One of my Facebook Friends added a post of Ernest Holmes' ideas about prayer and even though I have read these words many times, re-reading them seemed to be a "refreshing" of my mind. I would like to share those words and a few more with you in this message on the beginning of Hanukkah.
The following is wisdom from the writings of the American mystic Ernest Holmes, with slight modifications:
Most people who believe in God believe in prayer; but our idea of prayer changes as our idea of God changes; and it is natural for each to feel that their way of praying is the correct way. But we should bear in mind that the prayers which are effective — no matter whose prayers they may be — are effective because they embody certain universal principles which, when understood, can be consciously used.
IF GOD EVER ANSWERED PRAYER, HE ALWAYS ANSWERS PRAYER, since He is “the same yesterday, today and forever.” If there seems to be any failure, it is in mankind’s ignorance or misunderstanding of the Will and Nature of God.
We are told that (Jesus stated) “God is Spirit, and they that worship God must worship God in spirit and in truth.” The immediate availability of the Divine Spirit is “neither in the mountain nor at the temple; neither Lo, here, nor lo there, for behold the Kingdom of God is within.”
This is a true perception of spiritual power. The power is no longer I, but “the Father (Intelligence, Spirit, Power) who dwelleth in me.” Could we conceive of Spirit as being incarnate in us — while at the same time being ever more than that which is incarnated — would we not expand spiritually and intellectually? Would not our prayers be answered before they were uttered? “The Kingdom of God is within you.” When we become conscious of our Oneness with Universal Good, beliefs in evil, sin, sickness, limitation, and death tend to disappear. We shall no longer “ask amiss,” supplicating as though God were not willing, begging as though He were withholding.
“If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” This gives great light on an important law governing the answering of prayer. Abiding in Him, means having no consciousness separate from His consciousness — nothing in our thought which denies the power and presence of Spirit. Yes, we can readily see why prayers are answered when we are abiding in Him.
Again we read, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.” This sounds simple at first, but it is another profound statement like unto the first; its significance lies in the phrase: “in my name.” In His name, means like His Nature. If our thought is as unsullied as the Mind of God, if we are recognizing our Oneness with God, we cannot pray for other than the good of all mankind. In such prayer we should not dwell upon evil or adversity. The secret of spiritual power lies in a consciousness of one’s union with the Whole, and of the availability of Good. God is accessible to all people.
God manifests Itself through all individuals. No two people are alike; each has a unique place in the universe of Mind (Spirit); each lives in Mind (Spirit); each contacts It through their own mentality, in an individual way, drawing from It a unique expression of Its Divine Nature. If one makes their self receptive to the idea of love, they become lovable. To the degree that they embody love, they are love; so people who love are loved. Whoever becomes receptive to the idea of peace, poise and calm — whoever embodies these divine realities – finds them flowing through them and they become peaceful, poised and calm.
There is a place in us which lies open to the Infinite; but when the Spirit brings Its gift, by pouring Itself through us, It can give to us only what we take. This taking is mental. If we persist in saying that Life will not give us that which is good (“God will not answer my prayer.”) It cannot, for Life must reveal Itself to us through our intelligence. The pent-up energy of life, and the possibility of further human evolution, work through man’s imagination and will. The time is now; the place is where we are, and it is done unto us as we believe.
Prayer Is Essential to Happiness. Prayer is not an act of overcoming God’s reluctance, but should be an active acceptance of God's highest willingness. Through prayer we recognize a spiritual law, that has always existed, and put ourselves in alignment with it. The law of electricity might have been used by Moses had he understood this law. Emerson said: “Is not prayer a study of truth, a sally of the Soul into the unfound Infinite?”
Prayer is constructive, because it enables us to establish closer contact with the Fountain of Wisdom, and we are less likely to be influenced by appearances around us — to judge “according to appearance.” Righteous prayer sets the “law of the Spirit of Life” in motion for us.
Prayer is essential, not to the salvation of the soul, for the soul is never lost; but to the conscious well-being of the soul that does not understand itself. There is a vitality in our communion with the Infinite, which is productive of the highest good. As fire warms the body, as food strengthens us, as sunshine raises our spirits, so there is a subtle transfusion of some invisible force in such communion, weaving itself into the very warp and woof of our own mentalities. This conscious commingling of our thought with Spirit is essential to the well-being of every part of us.
Prayer has stimulated countless millions of people to higher thoughts and nobler deeds. That which tends to connect our minds with the Universal Mind lets in a flood of Its consciousness. If we think of God as a Heavenly Dictator — something apart from that which lives and moves and has Its being where we are — then we are certain to believe ourselves disconnected from this Infinite Presence; and the inevitable consequence of such thinking would he a terrible fear that we should never be able to make contact with Him! But if we know God as an Indwelling Presence, our prayer is naturally addressed to this Presence in us. We long for, and need, a conscious union with the Infinite. This is as necessary to the nature and intellect of man, as food is to the well-being of his physical body.
Prayer Is Its Own Answer. Cause and effect are but two sides of thought, and Spirit, being ALL, is both Cause and Effect. Prayer, then, is its own answer. The Bible tells us: “Before they call will I answer.” Before our prayer is framed in words, God has already answered, but if our prayer is one of partial belief, then there is only a tendency toward its answer; if the next day we wholly doubt, then there is no answer at all. In dealing with Mind (Spirit), we are dealing with a Force we cannot fool. We cannot cheat Principle out of the slightest shadow of our most subtle concept. The hand writes and passes on, but the writing remains; and the only thing that can erase it is writing of a different character. There is no obstruction one cannot dissipate by the power of Truth.
So we learn to go deeply within ourselves, and speak as though there were a Presence there that knows; and we should take the time to unearth this hidden cause, to penetrate this inner chamber of consciousness. It is most worthwhile to commune with Spirit—to sense and feel It. The approach to Spirit is direct . . . through our own consciousness.
This Spirit flows through us. Whatever intelligence we have is this Spirit in us. Prayer is its own answer. We can be certain that there is an Intelligence in the Universe to which we may come, that will guide and inspire us, a love which overshadows. God is real to the one who believes in the Supreme Spirit, real to the soul that senses its unity with the Whole.
Every day and every hour we are meeting the eternal realities of life, and in such degree as we co-operate with these eternal realities in love, in peace, in wisdom, and in joy—believing and receiving—we are automatically blessed. Our prayer is answered before it is uttered.
Ernest Holmes has given us lots to think about. But, we must do more than think, we must pray and pray affirmatively on a daily basis and perhaps for some several times each day in order to erase the noise and the nonsense of the world that is imposed upon our mind. Prayer can be healing and a renewing but only if we make it a part of our life experience.
"Prayer is mankind's greatest power" stated W. Clement Stone, noted businessman, philanthropist and author, and this is the truth for everyone, everywhere.
AND SO IT IS!
Keep the faith!
Rev. Henry Bates