Episode:Prayer—Nature and Evolution (Part 2)
[Paper 5:3.4-8] and [Paper 91:0]
We worship the Universal Father; pray to, and commune with, the Eternal Son; and work out the details of our earthly sojourn in connection with the intelligences of the Infinite Spirit operating on our world and throughout our universe. But, in practical religious experience, there exists no reason why prayer should not be addressed to God the Father as a part of true worship, because the mission of religion is chiefly effected by the function of prayer.
Summary by Kermit
(final edits by Ann)
This week we finished our examination of the differences between prayer and worship concluding our reading of paper 5 section 3 True Worship. We brought in parallel citations concerning the actual celestial mechanics of prayer with edifying results.
As established in part 1, worship is the acme of our religious lives and prayer is intended to provide an evolutionary “on ramp” thereto.
The primary distinction between prayer and worship is found in the presence or absence of the element of self-interest. The rapidity of the action of spirit ensures that when self-interest manifests in the worship experience, that worship instantly becomes prayer. And as we read, prayer is addressed to the Son, while worship is more properly addressed to the Father. But, because of the nature of the cosmic circuitry involved—the spirit-gravity circuit centered in the Son, this redirecting process is automatically executed [7:3.3, p. 84]. In practical terms, most of our experiences in prayer and worship are properly addressed to our Master Creator Son, who stands in for both the Universal Father and the Eternal Son.
Concerning the division of labor among the Paradise Deities, we worship The Father, pray to the The Son and work out the details of our earthly lives with the intelligences of the Infinite Spirit (our angelic ministers). The spiritual nature and quality of our prayer and worship ensures their proper routing to the Father and Son. But what about our daily concerns in our material lives? We are told that our ministering angels act independent of our direct appeals, executing the mandates of their superiors and as such are not directly concerned with our appeals or prayers [113:5.3, p. 1246]. So it is that our material prayers are not captured by spirit-gravity and thus, go nowhere. These are some of the more rugged truths of the fifth epochal revelation (5th ER). This is not comfort for those with only a faint flicker of faith. Here you can easily see why the 5th ER is for the adults of God. Remember, prayer is self-reminding. You are actually reminding your material self to trust God, that no real harm can befall you.
One of the extra passages brought into our reading [7:3.4, p. 84] likens the discriminative operation of the spirit-gravity circuit to the neural circuits in the material human body. In the human nervous system incoming sensations are received and responded to by a series of structures of ascending complexity as; reflexive spinal centers, habit trained lower brain centers, and the highest levels of human consciousness according to the nature and significance of the sensation itself. So do our spiritual communications travel to the persons and agencies of the Creator Son, Eternal Son, and Universal Father in accordance with the nature and quality of the communication itself. So it is that when the creature manifests AND expresses anything in his/her consciousness that is fraught with supreme spiritual value, there is no power in the universe that can prevent its flashing directly to the Absolute Spirit Personality of all creation. (otherwise known as the Eternal Son).
How is this for a high standard for worship? Sincere worship connotes the mobilization of all the powers of the human personality under the dominance of the evolving soul and subject to the divine directionization of the associated Thought Adjuster. It is no wonder that we limited mortals are unable to become highly conscious of the real significance of true worship. We are further handicapped when we understand that the realization of the reality of the worship experience is chiefly determined by the developmental status of the evolving immortal soul. This becomes even more difficult because the spiritual growth of this soul takes place wholly independently of the intellectual self-consciousness. That is to say we aren’t aware of it!
True prayer and true worship are definitively spiritual phenomena. Material self-centered prayers have no mechanism whereby they can be delivered to God. In philosophical terms, these materialistic prayers are characterized by pure individuality. The spirit-gravity circuit can only conduct pure unity. Therefore, it’s not a question of God saying no to these prayers, they simply cannot reach Him. It is the spiritual motivation, the unity content of any prayer that ensures divine reception. Words are valueless.
The final paragraph of this section provides an eye-opening description of how the universe works with regard to the various parts played by the specific participants in the choreography of the realization of the worship experience of a material mortal:
The mortal mind consents to worship; the immortal soul craves and initiates worship; the divine Adjuster presence conducts such worship in behalf of the mortal mind and the evolving immortal soul.” [5:3.8, p. 66]
To appreciate the transcendent complexity of worship let us first assemble the participants. The present day material mortal of Urantia consists of three selves; the material mindal self, the morontia soul self, and the Adjuster spirit self. The only self identified with personality is the material self, which being so far from a spiritual reality that it is incapable of initiating worship. The morontia-soul, possessing some spirit nature craves and initiates worship. The material self has to choose to wield the personality potential in such a way as to encompass the other two selves or worship will not happen. So the material mindal self consents and supplies the favorable conditions of encompassing the highest levels of reality which are accessed by personality. The Adjuster is then able to direct the soul’s craving and worship happens.
Paper 91—The Evolution of Prayer
Prayer has its origins in the nonreligious monologue and dialogue expressions of primitive man. Self-consciousness leads to other-consciousness and the potential for social response and God recognition. Prayer is designed, programmed into us by the Life Carriers. The earliest prayer forms were primitive man’s attempt to secure good luck but were not directed to Deity. The quest for good luck expanded from monologues, to dialogues, to involve family, friends, ceremonies and even the whole clan or tribe. Genuine prayer emerged when the ideas of ghosts and spirits developed and petitions could be directed to these “superhumans.” And religion began to emerge when primitive prayers began to contribute to the conservation and enhancement of social, moral and spiritual values. It is not difficult to see the remnants of these early practices and beliefs at work in so-called modern day religionists.
The author of this paper, one of our planetary historians, the Chief of the Urantia Midwayers, gives examples of contemporary primitive humans in their prereligious and primitive religious practices.
While these primitive prayer practices are far removed from the high standards described by the revelators as constituting true prayer or true worship, they enable early man to take the first steps of the long long journey of seeking God and finding Him.