From January, 1971
I want to progress along with the Tree of Life. Let us go back to last night’s lesson and recap the lesson on Prayer, because we feel generally that the matter of prayer is something which is pretty intangible. ..Usually when we come into the school we have a feeling that it takes somebody with a sort of a halo around their head, and perhaps if you felt back there, well, their wings are just starting to come out…but this is not so.
Prayer is a practical thing. It’s not only a matter of you and the control of your mind and understanding of the Law, but it’s actually a scientific thing too. For when we work with the Lord, and we use this as a matter of teaching God and prayer, and what we are trying to do actually—is usually to get something. Now you know the majority of people, when they pray, it’s “Father give me this; Father, I’d like that. Won’t you get me a new car. I need a job.” You know, I wish we could stay on the other end of the telephone line of prayer and listen to the “I wants” that come up, and I think we’d be pretty well disgusted from the lot. Because you hear very few prayers that say, “Father, it’s such a pleasure to live in your world that You’ve created.” How many people here tonight, even the Brothers and Sisters here, that actually come down for the purpose of prayer—of giving thanks actually for what they have receive—say nothing about what they are going to get in the future, but what they’ve already received? Just for the privilege of living and feeling the joy and exhilaration of life, this is something to be thankful for. But as a rule it’s a “I need. Gimme. I want” process. Now of course, the majority of these prayers never get answered. ..
Now, of course, there’s a lot of prayer s that are said by people who don’t know that they’re saying them. There’s a lot of people pray for things that they don’t know they’re praying for, and that actually get them. And they don’t want them, either. But they get them just the same. And this is one of the things that I think we need to learn a whole lot more about, and that is the unconscious or subconscious prayer—I don’t like that word because I don’t think there’s any such thing as the subconscious. Down to reality, you’re pretty conscious of everything that you do, and you’re pretty conscious of doing it, regardless of whether you are on the external side of things or not. Because I cannot admit or accept the fact that You, your Self and your soul, isn’t more intelligent than all that. And that’s why we have a great many rebellions, is because of the things we choose to do which the soul does not want, and that neither does the Self. In other words, the animal wants it, but not You. And here is the start and root and seed of rebellion. Always. This is the seed of it.
But just to remind ourselves that this prayer—we’ll put it this way—(note: he is using a diagram) that this is the Father (top of triangle) ∆ Now what do you know about this? We talked about God last night, about reaching Him; we talked about being conscious of Him, rather, and we got along pretty good on that score in that lesson on the Creator here. But somehow or other you have forgotten something that happened to you a long time ago…when you were a little youngster.
You know you can say, “Oh, Father, it is most glorious the way You have given me these things,” and so on and so forth. You know I’ve heard so many empty prayers in my life that if I were able to be disgusted, I would get disgusted—but how many of you can remember having seen a piece of candy or something that you wanted: a bright-colored object on a table, or maybe even after you got a little older, Mother put the cookie jar up a little bit higher than what you were able to get off the top of the kitchen chair. And you went right up on tiptoes and, well, maybe you reached it and maybe you didn’t. But let me tell you something. If you’re going to reach God, you’re going to do it that same way! And if you’re not reaching that hard, if you’re not trying to reach with that same enthusiasm, with that same feeling and that same want that you did to reach the cookie jar, or the bright object on the top of the table that was put out of your way, you’re not going to reach it. Because you’ve got to want it, and you’ve got to want it till it hurts—if you’re going to get it.
And that’s where most people fall off it their prayers. It’s right here where they lose out in prayer—it’s in reaching the consciousness of the Father at all, because when you reach that consciousness, you will know it, that’s for sure. There won’t be any mistake about it, and you won’t be able to make a mistake, because your whole being will respond to it. And you will feel it, and you will be electrified from the tip of your toes to the roots of your hair, and there won’t be any questions but what you have reached that state of consciousness where God is going to answer! Every time. We’re not going to have any altar call tonight. We’re going to pass that one up. (Laughter)
But that’s just the way you’ve got to feel about it, because if it isn’t alive in you—the reality—how can you expect to reach that which you don’t believe, and you’re not even sure exists? I could come along and tell you about Mohammed de la something-or-other, and his life and what he had done and what he hadn’t done and all that, and I’d say, “Now if you pray to him you’re all going to get Packard cars or Cadillacs or something.” And unless you saw the Mr. so-and-so, and unless you saw him produce ‘em, or at least seen him, you wouldn’t have any faith at all in this. But if you saw his name, heard his name mentioned, and you saw the cars produced, why then you’d have some faith in him.
But now you have got to be able to reach an actual conclusion within yourself, that this really exists, that it really exists. And this proof can only be gotten through you, not somebody else. And until you have that proved within yourself, you cannot really reach God…