UNDERSTANDING GOD AND PRAYER (1)

1960 HOLLAND OPEN CLASS

TAPE 341 SIDE 1

UNDERSTANDING GOD AND PRAYER

By Joel Goldsmith

Part 1 of 6

I think most of you know that just one hour ago we arrived, and so we have had a whole hour of holiday. But this is really only the beginning of what I know will be a beautiful week.

Every year since I first came to Holland with this Message, we’ve had a most beautiful experience. Many of you have been listening to this message of The Infinite Way since my very first trip and I know that you are at least beginning to understand why it is that there is this message and what it is that I am trying to say that should be different in your ears. It should be different to what you have heard before if you are hearing it correctly.

Ever since man ran into his first trouble on earth, he has looked for some way to solve his problems and history shows us that he always sought to solve his problems through material means, that his most natural instinct was to find a great power, a greater power, than his problem. And when he came to the end of human solutions, he began to seek for something super-human, something greater than human, and so began a search for what eventually became gods. Because they may have found one god to start with, but that god did not satisfy all of their needs, and so they looked for another. And they found another and another and another until men in different parts of the world were worshiping a dozen gods or dozens of gods.

There was a different god to meet every need. If we needed a big crop of fish, why we had one god for that. And if we needed abundant crops, we had a god for that. And if it was health or beauty or fertility, whatever it was, a different god appeared. And even in war, we found gods that would help us destroy our enemy. Of course, it wouldn’t destroy our allies, only our enemies. But as you so well know, all of this proved fruitless, these gods did not really perform, these gods did not meet the needs of the people. And so instead of there being recognized certain gods who actually performed, in every part of the world there was a different god or a different set of gods, different mode of worship.

Well, we may pass over many, many centuries hurriedly to come to the time of Father Abraham, when he, having received enlightenment from further east, accepted one God. Now actually the problems of the world would have been solved by Father Abraham had they not made the mistake of going to that one God for all the same things that previously they had been going to many gods. In other words, they were not praying aright. And when we do not pray aright, it really makes no difference whether we are praying to one God or whether we are praying to dozens of gods, there is the same lack of answer.

It isn’t really a discovery of what is God so much as it is, first of all, the realization that there is only one God. Of course after all of the centuries that have passed since Abraham, you would imagine that this world now is in agreement that there is only one God. But if you are familiar at all with even contemporary religion, you will know that almost every sect, every denomination, every religion has a God of its own; “And your God is not that right one, it is always our God that’s right. You are undoubtedly going to hell because you haven’t the right God.” On the other hand, the very same person who is convinced that he has the right God is being told by someone else, “You are going to hell because we have only the right God.”

In our modem age they have been trying to break down bigotry and bias, prejudice, by having organizations like “The Brotherhood of Christians and Jews”. You would think that at least as long as they are going to have a Brotherhood that they would agree that there is only one God, and they do. There is only one God but it’s “my God”. The Jewish God is not the Christian God, the Protestant God is not the Catholic God, the Catholic God is not the Vedantist God, and the Vedantist God certainly is not the Taoist God. And so even in what we like to consider this enlightened age, we have not yet agreed, not even among the intellectuals of the world, we have not yet agreed that there is one, universal God. Whether we speak of the God of Jews or the God of the Christians or the God of the pagans, there can still be but one God.

We would be far along on the path of universal peace if only we could agree that there is one God, and that it is a universal God, and that whether you pray a Jewish prayer or Protestant prayer or Catholic prayer or Hindu prayer, still there must be but one and the same God. That, at least, would fulfill the Master’s teaching, “Call no man on earth your father, there is but one Father, the One in heaven”. And if only we could agree that this is true, then all the rest of us on earth would be brothers and sisters regardless of which church door we went into. And even if we went into none, at least we would be in agreement that whether we are white or black, or yellow or brown, that still there is but one God and we be brethren. This alone would be the breaking down of bias, prejudice and bigotry, without trying to be tolerant, just being truthful. But acknowledging one God is but the first step to the solution of our problem.

Whether the problem is an individual one or a collective one, whether it is a problem of yourself or your family or your community, or whether it is a problem of the nation or a world of nations, we have only covered one half of the ground when we have acknowledged that there is but one God and that we, all of us, are offspring of that God, heirs of that one God; joint heirs. Because the second step has to do with making contact with that God and that can only be done through prayer.

Prayer is the only means of contact with God. There is no other way, there never has been any other way, and there never can be any other way of making contact with God, other than through prayer. And here is where our next and greatest step has to be taken away from all that we have previously been taught about prayer. I am speaking now of most men and most women.

End Part 1

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