Its Practice and Its answer
By E.V. Ingraham
Incarnation and Re-Incarnation
The Fourth Dimension Plus
DeVorss & Co., Publishers
843 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, California
BY E. V. INGRAHAM
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY
DeVorss & Co., Los Angeles, California.
- Chapter I — The Origin and Purpose of Prayer
- Chapter II — To Whom Do We Pray?
- Chapter III — The Prayer of Gratitude
- Chapter IV — The Prayer of Asking
- Chapter V — The Prayer of Believing
- Chapter VI — The Prayer of Silence (Part One)
- Chapter VII — The Prayer of Silence (Part Two)
- Chapter VIII — The Prayer of Command
- Chapter IX — Answers to Prayer
- Chapter X — Prayer Applied to the Physical Plane
Perhaps enough has already been written on the subject of prayer. Volumes exist touching on various phases of the subject. Innumerable discourses are being continually given, each presenting some helpful and illuminating ideas relating to its practice. But for the most part, humanity is still crying "Master, teach us to pray."
Perhaps the uncertainty existing in people's minds is not due to the lack of instruction regarding prayer, nor the possibility of prayers being answered. It may be a lack of understanding of the real nature of prayer, as the logical steps in its various phases develop. Often we attempt to apply phases of prayer which we do not understand, and which apply effectively only when we have mastered preliminary steps. We would not attempt to work problems in calculus and the fourth dimension before we have learned the rudiments of addition, subtraction, and multiplication; nor should we expect to gain the best results from advanced forms of prayer, which we do not understand until we have mastered its rudimentary phases.
At least, the writer feels the subject of prayer and its practice can be so simply stated and logically arranged that anyone may gain a better understanding
of its practice, and through this understanding may arrive at that point in his individual experience where he may proceed in absolute assurance that the answer is forthcoming.
In personal contact with thousands of people from one end of the country to the other, we meet vast numbers of people who bear testimony to the fact that their prayers have been answered. Perhaps a like number have stated as convincingly that their prayers have not been answered. This condition has inspired us to a prolonged and searching study into the subject of prayer. It is hoped that the following pages will carry some real and practical light to each seeking and aspiring soul.
The attitude of the general public toward prayer seems to indicate that we think it a perfectly allright practice for women and children, with an occasional application for all of us when we are in trouble. However, a close study of prayer reveals that it is more closely related to everyday life than we have imagined, and plays a more vital part in all human accomplishment than any of us have suspected.
There is something, which a few people possess, which makes them superior to their fellow men in influence and achievement. This something which seems so rare in human experience makes for success and attainment when all the elements ordinarily recognized as necessary, are lacking. Furthermore when this "something" is lacking, and all the other qualities are present, achievement seems either
limited or entirely outside the realm of tangible results.
Some people have appearance, opportunity, the gift of speech, the ability to sing and dance, to work and play, but they lack that other and essential something which makes their endeavor effective or acceptable to the world about them. Even in the practical field of salesmanship a man may have all the theories and practices of his profession and of the commodity which he represents, and yet be unable effectively to present his claim to the attention of the public. The artist may paint a picture that is technically correct; the singer may sing his song mechanically perfectly; but for some reason the production does not "click" with the public and arouse popular acclaim. This condition prevails in every phase of human experience. On the other hand, some person will come along almost entirely lacking in the so-called outer requirements; and yet his message, his song, his dance, his sermon, or whatever his offering may be, is immediately acceptable to the world, and what he has to offer is received with interest and enthusiasm.
It should be apparent to even the casual observer that successful achievement is not primarily in man's position, his mental technique, his emotions, his training, his body, or his environment. A writer whom we do not now recall, has given us a vital clue to what that "something" is which makes the real difference in all human undertakings when he wrote:
"He who has more soul than I is my master."
Desirable as all outer things may be — and by outer things we mean the condition of mind, emotion, body, environment, position, or opportunity — they are of little effect in actually determining the final capacity of the individual. To succeed in a measure that is satisfying to the individual and to the world, we must search in a realm that is not common in our ordinary practices and experiences. This applies just as much in the attainment of physical health, emotional balance, mental calm, and sound logic as in any other phase of life. Things which we have considered fundamentally important, are of secondary importance, because they are the end and not the means, the result and not the cause. But as effects they are of importance where the means or cause is discovered and applied.
The lessons which follow are presented with the idea of giving an understanding of what that particular "something" essential to satisfactory attainment is; and of outlining a plan by means of which it may be developed. But that something which we seek does not come to the individual student who merely reads the lessons given. It comes rather to those who will apply themselves to understand that which is defined; and then will devote themselves to sincere and faithful practice. The steps which follow in this volume are given for the earnest consideration and most faithful practice of those students who are determined to find liberation from the present limitations of human experience and the
way into that larger life consistent with the eternal longings of man's inmost soul.
A right understanding and application of the principles of prayer is the key to all of man's hopes and desires, if he will take the pains to understand and apply the processes involved. But first of all, the student should be determined that he is ready to break with the past, its experiences and conditions. He must have a like determination to lay hold of every constructive idea presented, to think it out for himself, to subject it to the rule of his own highest reason, and then to make it the standard of his own thought and the rule of his own conduct in the days that follow. The faint-hearted will remain in obscurity, but the determined will find and follow the way into the freedom of a larger and fuller life.
In the true sense and meaning of prayer, there is no human being who does not pray. There may be millions perhaps who never go through any of the forms which have been related to its practice; but after all, it is not the form that is the prayer. Prayer is rather that something back of the form which, if lacking, leaves the form of little consequence, to say the least. It is ever "the Spirit that quickens"; and where there is no quickening spirit, all form is languid and motionless. But there is always some motivating impulse that animates man in all his doings, and the effectiveness of his actions is determined by the kind and degree of this motivating force.
There is an understanding procedure in the practice of prayer which makes it as sure as any of the principles which are common in the experiences of men. There is an application of its processes which is as sure of results as in following the processes of mathematics; as sure as that the processes of nature will produce flowers and fruits; or that animals and men reproduce after their kind. Prayer has the power of reproducing after its own kind on that plane from which it springs and in which it rightly moves.
It is not to be construed from these words that any form or manner of prayer is wrong. The results which follow any kind or degree of prayer are to be their own proof of the efficiency or inadequacy of the practice. But these words are being written in the hope that new light may be shed upon the subject, in order that the earnest aspirant may follow a definite course of procedure and see for himself whether he cannot find a new meaning to prayer and a vital result from its practice. If the reader has not been thoroughly satisfied with his past experiences in prayer, let him study carefully the following pages and faithfully follow the instructions given therein; let him see for himself whether a more vital experience is not the result.
Remember, this is not a series of lessons to be read. It is a series of steps for individual practice; for it is only "he that doeth Truth that cometh to light." Only as the facts contained in any principle
are handled with the mind and applied in the individual's experience do they become understandable and workable.
Because many ideas herein presented are somewhat different from our common concept of prayer, and because an entirely new motive is involved, we have freely employed the principle of repetition in many cases. Repetition has a tendency to open up the mind to inner meanings, and the practice also helps to sustain the true motive involved in any discourse. The alert may grasp a point promptly; so they will please bear with us in our attempt to reach those who are less alert mentally.
We submit the following pages with the prayer that "the inspiration of the Almighty may accompany the study and practice periods of each earnest seeker, overreaching his individual effort and imparting that understanding which we may fail to make clear even in our most faithful effort at clarity and simplicity."
"May the Spirit of Almighty God himself, and the awakening spirit of his truth in the heart of each student, quicken and inspire until perfect understanding and complete revelation be his lot and portion in life."