Thus far we have been considering prayer chiefly as it applies to the spiritual plane, or the practice of prayer in developing those capacities within the individual which makes him "creative and powerful." However, from this study it must not be construed that one is not privileged to pray for the things which we have need of on the physical plane. They are necessary for our larger expression, but we must first have the capacity to express. One should pray first, last and all the time about all things in his life, but to proceed with "first things first" insures the greatest success in the prayer's application.
It is perfectly proper and within the sphere of man's spiritual rights to pray for guidance, for illumination, for healing, for daily supply, for position, or for anything else that he may have need of. It is also well and proper that one should proceed
in the full assurance that it is both the will and purpose of God to give all these things. But it should also be remembered that all things must be converted or used to fulfill the purpose of life itself. The Divine principle moves to produce and support that which furthers its own purpose. Therefore man may naturally expect everything that will afford him a larger, fuller, richer spiritual expression in every phase of his being. But he could not — on the other hand — expect divine help in those things which do not contribute to his spiritual wellbeing, or to the spiritual well-being of those about him; things which he and others concerned would not use to further the universal desire of life to fulfill its own longings for complete and perfect expression. "Every tree that my father has not planted shall be uprooted"; and it must therefore follow that the "tree which he has planted, shall not be uprooted." The law of nature and the law of mathematics reproduce and sustain only that which is of their own kind, and this is equally true of the divine law.
In employing the practice of prayer as applied to man's outward needs, the foregoing facts should be clearly kept in mind. Christ constantly took these facts into account, and kept his nature from developing activities at variance to the Divine Plan by qualifying his prayer with "Not my will but thine be done." This is not a surrender to some more calamitous thing, for that is not within the
nature of God or his purpose. The will of God includes something more glorious, something more wonderful than our minds could fashion. The cup which the Father gave Christ to drink was the resurrection which came as a result of his complete surrender to the final and ultimate working out of the Divine purpose in his life. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive" the great and glorious things which are within the cup which the Father gives, that his offspring may drink thereof. It is the Father's pleasure to give his children the Kingdom, and every good and every perfect gift comes from above; for he can give forth only that which is within his own nature.
As the Heavens are high above the earth, so are the ways of God above our ways; and the surrender to the will of God is the equivalent of saying: "It seems that this would be desirable from my point of view, but if you have something better, let us have that." This practice is a surrender to something above and beyond our nature, instead of submission to something that is below our standard of thought or living. The Universe will give as richly as man is capable of receiving and using that which he receives to increase his capacity to live life as it is ordained from the foundations of the Universe. He may well pray for and logically expect everything that he will use for the development of his spiritual nature.
In praying for guidance, one must set aside the idea that he does not know what to do or where to go. To contemplate these conditions is to lead the mind into further ignorance. Remember, all things grow proportionately in one's life, according to the amount of attention given them. Instead, one should contemplate the fact that the desire or need to know a thing is evidence that the guidance itself is at hand and forthcoming; that the spirit of God is already seeking to reveal its guiding intelligence in you. "I will instruct thee and teach thee, saith the Lord." Cultivate a sense of gratitude for the degree of intelligence you have, and for the assurance that knowledge is seeking to come forth out of the universe and to well up in your own heart. Make requests of this infinite intelligence, ask its further expressions in you, expect it, anticipate its coming. This frees the mind from its former reactionary tendencies, and promotes its expansion in the direction of further revelations or discoveries.
Do not expect spiritual guidance in the form of some phenomenal demonstration. It comes through the still small voice deep down within your own soul; and the quiet assurance, or sense of certainty regarding your activities, what you should do or where you should go, is the form of spiritual guidance you are most likely to receive in the beginning. If you will devote yourself to developing this motive in your life, this will become stronger and
surer until it moves through you with a sweep of infinite power.
When you have received some definite assurance upon any subject, when your mind seems to have arrived at a satisfactory conclusion that brings a sense of inward calm, then accept this as the revelation which God has given you. "Acknowledge me in all thy ways and I will direct thy paths." But remember that no revelation is final, and that progress in life involves continual revelation — the constant discovery of higher truth and deeper fact. "Pray all the way up the mountain," that your mind may be perpetually alert to discover every new idea and viewpoint that may present itself.
Once the individual feels the actual working of the processes of Divine guidance and revelation moving through his nature, he will become overwhelmingly interested in further development; he will give himself to deep meditation and penetrating search for the deep things of Spirit; and he will find himself automatically practicing that creative side of prayer regarding his revelations. Silently he will seek out the spiritual significance of all things, and silently will he watch them develop, in full assurance that he will inevitably attain the highest results in every outward expression.
The time comes when his inner convictions regarding the nature and purpose of God become so strong that his being is aflame with power, and he no longer hesitates to speak that which he knows to
be the wisdom and truth of God. This awakened assurance becomes his prayer of command. Then he finds himself rejoicing in the fulfillment of divine illumination; and his prayer for guidance is realized in the fullness of knowledge concerning himself, and all things whatsoever he should do and whithersoever he should go. Before him is set that "open door which no man can shut."
