The Song of Prayer
Prayer, Forgiveness, Healing
I. True Prayer
1. Prayer is a way offered by the Holy Spirit to reach God. Prayer is not merely a question or an entreaty. And it cannot succeed until you realize true prayer asks for nothing. How else could prayer serve its purpose of sharing love with God? To ask for something implies that you lack something, that you are not one with the Father and with All That Is. To ask for something implies separation from the Father and from that for which you are asking. True prayer is sharing love with the Father and remembering your oneness with Him and with All.
So true prayer must avoid the pitfall of asking to entreat. Ask, rather, to receive what is already given, to accept what is already yours. Ask as if you have already received, because you have!
Error: Father please bring peace to my mind.
Correct: Father, thank you for the peace you give in creation.
2. You have been told to ask the Holy Spirit for the answer to any specific problem, and that you will receive a specific answer if such is your perceived need. You are told that even problems that appear in the world of illusion have their effects, and that it is not God's Will for you to be upset by these things. Yet you have also been told that there is only one problem (separation) and one answer (Holy Spirit).
In prayer this is not contradictory. There are decisions to make here, and they must be made whether they be a worldly illusion or not. And you cannot be asked to accept answers that are beyond the level that you can recognize. Therefore it is not the form of the question that is of paramount importance, or how the question is asked. The form of the answer, if given by God, will suit you as you see it. You will be given the answer in just the way, the words, the manner, and the timing that will aid you the most, in whatever situation appears before you. This, however, is an echo of God's Voice. The real sound is always a song of thanksgiving and love.
3. Do not, however, ask for the echo. The song is his gift. (That is like saying do not ask for a correction of a symptom or an effect, ask instead for a correction of a cause.) Along with the song of love comes the echo, the overtones, and the harmonics (the specifics), but these are secondary. (Along with the correction of a cause, comes the correction of the symptom or the effect which is a secondary correction.) In true prayer you hear only the song. All the rest (the echo, the correction of symptoms or effects) is merely added. (In true correction you correct only the cause. Correction of the effect is merely added.) When you ask for the song, you are seeking the Kingdom of Heaven, and all else has indeed been given you.
So as you ask for God's love, in whatever form comes to you at the moment, you will be given His Love, His Answer, in just the form you can accept it. It may be His Love in abstract, and it may be a specific answer in form, but it will always be what is perfect for you. You may trust in that.
4. The secret of true prayer, then, is to forget the things you think you need. To ask for the specific is much the same as to look on error and then to forgive it. In prayer, then, you overlook your specific needs as you see them, and let them go into God's Hands. In this way, your prayers become a gift to Him; they let Him know that you have no other gods before Him, no other Love but His. You would rather have His Love than to hold onto the problem. His answer will be your remembrance of Him. Would you rather have His Love than some trifling answer about a problem of an instant's duration? God answers only for eternity. Still, all little answers (all echoes, all effects) are contained in this.
Error: Father, will you provide the funds to enable me to pay my rent this month?
Correct: Father, thank you for providing all my perceived needs, even here in the world (where I appear to be).
5. Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving. Only the ego would think that prayer is asking for "things" in this world. Prayer should not be confused with entreaty or supplication of any kind, because prayer is a way of remembering your holiness. Why should holiness entreat, being already fully entitled to everything Love has to offer? And it is to Love you go in prayer.
When you go to God in prayer, you go also to Love, because God is Love. But remember, so are you. "God is but Love, therefore so am I." (ACIM Lesson 176) So it is the union between you and God that you approach -- leaving behind the idea of separation from God's Love. Thus you become one with the Answer -- so your prayer request is fulfilled. Remember, your request is always, in some way, to remember Oneness with God.
Only the ego entreats. Instead of looking at prayer as an entreaty, look at prayer as an offering, a giving up of yourself (ego) to be at one with Love. Be aware that there is nothing to ask because there is nothing left to want. You already are one with all that is. Asking for "something" appears as a blockage between you and God. Recognizing there is nothing that you do not already have, "nothingness," then, becomes the altar of God. It disappears in Him.
6. Okay, so this is an entirely new way of looking at prayer; a way that is unfamiliar and is not a level of prayer that everyone can attain as yet. Just know that in prayer, asking is meant to be based on acceptance, not on entreaty. Praying with another who is more certain than you will help to raise you up to Him. One who has realized the goodness of God, prays without fear; prays with certainty that he will reach God, and that his prayer will be fully answered. And it is!
7. Praying to Christ in anyone is true prayer because it is a gift of thanks to His Father. To ask that Christ be but Himself is not an entreaty. It is a song of thanksgiving for what you are. Herein lies the power of prayer. It asks nothing and receives everything. And this prayer can be shared because it receives everything for everyone.
To pray with one who knows that this is true is to be answered. Perhaps the specific form of resolution for a specific problem will occur to either of you; it does not matter which. Perhaps it will reach both, if you are genuinely attuned to one another. It will come because you have realized that Christ is in both of you. That is its only truth.
Error: Father, please change my brother so that he will be more helpful to me.
Correct: Thank you, Father, for the Christ in my brother (and in ME) being Himself.
Correct: Father, I pray to the Christ in all my brothers and in myself, with appreciation and thanksgiving.
Addendum: To pray for specifics is to focus the mind onto a particular subject, or a particular aspect of a subject, thus contracting the mind on a topic of your choice. The Holy Spirit will guide you in every situation, and in every aspect of every situation -- without being asked. Your job is simply to be thankful, to be appreciative, to be alert to His guidance, and to keep your mind abstract and not bogged down with specifics; to keep your mind filled with Thoughts of God and Love for everyone and everything -- all the time. If there is something specific He wills you to know, you will be told. And it will be so much easier to hear what He tells you, if you are not constantly filling your mind with your own choice of specifics -- rather, if your mind is CLEAR. That is not the same as tuning out -- it is tuning in: to God's Love, to the frequency of the Voice for God.
Let your mind be free of worldly thoughts; give God's Thoughts room to expand in your holy mind. Amen