Episode:Prayer—Nature and Evolution (Part 1)
Prayer is self-reminding—sublime thinking; worship is self-forgetting—superthinking. Prayer is designed to make man less thinking but more realizing; it is not designed to increase knowledge but rather to expand insight. Prayer is spiritually sustaining, but worship is divinely creative.
Keywords: Urantia, Prayer, Eternal Son, Worship, Universal Father
Summary by Kermit
with final edits by Ann
143.7—Teachings About Prayer and Worship
In this first installment of SoS on the many dimensions of prayer, we start with this section which provides the foundational 5th ER statements about prayer and worship. This represents a definitive distinction between prayer and worship and establishes true worship as the acme of our religious lives. It is the challenge of the revelators to us to remake our understanding of the meaning of prayer and worship.
In this section, the midwayer authors present Jesus’ teachings in a 5th ER form for current day consumption. The initial single sentence paragraph equates true religion with worship. To help clarify the distinctions between prayer and worship we look in Paper 102 (The Foundations of Religious Faith):
Prayer is indeed a part of religious experience, but it has been wrongly emphasized by modern religions, much to the neglect of the more essential communion of worship. The reflective powers of the mind are deepened and broadened by worship. Prayer may enrich the life, but worship illuminates destiny. [102:4.5]
Here we find a most startling proclamation by the revelators. Prayer wrongly emphasized…? This is a direct challenge to most religionists today, for whom prayer is almost the whole of religion.
The more essential communion of worship consists in an engagement of unity, while prayer is tied to individuality. When prayer is given primary emphasis, or institutionalized in its socialization there is a danger of the hyper-individualization of religion to the neglect of unity.
Our authors explain the importance of balance in our lives. Worship (unity) must alternate with service (individuality), work with play, religion with humor, and profound philosophy with rhythmic poetry. The implicit warning here is how remaining in the worshipful (unity) mode, you are thereby unavailable to serve.
I highly recommend listening to the archive of this show for illuminating specifics of the dynamics of worship and prayer in relation to the levels of meaning, adjutant mind spirits, and the hourglass analogy so often referred to in our broadcasts.
We had a most interesting discussion concerning how the strain of living—the time tension of personality—should be relaxed by the restfulness of worship. Personality, being of origin in eternity, struggles in the transactions of time. In the state of worship the personality can be in eternity, and therefor somewhat free from the effort of functioning in time.
We also discussed the meaning behind the statement regarding how the feelings of insecurity arising from the fear of personality isolation in the universe should be antidoted by the faith contemplation of the Father and by the attempted realization of the Supreme. Because of the nature of the gift of personality from the Father, and how there is no overlap with other personalities, a feeling of orphanhood can ensue. Yet we can leverage the connection with the only other person to whom we are directly connected (the Father), to approach the Supreme, through which we find the communion and fellowship to antidote this existential loneliness. So it is you begin with the consecration to the perfect will of the Father who initiated you, then attempt the realization of the Supreme (Mother) through the consecration of your mind to the universal harmony of the Mother and by so doing you will come into communion with others.
Note the description of prayer being designed, to make man less thinking but more realizing, not to increase knowledge but to expand insight. Again our discussion with respect to levels of meaning, cosmic intuitions, and the hourglass analogy are beyond my summarizing and should be heard in their entirety in the archives.
This section is a foundational set of facts intended to serve as a template for interpreting everything elsewhere in the revelation regarding prayer and worship.
Worship is intended to anticipate the better life ahead and then to reflect these spiritual significances back into our daily life struggles. This reflection results in the top down flow of creative divine energy resulting in growth. Whereas, prayer is spiritually sustaining, it does not directly promote growth in the same way as worship. As previously mentioned, prayer with its emphasis on self can be wrongly emphasized and delay cosmic growth.
We read further that worship is the yardstick measuring the extent of the soul’s detachment from material reality and it simultaneous and secure attachment to the spiritual realities of all creation. We discussed the mechanics and dynamics of this process and the importance of the term secure. Humans have long grappled with the apparent dichotomy of individuality and unity. Experience in the unity realm is powerful and can tempt the individual to seek permanent residence therein, which can be disastrous. The secret lies in first looking to the One (in worship) for the inspiration of service to the many. The Father initiates you to Him as the most individuated oneness. In this initiation, you can establish an indivisibility of your individuality and then and only then can you engage unity without diffusing into it and losing your core indivisibility. That is your secure attachment to unity (spiritual reality) with integrity of identity intact.
And we come to the truly foundational statement by the revelators about prayer and worship:
Prayer is self-reminding—sublime thinking; worship is self-forgetting—superthinking. Worship is effortless attention, true and ideal soul rest, a form of restful spiritual exertion. [102:4.5]
The short explanation here is that prayer (sublime thinking) represents the top down perspective on self. Worship being self-forgetting, is a bottom up perspective on the cosmos from the ceiling of the upper domain (superthinking). In the upper domain of the hourglass, through the three cosmic intuitions you gain greater relationship with truth. Ascending the three cosmic intuitions (correlated to the 4th 5th and 6th Level of Meaning) you know the truth, obey the truth and think the truth. Worship (3rd Cosmic Intuition and 6th Level of Meaning) is then thinking the truth. Thinking the truth is equivalent to philosophizing. This process is objectified in the description of our ascent to Paradise, where we are told the Masters of Philosophy (the mighty supernaphim on Paradise) teach us to think the truth, to philosophize to worship.
5:3. True Worship
We read the first three paragraphs of this section to conclude our broadcast.
From the evolutionary mortal viewpoint the Paradise Deities are seen as three separate and distinct persons. In the distinguishing the Deities from the stand point of prayer (supplications) and worship, we are instructed that we worship the Father either directly or indirectly (as in the persons of the Creator Sons).
Supplications belong to the realm of the Eternal Son and his agencies. All such communications except adoration and worship of the Father, are matters usually of local concern and do not ordinarily leave the Local Universe. But, worship is encircuited in the personality circuit of the Father, while adoration is facilitated by the presence of the indwelling spirit and find their way directly to the Father.
Worship as previously mentioned is self-forgetting. There is no self interest in worship. As we continue to go forward in our quest of an understanding of the true nature of prayer, it is most important that it be clearly distinguished from worship. We thus, continue in Paper 5:3 True Worship.