Prayer that craves a particular commodity, anything less than all good, is vicious. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the Spirit of God pronouncing His works good. But prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. As soon as the man is [consciously] at one with God, he will not beg. -- Emerson
TRUE PRAYER, then, is just a continual recognition and thanksgiving that all is good, and that all good is ours now as much as it ever can be. Oh, when will our faith become strong and steadfast enough to take possession of our inheritance here? The Israelites entered not into the Promised Land because of their unbelief. Their inheritance was real and was awaiting them then and there, but it could not do them any good nor give any enjoyment until they took hold of it by faith, after which and as a result of which, would have come the reality. It is this taking by faith that brings anything into actuality and visibility.
Why will this mortal mind of ours forever postpone the acceptance of all good as our rightful inheritance for this life? The heir of material wealth must accept his inheritance before he can possibly come into its possession or use. So long as he rejects it, he is as poor as though nothing had been
provided for him. All things are ours now, fullness of love, of life, of wisdom, of power -- aye, more than these, fullness of all good, which means abundance of all things, material as well as spiritual. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning."
Thank God, some of His children are ceasing to look at the things of God from the objective standpoint, and are learning to contemplate the facts of life from the subjective, or higher side -- even pronouncing all things good, as God does, until everything else but the thought of good drops out of mind, and only the good is manifest.
Oh, how marvelous are these little glimpses we are from time to time obtaining of things as God sees them! To what high points of privilege are we, His children, being lifted, in these latter days, so that it is possible for us to see things from the standpoint of pure intelligence, perfect wisdom! "Verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which ye see, and saw them not."
One instant's view of the facts of life from the subjective side (God's side) makes all our carnal aspirations and struggles, all our ambitions, all our
boasted wisdom and pride sink into utter nothingness. We see instead "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." All other objects in life fade into insignificance beside the one of getting more and more into conscious oneness with the Father, where, at all times, we shall pray the true prayer of rejoicing and thanksgiving that all good is the only real thing in the universe. When we came into perfect recognition of unity instead of duality, then, indeed, shall we know prayer to be but the "soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul," and we shall cease forever to pray the prayer as a means to effect a private end, which is theft and meanness.
The nearer we approach to God, and the more we grow into the realization of our true relationship to Him, our Father, the more surely are all personalities, all divisions lost sight of; our oneness with all men becomes so vivid and real to us that a prayer for "private ends" becomes impossible to us. All desires of the little self are merged in the desire for universal good, because we recognize but One in the universe and ourselves as part of that One.
Now comes the question: How can we most quickly and most surely attain this conscious oneness with the Father, which will enable us to see things as He sees them -- all good?
And instantly flashes over the wires of intuition,
out from the stillness of the invisible, a voice saying "O return ye unto God." Return, turn back away from the mortal, away from people, from human ways; turn "within and look unto me, ye people, saith the Lord your God."
Seek the light from the interior, not from external sources. Why always seek to interpose human help between ourselves and God? Emerson says: "The relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so pure that it is profane to seek to interpose helps. . . . Whenever a mind is simple and receives a divine wisdom, old things pass away -- means, teachers, texts, temples fall."
"Let us not roam, let us stay home with the cause."
Constant reading, discussions, interchange of opinions are all external ways of reaching the Truth from the intellectual side. These are a way, but "I am the way, and the truth, and the life," spake the voice of the Father through the Nazarene. "The anointing which ye received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that anyone teach you." "The Spirit of truth . . . shall guide you into all the truth and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come."
When will we cease running after Truth, and learn to "be still, and know that I am God"?
In order that we may hear the inner voice and may receive the highest form of teaching, which alone can open the eyes of our spiritual understanding, the mortal self must cease its clamoring even for Truth, the human intellect must become absolutely still, forgetting to argue or discuss. The Father can lead into all Truth only when we listen to hear what He will say -- not to what others will say. We must learn to listen -- not anxiously and with strained ears, but expectantly, patiently, trustingly. We must learn how to wait on God, in the attitude of "Speak Jehovah for thy servant heareth," if we would know Truth.
Jesus said, "Except ye turn, and become as little children [that is, teachable and trusting] ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven," or the kingdom of understanding of Truth. And again He said, "I thank thee, O Father . . . that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding [or intellectual], and didst reveal them unto babes."
We must put aside all preconceived opinions of Truth, either our own or any other person's, and with receptive mind opened toward the source of all light, say continually, "Lord, teach me." We must become as babes in human wisdom before we can enter into the deep things of God.
But believe me, the revelation that the Spirit of
truth will make to you when you have withdrawn from all outside sources and learned to listen to the voice in your own soul, will be such as to make you know -- no longer believe -- your oneness with the Father and with all His children. They will be such as to fill you with great joy. "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."
The great God of the universe has chosen you and me through whom to manifest Himself. "Ye did not choose me, but I chose you." Shall we forever limit this manifestation by making ourselves into a little, narrow mold of personality that will shape and size the Divine, or, worse still, shall we run here and there to borrow some measure our neighbor has made of himself, and hold it as our measure under the great rushing waters of infinite wisdom and love, thereby saying: "This full is all I want; it is all there is to be had, all that thou art"?
