1960 HOLLAND OPEN CLASS
TAPE 341 SIDE 1
UNDERSTANDING GOD AND PRAYER
By Joel Goldsmith
Part 2 of 6
Going back again to those of our ancestors who worshiped a dozen gods, you will find, those of you who have studied the ancient religions already know, that the people prayed for food or for crops or for rain. They always found something that they, themselves, could not provide and then sought it from their deity, as if actually God were withholding it and by their prayers they were going to get God to let loose of it.
Then we come again to Brother Abraham, the friend of God, and we find this same mistake perpetuated. We find them still going to God to pray, not only for the things they thought they needed, but they emulated the example of their pagan brothers, they even prayed to God to give them victory in war. They prayed, as the pagans did and as pagans still do, for victory in war. “Help us to destroy our enemy”.
We have never left the age of paganism. And we still pray as if a god, who art God, could destroy one and leave another, or as if any of us on the face of the earth had attained such goodness that we deserved to be spared while others were being destroyed. Is there a nation of people on earth who really believes that they are good, good enough to deserve God’s Grace, and their neighbor across the sea deserves the heavy hand of God’s destruction? Yes! Yes, there are people who still go to church to pray, “Save us, and destroy our enemies ….. Do this for us, but withhold it from our enemies.” It is as paganistic a prayer today as when it was voiced by those who had a dozen different gods.
So it is, as long as men and women continue to pray for things, whether it’s for what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink or wherewithal ye shall be clothed, or whether they pray for homes or for automobiles or for safety or for security, as long as they are praying for some “thing”, their prayer is as paganistic as it was five thousand years ago. And as long as an individual is praying to God for me or for my family or for my nation, it is as paganistic as it ever was at any time in the world’s history because it displays an ignorance of God.
God is not a respecter of persons. God’s rain falls on the just and the unjust. And so if we are to bring the Grace of God into our experience, individually or collectively, we must first of all learn how to pray. And be assured of this, the world, as a world, does not know how to pray. And the proof of it is, “By their fruits, ye shall know them”. And the fruitage of the world’s prayer is certainly not peace on earth and good will to men, not yet! And it isn’t a universal abundance, not yet!
Probably one belief sets up the whole of the paganistic beliefs about God and prayer that are still entertained, and that is the belief that it is possible to get God to do something for you or for me, or for my family, or for my nation. Until this belief is wiped out of the thought of an individual, he has absolutely no possibility of receiving God’s Grace. As long as an individual believes that he can be set apart, or that because he belongs to this faith or that faith that he has an “in” with God, a pull, an influence with God, he’s far, far, far from the ability to realize God’s Grace.
So our first step really must be to turn to Scripture, and to turn within, and see if we cannot attain a higher concept of God than we now entertain. And we must know this; that our concept of God has not yet reached the kindergarten stage if we believe we can pray to God for something and get it, or if we believe we can pray to God for something for me or for you, and get it. We haven’t even entered the kindergarten stage of prayer. In fact, we have not come out of paganism. We have not even made the first move out of paganism while we believe that God is a respecter of persons, or churches, or nations or religions.
If we believe that God is in any way responsible for the sun, the moon, the stars, the rain, the snow, we must know that these things exist not for you or me, or for your nation or my nation, or the members of your church or my church, they exist universally for all who wish to avail themselves of it. If we believe that behind the scientific discoveries of the world that have made automotive engineering possible, airplanes possible, wireless, all of the great electrical achievements, and now all of the atomic achievements, if at all we believe that behind these things there is a Principle, certainly that should teach us, then, that there is nothing personal about God’s Grace. Because these are available to anyone who wishes to open their mind or consciousness to them.
Certainly, if we look at the history of paintings, of statuary, of art or literature in any form, and if we believe at all that God is the Source of these and the Source of the inspiration of these and the Source of the art of these, then certainly we must know that God is no respecter of persons, or religions or nations, but that God’s Grace is a universal one. And it belongs to anybody who will open their souls, open their consciousness, to receive; whether they want to receive art, or literature, or languages; whether they want to receive inventive ability or scientific discovery ability. Whatever it may be, it is open and available to anyone.
End Part 2