The same procedure should be followed in regard to the matter of demonstrating health. Contemplate the degree of health you have, and be grateful for that. Contemplate that the desire for greater health is only an indication that greater health is seeking expression in you; and that the activity of the very law of the Universe, the will and purpose of God, is to manifest more health in you. Be genuinely thankful and grateful to God that life is so ordained, and that the very health which you are seeking is also seeking you and even with a greater determination to find you than you exercise to attain it. Ask, seek, expect, anticipate, this increase of good health. Accept it as a fact, take it for granted, that God IS moving to manifest perfect health in you; until you are overwhelmed by the fact that the outpouring of health upon you is so great that you can but be still in silent contemplation of the good which is fulfilling itself in your flesh. Then upon your bed at night, or in your hours of meditation, ponder deeply the rich gift of radiant health which God is, in his pleasure, giving to you; until that health is
actually transformed into living fact in your flesh, actually born into fulfillment in your body. Then it will become a "rod of authority," a commanding power throughout your whole being; and an authority under which no tyranny of ill health shall ever again dare to project itself into this kingdom ruled over by the authority of Almighty God awakened in your consciousness, which decrees only health. Then will your joy be full, and your health spring forth speedily.
In praying for your rightful position or place in the world, remember that you are first to find your rightful place in the divine principle; and that rightful place is in conscious union with God himself. You are already in that place, but to become aware of it, you must give your attention to the fact. You must no longer give your attention to the apparent fact that you seem to be out of your rightful place. Contemplate the fact that, as you have your rightful place in God, so do you have your rightful place in His world. Your desire for this rightful place, is only the evidence to your mind that all the forces of the Universe are moving to place you in that rightful position. Open yourself to its coming forth by asking its manifestation, and further claim it by taking it for granted. Assume it as being so in your entire attitude. This will bring the sense of security, of calm strength, which will reveal to you your own ability. No one can be conscious of his ability when burdened with
the sense of being a misfit, entirely out of the sphere of useful expression, and divested of his right to self-expression. Nor, as we have said before, is anyone else likely to recognize your capacity and capabilities, when you yourself are not aware of them. But once you begin to sense your own security and your own ability, this becomes apparent to others and they begin to make way for that ability and to prepare to avail themselves of that ability. Very soon places will begin to appear, jobs will begin to come into evidence, positions and opportunities for the expression of this awakened ability will present themselves.
Then instead of tossing all night long and wondering what will become of you and your family, you will ponder your good fortune, the kindness of fate, the joy of awakened ability and opportunity; until the righteousness of your relationship to life both visible and invisible becomes your rod of authority in this field. This awakened authority will be exercised to prove the power of the Supreme Divinity within you and to awaken a like authority within those around you; and together you will journey on toward that Kingdom to which all men are destined. This will become your joy complete, and your rejoicing will be for the rejoicing of all men.
Proceed in the same manner regarding supply. Give your attention to the degree of supply which is already yours, rather than to that degree which
you think you lack, and would like to have. Remember that the whole nature and life of the individual grows and expands in the direction of his attention. Even if you have but a crust of bread, be attentive to and appreciative of that one crust; for it contains, for the time being, the very essence of your need. Beyond the crust of bread there is water, air, the mind with which you think, and the spirit by which you live; all of which are more essential to sustaining your physical body than the food you need and desire. But also contemplate the fact that your need and desire are but evidence that your larger supply is seeking to come forth in greater measure; and that back of that need is the will and determination within the Universe to give you supply in abundance. Contemplate these facts until they begin to dawn in your consciousness, and you begin actually to see that supply moves in larger and larger circles and proportions than previously manifest in your circumstances. Then be thankful for this new discovery; for gratitude will open your nature and increase your capacity to receive. Do not be afraid to ask God for a supply adequate to meet your every need, and in a measure that would satisfy the longings of your heart. Ask in the assurance of one who has discovered that it is the will and purpose of God to supply you according to his riches. Only when the longings of your heart are satisfied and the needs of your body fulfilled, are the longings of the Universe satisfied
in their giving. Let your heart and mind find expression and expansion in gratitude for the discovery of these facts, and in the knowledge that your Infinite supply is moving into expression through you here and now. When you have become overwhelmed with the sense of your ever-bountiful and ever-increasing supply, then you will find the stillness of deep meditation and pondering in your heart. You will revel in the sense of bounty direct from the Father's house; and this mothering and brooding principle will be the gateway through which ever-increasing "signs" of your supply shall come into manifestation to enrich every department of your being, and everything which you do. So effective, so sure, and so unfailing shall become this flow of ever-increasing supply that it shall be an abiding and undeniable authority regulating your entire life and all your affairs. This will be your "rod of authority," and you shall rule with commanding power in a kingdom of infinite abundance. Moreover, your supply shall not be something gained from the store which others have produced, but shall be the product of your own creative activity; and it shall awaken a like realization and authority in those about you. Together you shall work to produce and bring forth the abundance that awaits within the Kingdom to burst forth and cover the earth with its beneficence. Then shall all men rejoice in the abundance of God and the fruitfulness of his earth; and his Kingdom shall
be established in all the earth; his will shall be done in all the affairs of men; his spirit shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea; and all the prayers of men and the purposes of God shall meet in that crowning achievement of the glory and purpose of God fulfilled in his own creation.