As heard on “This Thing Called Life” Sunday, August 6, 1950
I. What is Prayer?
We pray either to an Infinite Mind or an Omnipotent Power. Prayer is always some form of communion with the Universal.
It reaches its highest possibility when it rises above the limitations of any existing circumstance. This is why Jesus told his followers not to judge by appearances. Jesus did not deny the appearance, he merely said do not accept it as the only criterion. How could anyone arrive at such a faith unless he knew that he was dealing with a Power which can rearrange facts and create new ones?
A belief in the Invisible is the very essence of faith. Prayer, or spiritual communion, demands a complete surrender to the Invisible. It knows that because the Creative Power of God is at hand, all things are possible. Man is powerful because he deals with Power. He may become wise because he is immersed in Wisdom. Thus he has an inexhaustible Source from which to draw.
Whatever our idea of God may be, the perception of Reality is always an inner perception. As Moses tells us, the word is not afar off but in our own mouths, and Jesus, that the Kingdom of Heaven is within. The prayer of power is not so much a petition as it is an inner recognition.
We cannot doubt that the Spirit has already made the gift of Life since we live. Ours is the privilege of acceptance. Thus we are to assume the attitude of a grateful beneficiary of the Divine gifts. This should be done Simply and directly. The Spirit is not something that was, or that is to be or become. The Truth is that which is it exists at the very center of our being. To pray in spirit and in truth means to recognize this indwelling Spirit and to declare the truth about Its activity through us.
God is not poor, weak, sick or unhappy. God is not impoverished, limited or in bondage. It is this Spirit to which we pray, the Reality which we approach at the center of our own being. It is the Silent Partner in every man’s life–a wise and loving Presence ever ready to respond to us. Since we neither created this Presence nor incarnated It within us, there is nothing we can do but accept It. Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.” The second birth is a birth from appearances to Reality. Robert Browning said, “There is an inmost center in all of us where Truth abides in fullness.”