Episode:Prayer—Personal and Living (Part 1)
Genuine prayer adds to spiritual growth, modifies attitudes, and yields that satisfaction which comes from communion with divinity. Real praying does attain reality; even when the air currents are ascending, no bird can soar except by outstretched wings.
Summary by Kermit
Commentary on (91:8-9)
We briefly revisited the indispensable factors in progressing early civilization; slavery, war, social classes, and the profit motive, making note of the meaning of the order in which they are introduced by the revelators. Also, looking at the seven criteria for validating the practical value of the strange religious practices of mysticism, ecstasy, and inspiration, we noted the extreme challenge presented by item #6 “To conserve currently recognized social, moral, ethical, and spiritual values,” when, as on Urantia, a spiritually conscious person attempts to adjust his spiritual idealism to local conditions in which these early indispensables are operative. Can we properly translate our ideals into ideas which match the evolutionary stage in which we live? Can we avoid the formation of divisive dichotomies by refraining from promoting ideas better suited to future evolutionary conditions? We are reminded that on more normal worlds the baser and more primitive elements of early civilization are largely eliminated before such a world receives the upstepped spirit ministries of the Creator Son and the Universal Father, which Urantia currently enjoys.
8. Praying as a Personal Experience
Primitive man prayed when in dire need and when jubilant, long before he had any clear concept of a God. The spontaneity of such praying evidence the beginnings of a personal practice. The author’s use of the term impulse applied to each of these situations suggests the earliest appearance of the adjutants as a spirit of something as opposed to an energy of something. As we’ve said prayer is evolutionary but not automatic. Remember spontaneous means “of freewill”.
While prayer and magic arose independently, in reaching out for help in dire need, there is a potential for prayer blurring into magic. As we saw some shows back, the magical use of Jesus’ name was/is thought by some to compel God to come to our aid. Then follows the problematic situation detrimental to feelings of self worth when such a prayer is not answered. True prayer is moral and religious; magic is neither. The moral and religious aspect to prayer reinforces the idea that true prayer is both personal and spiritual (religious), not merely spiritual.
In these contrasting descriptions of prayer, the author shows the full evolutionary scope of prayer by regarding even the more primitive forms and circumstances of prayer as valid, not false. We must be on guard not to allow a hyper-development of ideals resident in the energized spiritual consciousness to put us at odds with our fellows and lead us to create the false existential dichotomy of false prayer and true prayer instead of the evolutionary continuum of primitive prayer to true prayer. Look for the sincerity content of prayer when judging the true or false nature of any prayer.
Modern man’s increasing sophistication may lead him to abandon prayers of presumption in seeking to change God’s will, but he remains perplexed by the thought of talking things over with God in a purely personal way. Man is becoming less childish, albeit he is still only a budding adolescent of God.
Prayers elevate man and attains reality through the engagement of our personality. It is by grasping the actual rising spiritual currents of the universe with personality that we ascend on these currents. The delight felt in proximity to spirit energy during prayer is enhanced further by laying hold of this energy with personality and being lifted by it.
God’s answer to prayer comes as an increased revelation of truth, enhanced appreciation of beauty, and an augmented concept of goodness—increased experience with triunity. It is a subjective gesture, but contacts objective realities on the spiritual levels of human experience. It is the most potent spiritual-growth stimulus.
God answers the soul’s attitude in prayer and not the words used. Prayer is a stimulus to growth in the face of conflict instead of a technique of escape therefrom.
9. Conditions of Effective Prayer
Here our author lays down the law, or at least seven laws of prevailing petitions.
- You must possess cosmic stamina as evidenced by your sincerely and courageously facing the problems of universe reality.
- You must exhibit industry by exhausting your human capacity for human adjustment to your situation.
- You must surrender the wishes and cravings of your self and soul to the transforming embrace of spiritual growth.
- You must wholeheartedly choose the divine will. This cannot be about YOU.
- You must not only recognize the Father’s will and choose to do it, but you must have effected an unqualified consecration, and dynamic dedication to actually doing the Father’s will.
- Such prevailing petitions will be directed exclusively for divine wisdom to solve specific human problems encountered in the Paradise ascension—the attainment of divine perfection.
- And you must posses soul trust—living faith.
Note the use of the phrase “prevailing petitions,” that is those petitions whose nature allows them to be grasped by spirit gravity and carried up. As we have learned not all petitions prevail.