The Power of Prayer
Amid all the perplexities and oscillations of life, the witnessing and understanding Overself waits with infinite patience. No one is ever left out. This is the only God we can hope to know, the true Teacher for all. Those who yearn to unite with it should plead persistently for its Grace.
There is no man so advanced that he can afford to dispense with prayer. It occupies a most important place in the philosophic aspirant’s life.
There is no one so sinful or so degraded in character that he is denied this blessed privilege of a contrite yearning for communion with his own divine source. Even the failure to have ever prayed before, even a past life of shame and error, does not cancel but, on the contrary, merely enhances this right…
The first value of prayer is that it is a confession of personal inadequacy and, by consequence, an aspiration to personal upliftment. It is a self-humbling of the ego and the beginning of a detachment from it. It is a first step in obedience to Jesus’ paradoxical proclamation, ”He that loseth his life shall find it.”
Humility, sensitivity, and emotional refinement are essential qualities which must be developed. Even more necessary is the daily practice of humble worship, devotion, and prayer.
What shall he pray for? Let him aspire more intensely than ever to the Overself and ask to become united in consciousness with it, surrendered in will to it, and purified in ego.
… He must pray first to be liberated from the heavy thraldom of the senses, the desires, and the thoughts. He must pray next for the conscious presence of the Overself… His yearning for such liberation and such presence must be unquestionably sincere and unquestionably strong… The Overself is not merely a concept – but a living reality…
If you want a workable and faultless prayer, what is better than the one which Socrates habitually used, ”Give me that which is best for me”, or the one which some older pagan used, ”May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good”?
Socrates’ prayer to the god of Nature: ”O Pan! Do so that I become beautiful inside me. And all that exists outside and around me to be in harmony with what I have in me. . . My wish for material wealth is only for so much as a wise man can carry in his hand.”–from Plato
He must call in a new power, and a higher power–Grace. He needs its help. For the ego will not willingly give up its sovereignty, however much it may become preoccupied with spiritual questions and even spiritual growth.
… He should become as a child at the feet of his divine Soul, humbly begging for its grace, guidance, and enlightenment. If his ego is strong, prayer will weaken it. Let him do this every day, not mechanically but sincerely and feelingly until the tears come to his eyes. The quest is an integral one and includes prayer alongside of all the other elements.
He who can kneel down in utter humility and spontaneously pray to his higher self out of a genuine desire to elevate his character, will not pray in vain.
By constant prayer and aspiration to his higher self, the student will get intuitive promptings from time to time. He should catch them when they appear and yield himself to them: in this way he will get the necessary guidance from within.
Whenever an emergency arises wherein you require help, guidance, protection, or inspiration, turn the thought away from self-power and bring it humbly to the feet of the higher power in prayer.
… If a man has conscientiously followed this fourfold path, if he has practised mystical meditation and metaphysical reflection, purification of character and unselfish service, and yet seems to be remote from the goal, what is he to do? He has then to follow the admonition of Jesus: ”Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” He has literally to ask for Grace out of the deep anguish of his heart…
… To know that man has a sacred soul and to know this fact with invulnerable certitude, is the first reward of right prayer and philosophic meditation. The true soul of man is hidden and concealed from his senses and from his thoughts. But it is possible for him by these methods to awaken a higher faculty–intuition–whereby he may reach, know, and be lovingly received by this soul.
The moments between sleep and waking or between waking and sleep are very sensitive and very important. They should be used to switch thought to the highest ideal one knows.
… Life in this world is like foam on the sea: it passes all too soon; but the moments given in adoration and obeisance to the Soul count for eternal gain…
At last he finds that he must become as a little child and re-acquire faith. But this time it will not be blind faith; it will be intelligent. He must free himself from the pride, arrogance, and conceit of the intellect and bow in homage before the eternal Mystery; there is much that he can learn about himself, his mind, the laws of living, and the ways of Nature. Nothing is to be rejected. He needs to believe as well as to know. In the end, too, he has to drop all the isms, however much he may have got from them in the past, and think, feel, and live as a free being.
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