Episode:Prayer—Personal and Living (Part 2)

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[Paper 144:2-3]

Prayer is entirely a personal and spontaneous expression of the attitude of the soul toward the spirit; the ideal prayer is a form of spiritual communion which leads to intelligent worship. True praying is the sincere attitude of reaching heavenward for the attainment of your ideals.


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Summary by Kermit

144:2. The Discourse on Prayer

We moved from Paper 91 where we found definitive and specific instruction about prayer and worship to Paper 144. Here Jesus provides instruction to the twelve concerning the same things, first in a similar vein to Paper 91, but then he shifts to more simpler expressions, including stories suitable for their place and time. This section focuses on Jesus’ instruction to the twelve concerning true prayer in contrast to the evolutionary aspects of prayer. Jesus cites the prayer taught by the Baptist to his disciples and emphasizes that it was intended for teaching the multitudes of first century men and women and not as the expression of their own souls in prayer.

Jesus clearly states that prayer is entirely a personal and spontaneous expression of the attitude of the soul toward the spirit. Even primitive prayer embodies a spontaneous aspect, but here we are instructed that true prayer is ENTIRELY personal and spontaneous. Take care to discern the meaning intended by the midwayer author when he/she uses the term prayer, i.e. prayer in the general sense or true prayer.

We commented on the idea of prayer being indited by the spirit. If we have a Thought Controller as described in Paper 107 [107:0, p. 1177], think of the indweller actually dictating prayer/worship—providing true forms which can be grasped by personality and willed into action in relationship to the cosmos. This then leads to the cooperative subordination to the whole (cooperative spiritual progress). These are the favorable conditions so often spoken about on the program which result in growth. And true praying is the sincere attitude of reaching heavenward for the attainment of our ideals.

Jesus then shifts to the use of two stories encouraging persistence, separated by his assurance that even unwise petitions call forth the ever wise Father’s spirit and blessings followed by the instruction to pray and not become discouraged.

Jesus refers to prayer as “the breath of the soul”—a rarified essence of the soul alluding to the spiritualized mind (a thing apart from the soul). Then comes his first story about The Friend in the Night, who comes to his neighbor seeking bread with which to feed his drop-in guests. Juxtaposing the ancient symbol of corporeal sustenance, bread with the breath of the soul reinforces the distinction between the spiritualized mind, which is an extension of the material mind, and the soul itself. This foreshadows the symbols found in the Believer’s Prayer in the next section. The true seeker should consult the archives of this broadcast for the details of this topic. By so doing you’ll be able to enjoy Ann’s delightful rendition of Seek Ye First, a hymn dear to many of the Christian faithful.

Jesus employed the story of the Wicked Judge, again to teach persistence (practice) in prayer. Of course he attempts to clarify that it is persistence in praying he encourages, not to change God, but to change our earth attitude and enlarge our soul’s capacity for spirit receptivity. We are further reminded of other references citing loving service to our fellows and relaxation during meditation as effective methods of enlarging our soul’s capacity for spirit receptivity.

Finally, this section ends with the reminder that the exercise of genuine faith in our prayer will remove mountains of material difficulty which lie in the path of soul expansion and spiritual progress. We all remember the path to progress: effort, struggle, conflict, faith, determination, love, loyalty, and progress, whereupon with a faith grasp we rise up and over the material mountains of conflict!


144:3. The Believer’s Prayer

We see what quick studies the Apostles were, putting into practice the lessons on persistence just immediately given as they earnestly ask for a formal prayer which they might teach the multitudes. And Jesus complies by giving them the same prayer he taught his brothers and sisters in Nazareth.

In our study of the fifth epochal revelation recall how the revelators were instructed by their superiors to give preference to human expression in their work. So it is no surprise that the Believer’s Prayer is very close in most respects to the Lord’s Prayer which is so familiar to Christians. However, we should all know by now that small differences in the revelation from our historical expressions are always meaningful and deserve our reflection.

This is another case where careful listening to the archive for the intricacies involved in this analysis are well worth the seeker’s time.

The first four lines of the Believer’s Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer are essentially the same. The line forgive us every one our debts is significant in a couple of ways. First, the addition of “every one” speaks to the singular relationship the individual enjoys with the Father. The Father does not relate to us in groups, but as individuals, hence forgive us “every one” our debts. And the commitment to share our God bestowed forgiveness with those of our fellows who may be in debt to us is reminiscent of the instruction to “freely give as you have freely received of the truth of heaven” [176:3.10, p. 1918]. “Debts” was given preference over trespasses and sins, thus softening such offenses to those of immaturity instead of sin.

The major gift here is the restoration of the lost line “Refresh our souls with the water of life, immediately following, “Give us this day our bread for tomorrow.” Reflecting on these two lines we see the reference to bread, the nourishment for the corporeally anchored spiritualized mind, and the suggestion of an ongoing sustenance (for tomorrow). Then we have the reference to the water of refreshment for the soul, which we will require even in our morontia state.

The story of the mysterious Greek word epiousion appearing for the first time in history in the Lord’s Prayer and leading to the translation “bread for tomorrow,” is well worth listening to in the archive of the show.

Other “improvements” are evident in the changes from “Lead us not into temptation” to “Save us in temptation” and “deliver us from the evil one” to “deliver us from evil.”

Jesus was conforming to the traditions of great teachers formulating prayers for their pupils. This in turn allowed skeptics to point out that Jesus was not distinguished from other teachers in this regard.

He taught them to always pray in secret. Although, he gave them the Believer’s Prayer in collective form and never taught formal personal prayer, only group, family or social petitions and never voluntarily.

Jesus taught that effective prayer must be: unselfish, believing, sincere, intelligent, and trustful. Compare these to the seven conditions of effective prayer in 91:9. They are essentially the same but simpler for the Apostles, first century men.

Finally, Jesus spent whole nights in prayer, mainly for his disciples, particularly for the twelve. He prayed very little for himself, but did engage in much worship of the nature of understanding communion with his Paradise Father.