What is True Prayer?
This is a question I receive often coupled with “How do I pray?” With A Course in Miracles, prayer is seen differently. There is a supplement to the Course called The Song of Prayer. In this supplement, which can be found in the 3rd Edition of the Foundation of Inner Peace’s version of ACIM (and a separate pamphlet for those with older books), it outlines what prayer can be.
In our past, we most likely saw prayer as a way of asking God to fix or solve problems for us, healing people we loved or asking for the new job or new relationship. All these pretty grounded in the world itself. We may have thought of God as our Santa Claus who would instantly fulfill our petitions.
Jesus tells us in ACIM, that there is nothing wrong at all for asking for these items of the world. In fact, because of our strong connection to our belief that we actually live in this material world. Because of this, this may be all we know. We learn through this supplement, that prayer is a ladder we are climbing. Our prayers will even take different forms as we ascend the ladder. There is no right or wrong as we learn and grow in our faith and trust in his teaching and in God. We can ask for the specifics, but we can also learn what can deepen our spiritual self.
On the lower levels or rungs of the ladder, we acknowledge our needs and desires. Do not dismiss those if that is where you are. Be gentle with yourself as only the ego would judge and point out you are on the lower rungs and not attaining the higher level. Be where you are. It is a process. No need to feel guilty for asking for the new job or a special blessing. As fear is diminished through our continued practice of forgiveness, we will begin to trust and the way in which we pray will shift.
We will shift from a self-indulgent standpoint in our prayer to one of realizing our true nature, that is, sinless, and we have no more need for guilt. In this, we experience no needs or desires and no hint of separation. Our only prayer then becomes one of utmost gratitude.
The secret to true prayer is forgetting what we think we need. By praying for solutions to problems in the world, it means we are believing the problem is real. Yet to us, it sure seems pretty darn real. As I said earlier, it’s permissible to do this. It takes time for real trust to grow within us through our practice of the principles the Course sets forth, so that we may let go of our needs and place it in the Hands of God. Great trust and faith. Yet when we offer this gift, we are truly blessed.
My favorite line in The Song of Prayer is: “Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving.” In this, I step away from what I think I need, and I let go of all my desired outcomes and come silently join with the Holy Spirit. In this I experience His Love and Peace. In this form of True Prayer, I am remembering the truth of Who I am. I come to know my holiness and my wholeness.
The only prayer is one of thanks and more than that it is a gift of thanks to our Father. We have everything and we have no need to be beggars for His Love. When I know this as true, and yes, I have had those times, it is a glorious feeling of being in the Light of Christ. When we join together we are in the Light of Christ because we are the Light of Christ. Amen and amen.
Blessings to You,