist you in accomplishing the final joining, the joining that will end duality and return you to wholeness—to who you truly are—in the reality in which you truly exist.” (D:Day29.3)

We are joining with the inner Christ, the Self with a capital “S.” Is this so hard? I think not. We begin to look within for our answers, we begin to look within for our guidance, and we don’t sway back and forth between egoic leanings and true leanings, the latter being leanings that are encouraged by the Self.

Much is said in A Course of Love about being who we truly are. The final parts of the Dialogues, the concluding book, say this, over and over. Being who we are is not any harder than joining with the inner Self. But it does take some practice, because we are so used to living a persona that satisfied the ego. We have to realize, once and for all, that we have left the ego behind now. We are living better, we hope. We are thinking better, we hope. The world, including our world but not limited to it, depends on our moving beyond the ego to loftier concerns.

Joining with the Christ Self may take some praying, some communing with God. Jesus says in ACOL that the miracle is the prayer. And miracles are not specific, but all-embracing. We think so much in specifics, a habit left over from the ego, and to think specifics is often wrong-minded. Enlarge the scope of your mind to include the heart, and watch the specificity drop away. It will.

And we will have a better day for living in a heartfelt manner.

“This is no more complicated than ending the rift between mind and heart. You have accomplished that and you can accomplish this—in your reality. As you realize by now, all this talk of accomplishment is merely about bringing forward what already exists into the reality in which you exist. Another way of saying this is bringing who you are into wholeness, which can be interpreted both as bringing all that you are into existence and as bringing all that you are into existence in union.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 29, 29.3 – 29.4)

This quotation says it all in succinct fashion. But it takes some rereading. We are joining mind and heart into wholeness, what Jesus calls “wholeheartedness.” We can accomplish this; it is within our power. We are trying to move toward union one with the other, and one with our inner Self. The two are not contradictory or even diverse in meaning, for we are One with ourselves as well as One with others, including the God who encompasses everything that exists.

We need this union. We will be bereft until we have it, even though we may not now recognize what is missing. When we join with our significant others, don’t we feel a blessing? Don’t we recognize that we are coming home? It is just this way with the inner Self. And we are now The Accomplished (from ACOL), which says that we can and ought to make this transition into true reality.

Indescribably Happy

pennsylvania-impressionist-impressionism-painting-by-kenneth-nunamaker-over-looking-the-delaware-from-center-bridge-1928-original-size-22-x-24“If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy. But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be. It is this you see in it. It is this that is meaningless in truth. (W-12)”

Affirmation: “I would be indescribably happy today.”

Reflections:

1 – Preconceptions

How do we let go of our preconceptions about this world? We have written our own meaning upon it. That is all. We need to accept that the world itself is meaningless, and then let the truth be written upon it for us.

2 – Passive

This attitude is essentially passive. But we do contemplate, read, study, and pray. And in these actions we come to understand more fully what this world really means. We do not add our own meaning to it; we accept what comes to us in such moments of reflection, essentially waiting for God to speak to us.

3 – God

And He will. We all too often think that God is remote from us, but instead He is the deepest part of our being. When we turn within, we will find Him. And we will also find the answers to our questions.

4 – Solution Is with the Problem

Remember that the solution to the problem is always with the problem–at the very moment. And frequently we get an answer immediately. Unfortunately, when our emotions are turbulent, we cannot always hear the answers. We don’t get the solution, and so we need to calm down, relax, commune with our deepest nature, and then take the steps that come to us, intuitively.

5 – Problems

When we contemplate in the most serene way, our answers come to what is troubling us. And if the answers don’t come, perhaps this is a problem that God is holding out to us as a learning exercise. Ask, instead, what this problem is meant to teach us? And the answer will dawn, sooner rather than later.

6 – The World

We do not stay with the idea that the world is meaningless, for to believe this would be demoralizing. We let God write its meaning upon our hearts, and then we are at peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The solution is with the problem. Thank You for that knowledge–a great blessing! When problems come up, if I remember to listen to guidance, the answer does come. Invariably. But my emotions must be calm for the guidance to come through. Help my emotions to be calm today.

