You may think exactly along this line, with every matter that pertains to your experience. If I for instance, require a message to give you in this hour, I dare not pray for a message. Because, I can assure you that 90 times out of a hundred, it would fail. There may be a message but it would be of no interest.
But, as long as I can confine my prayer to the realization that the Spirit of God indwells me, and you have not come here to hear a message, but to be in the presence of God; to hear His voice, not mine; His message if there is one, not mine. And even above this, even if there were no message, the real purpose of your being here is to receive God’s Presence. This is far more important than any message you could receive—to receive God’s Presence, with or without words.
Sometimes I’m convinced that speaking words and hearing words just interferes with our receptivity to the Presence. Because we are not here to speak words or hear words, but to receive consciously, His Presence.
Therefore, if I in my prayer realize God’s presence, then God’s presence comes forth, and it may come forth as a message. If I pray for a message, I may get a message separate and apart from God’s presence, and what good would that be to you, or to me?
But, prayer being a realization, “Be not afraid, I am in the midst of thee.” All right, then my reliance is that that I, that Spirit of God within me utter Itself. And so my whole prayer is a remembrance of that presence within me, that still small voice. And then, if a message comes through, it must be with signs following. It must be with power, because, the presence and power of God is in the message.
So it is then, I dare not pray for success. For any success separate and apart from the presence of God, would be for me failure. Any success, would be for me a failure in the end if it were a success, separate and apart from the presence of God. And, only in the realization of the presence of God, can I find success. True, when that success appears, it appears outwardly in tangible form: students, messages, books, whatever it is that is intended for this experience.
I dare not pray for supply. Because, any supply separate and apart from God, would not be supply at all. It would be a shadow; it would be an image; it would be something false—certainly nothing to rely upon.
But, as I confine my prayer to this realization of God’s presence, God’s grace—it appears tangibly, outwardly, in the forms necessary: sometimes pounds, sometimes dollars, sometimes marks, sometimes francs, sometimes publishers, sometimes recognition in other forms, sometimes transportation. Always, the realized Presence appears as the form necessary to the fulfillment of that moment.
Do you see then why the Master cautioned against praying for food and clothing and housing? Do you see why he cautioned against taking thought for those things? Seek ye the realization of this presence. Seek only within your own consciousness, for the constant remembrance that I am with thee, fear not I am with thee, and rest. Abide in that word; abide in that consciousness. Fear not, be not afraid I am with thee; I will never leave thee; I will be with thee unto the end of the world; My presence goes before thee.”
Abide in this word, and then, this Spirit of God, which may come to my ears in English, and yours in French, and the next one’s in German, and so forth. That same Spirit of God will appear to me, in the form of fulfillment for my life, and will appear in the form of fulfillment for your life, and yet the forms may differ. For what represents fulfillment to me, may not represent fulfillment to you. Or what represents fulfillment to me today may not represent fulfillment a year from now.
But always see this, it is the presence of I in me. It is the recognition of the presence of I in me. It is the recognition of the presence of God in me. Be still and know that I am God. Therefore, as I am still, and recognize the presence of this I within me, this infinite divine presence; be still. It then takes care of the daily bread, food, clothing, housing, joy, peace, safety, security, recognition, reward, whatever the nature of fulfillment is to be.
These two points must be taken into your consciousness. You cannot afford to accept them and go on as if you had heard a beautiful lesson. You must pause for a day, a week, a month, year if necessary—pause, until these two points have come to fruition within you. Until you, yourself, can acknowledge: I understand the nature of the revelation of Jesus Christ, it is that I is the way; through I, which is the divine presence within me—I am fulfilled; through this I, which is God within me, the presence of God in me, the Spirit of God in me, the Son of God in me—through this, this is the way of life; and I live through this Presence—in It, with It, through It, by It. I commune with It. I live and move and have my being in It and with It. Be still and know I; be still and hear the still small voice say to you: “Fear not, I am with you; be not afraid, I am He.”
Then, then you will know the secret of the Christian life is: I, God, in the midst of you am omnipotent—rest in Me, rest in My word, rest in that word I in the midst of me, rest in that presence of God, rest in the assurance of Its presence, and of Its mission; abide in It, and never take thought for the things of this world—that is anxious thought, worrisome thought, fearful thought.
Take all the thought you wish in doing your work correctly and perfectly and timely and lovingly. Take lots of thought about being neighborly, to your friends and to your enemies. Take lots of thought about praying for those enemies; take lots of thought about forgiving 70 times 7.
“But take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink”… for this is the function of the I that dwells in you. I is the way…Be not afraid, it is I, and then relax in that I; relax in that Presence; relax in that Power. Relax in the assurance that I is something that will never leave you nor forsake you.
It will not keep you on earth forever, for that is not Its function. Its function is that you live forever, but not necessarily in England, or the United States, or France, or Germany, or Switzerland, or on earth. And it should make no difference to us where we live, as long as we live by the grace of God—here, there, or the other place, is the same to us.
I is never a person, it is not my person or your person. I is always the divine Selfhood, the Creator, the Word that is in the midst of you. When you recognize It, you are living the Christian way, the way of I, the way of the indwelling Presence, the way of prayer, communion—entering the inner sanctuary of your own being, to find God.
As you read the Bible, you may believe often that the Hebrew priests went into this inner sanctuary or the Holy of Holies as an edifice. This is merely the way of presenting it, but it has an inner meaning. There never has been an edifice erected that was the Holy of Holies. Not even King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. It went the way of all flesh—all Holy of Holies go that way, because, the Holy of Holies is your consciousness, the inner sanctuary of your own being. And you are never in the Holy of Holy, until you have gone within yourself, and there found God, and tabernacled with God, and spoken to God, and heard God—All within yourself, where the Master met God.
Whither shall I flee from Thy Spirit, here where I am God is. And I need only turn from material edifices, material kingdoms. Retire within to the spiritual edifice, the temple not made with hands, My kingdom, the spiritual kingdom, and there find that within the temple of my own being, within this invisible, spiritual sanctuary which my consciousness is, I can retire, and I can hear the voice of God, or I can bear witness as It utters Its voice. I can hear the still small voice, and I can watch the earth of error, of sin, disease, death, lack, limitation crumble, as this voice says, “Be not afraid, it is I, fear not, I am with thee.”
As a practice and you will understand that this is revealed in the book, Practicing the Presence; as a practice, remember consciously when you awake in the morning that here where I am is this temple of God. Remember, as you go about your business, your affairs during the day, whether you find yourself in your home, your office, on the street, in a bus, or in trouble, turn within and realize, “I am the temple of God, and God dwells in me, in this temple here where I am.”
Practice this presence of God in you. Practice it, morning, noon and night, under any circumstance and every circumstance. And more especially, those that appear to be evil circumstances; pray the prayer of remembrance. Not a prayer of things I need, or want, or should have. But the prayer of remembrance:
Be not afraid, it is I; be still, and know that I within thee am God.