Away forever with such limitations!
There's a wideness in God's mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea:
There's a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man's mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
Would you, then, know God, "whom to know
aright is life eternal"? Go not abroad looking for the Divine. "Stay at home within thine own soul." Seek there earnestly, calmly, trustfully, the source of all good. Know at once and forever that only therein will you find Truth, and only thereby will you grow to be what you desire -- self-centered, self-poised. Let go your little narrow thoughts of the Divine, cease to desire anything less than the fulfillment of God's will in you. His thoughts are higher than ours as the heavens are higher than the earth. Let nothing short of the perfect fulfillment of His thought in and through you satisfy you.
Do you comprehend this in its fullness -- the desire of infinite love and pure intelligence being fulfilled (or filled full) in you and me?
Oh, how quickly and far recede the cankering cares of life, the frets and fumes, the misunderstandings and the being misunderstood! How sure we are when we have consciously -- and by effort if need be -- swept away all limitations of personal desire and are saying, "Here am I, infinite Father, Thou great Fountainhead of all good. I have no desire. Thou art fulfilling thy highest thoughts in me, unhindered by my consciousness; Thou art now pouring Thyself through this organism into visibility; Thou art thinking Thy thoughts through this intellect; Thou art loving through this heart with
Thine own tender Father-Mother love, which thinketh no evil, endureth all things, beareth all things, seeketh not its own; Thou art manifesting Thyself in Thine own way through this organism unto the visible world." I say, when we thus burst the bonds of personal desire and rise to a willingness that the Father's will be done through us every moment, how sure we are of the fatherly care that will clothe us with the beauty of the lilies and feed us as the birds of the air. Aye, with even a more lavish abundance of all good things than He gives to either of these, for "ye are of more value than many sparrows."
Do you fear to break loose from teachers, from human helps? Fear not. Trust to the great and mighty One that is in you and is limitless to manifest Himself as Truth to you and through you. There will be no failure, no mistake. Spend some time daily alone with the Creator of the universe. In no other way will you ever come into the realization that you desire. Learn to sever yourself from those around you. Practice this, and soon you can be as much alone with God in the street or in a crowded room, as you could be in the wilds of a desert. A little book called, "The Practice of the Presence of God," by Brother Lawrence, tells how he, for years, kept himself consciously in the very glory of divine Presence, even while at the most humble daily tasks,
by always keeping the thought. "I am in His presence." All things that were not divine in the man died out, and dropped away, not because he fought them or resisted the uprising of the natural man, but because he persistently practiced the Presence (or thought of the Presence) of God, and in that Presence all other things melted away like snow before a spring sun.
This is the only way of growth, of overcoming. "Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." We do not have, by some supreme effort, to draw this Mind into us, but simply to let it come into us. Our part is to take the attitude consciously of receiving, remembering first to enter the "inner chamber" of our own soul, and to shut the door on all thought but that of divine Presence.
Each individual has his own salvation to work out -- that is, his own true self to bring into visibility. This is not to be done by some intense superhuman effort, but by each one dealing directly with the Father.
So long as anyone clings to another, just so long will the manifestation of the real self, God, remain weak and limited. Wait only on God for the light you desire. He will tell you how to act, what to do. Trust your own inspiration; act on it, though all the world sit in judgment on it, for when any man
puts aside selfish aims, and desires only to manifest the Highest, his life then becomes the perfect One manifesting through him.
When you learn to let God manifest Himself through you in His own way, it will not be like the manifestation through anyone else. You will think and speak and do without previous thought or plan. You will be as new and surprising to yourself as to anyone else. For it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking in you.
Oh, what supreme tranquillity we have when we are conscious that our thought is God's thought through us; our act, our word, God's act and word through us! We never stop to think of results; that is His care. We are quietly indifferent to criticism of lesser minds (mortal thought), for we know whom we have believed. We know that what we speak and do is right, though all the world be made wrong thereby. "What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think," says Emerson. Then God in you becomes a law to you, and you have no longer need of external laws. God becomes wisdom to you, ever revealing to you more and more of Himself, giving you new and clear visions of Truth, and indeed, "ye need not that any one teach you." You have no longer use for external forms, which are but the limitations of Truth and not Truth
itself. Then God shall be to you, and through you to others, not only wisdom and understanding, but love and life and the abundance of all things needful.
Then shall you have at all times something new to give to others, instead of looking to them to receive; for you will stand in the very storehouse of all good with the Master of the house, that through you He may pass out freely the bread and water of life to those who are still holding up their empty cups to some human hand to be filled -- not yet having learned to enter into all the fullness of good for themselves.
Believe me, you who seek Truth, who seek life and health and satisfaction, it is nowhere to be found until you seek it directly from the Fountainhead who "giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not."
Begin at once to put aside all things that you have hitherto interposed between your own soul and the great cause of all things.
Cease now and forever to lean on anything less than the Eternal. Nothing less can give you peace.