I would be indescribably happy today. There is no better way to follow You, and no better way to live in this world. Happiness is a worthy goal, for we are of much better use to others when we are happy. And happiness is a witness to what salvation offers. May I never forget this.

Be with me today as I seek to pray for others whom I know are in crisis. Praying to You works, a very practical technique for healing.

May this day, as all days, be good.

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.

A Guide Who Will Not Fail

“He has a Guide Who will not fail.  He need make no distinctions among the problems he perceives for He to Whom he turns with all of them recognizes no order of difficulty in resolving them.  He is as safe in the present as he was before illusions were accepted into his mind, and as he will be when he has let them go.  (M-16.7)”

Affirmation:  “I follow my Guide.”

Reflections:

1 – A Loving Guide

I am constantly amazed at how loving our Guide actually is.  Our Guide, the Holy Spirit, is the Universal Inspiration, and the Communicator for God.  If God is Love, and most of us believe that He is, then would not His Communicator be a fount of Love as well?  It all makes perfect sense, in my way of viewing life.  But I am still surprised by the attention to detail, and to my own sense of drama (when my Guide responds even though I have brought some of my agony onto myself).

2 – Quiet in the Early AM

These early morning hours, when I am writing today, are helpful in the extreme.  Richard Carlson, a bestselling author, from time to time told in his books of his writing from 3 to 6 a.m.  He found the quiet then to be helpful in his creativity.

3 – Holy Spirit Closer at Night?

Is it not also possible that the Holy Spirit seems closest to us when the rest of the world is quiet?  Even the birds are not yet singing, and their chorus will eventually herald the dawn and make us glad that we have lived to experience yet another day.  Our Guide is here for us to consult at these times.  Let us not waste these moments.

4 – Solace

We are safe in this world, even when tragedy strikes.  The Holy Spirit, as God’s Communication Link with us, is ever with us.  And He provides the solace that we sometimes need when our hopes have been dashed, and also when we have reached in extremis, or the end of our dreams.  Other dreams will be given us; we need not fear.  We will not be left bereft.  Time, ever an illusion, is still our friend at such times.  And we need to turn to God in prayer, knowing that He is here for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Last night, once again, I awoke after three hours of sleep.  And prayer did not, this time, seem to calm me.  I turned to Your secular gift, music.  And all was well.

Thank You that You do not distinguish between spiritual and secular remedies.  All is Yours.  And I am Yours.  

I often am amazed at the calm that descends in the middle of the night, when I have offered my prayers to you and then turned to music to soothe.  And the music doesn’t have to be particularly calming, but just music that I like and that speaks to my spirit.

Be with me today as I seek You amid a busy world, with not quite enough sleep.  May You and I together have a good day.

Amen

Give God a Chance

“Decide for God, and everything is given you at no cost at all.  Decide against Him, and you choose nothing, at the expense of the awareness of everything.  (M-13.8)”

Affirmation:  “I choose the awareness of everything.”

Reflections:

1 – Decide for God?

How does one decide for God?  Perhaps we are skeptics.  Perhaps we have a guilty conscience.  Perhaps we have intellectual doubts about God.  Then what?

2 – A Chance

Give God a chance.

3 – Try a Little

That is all that is required.  Try a little prayer.  Ask for something that you think is in line with God’s Will, but be sure that you are not “testing” Him.

4 – God

You may not succeed.  But God may.

5 – What Do We Have to Lose?

What do we have to lose by trying to believe, even just a little?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

This is starting out as a hard day, because I asked for guidance in a particular situation, and I am unsure if my ego intruded.  I am unsure if the guidance that I received is from You.  I asked for further indication, and that was forthcoming, and the Answer from You was the same.  Is my ego just trying to foment struggle?

I would calm down, following Your guidance.  I am not alone in this decision facing me.  My husband is with me, and I believe in help from the Other Side.  Be with me today; help me to drop the issue for the weekend, so that next Monday, when I can actually do something, I will be in a state of mind that will allow the calm carrying out of what guidance has already shown me.

Thank You.

Amen.