The Way of Prayer 4/5
1960 Chicago Open Class
Joel S. Goldsmith
So it is, seeking entrance to the spiritual path must always be not for the purpose of personal gain, not for the purpose of selfish motive of any kind but only for the purpose of enlightenment. And this was given to us of old, symbolically, so that we may know that this is the correct form of prayer. When entering the household of God, and you can only enter through prayer, do not try to enter the house of God, the household, the temple of God selfishly, or for gain, or personal motives but only for the reason of tabernacling with God, whom the Master says, “knoweth that you have need of these things and whose pleasure it is to give you the kingdom,” as long as you don’t seek them. Seek ye the kingdom of God. These things will be added unto you. And here you have a secret of prayer, which has been lost for centuries and known and practiced only by members of the mystical, unorganized movements of the world. Wherever this becomes organized, remember, that it loses its power, because some mode of selfishness enters into the activity of organization.
God is Infinite. If you cannot accept that you have no possible way of entering the spiritual life. God is Infinite, and to be Infinite that means God must be All. Therefore, there could not be God and something beside. There could not be God and. There could not be God and safety, or God and protection, or God and food, or God and clothing. But we learn that God is the health of your countenance. Not that God sends you health. And that’s where so much of this praying goes astray. These millions of people who prayed for this girl were praying for something that God could not give, for God had no such thing to give. God being Infinite had only God’s own Self, and none of these prayers were interested in God. They were interested only in what they thought God had to give. Ah yes, let’s use God as a means to getting health. Let God become our servant, in other words. Not we, God’s servant. No, no, no. Let us use God. “Now God send us health. Come, come, God. You know, you owe it to us. We’ve been good. We’ve tithed with you. We go to church on Sunday. Come, God.”
It’s nonsense. It’s nonsense to the enlightened. And for this reason there can be no answer. And when you pray to God for safety or security, or when you pray to God for food, or clothing, or housing, and when you pray to God for something, you are praying amiss. But when you pray Emmanuel, God with us, thy kingdom has come on earth, as it is in heaven, Thy will be done on earth, not my will, not my will! I am not directing you, God. I am not telling you, advising you, acquainting you. I am not trying to be greater than you, God, and let you know what little Susie Jo needs. No, God, in thy greatness, in thy all might, heaven is here and now. Where thou art is heaven. And where I am is heaven, for I and the Father are one. If I mount up to heaven, it’s heaven, and if I make my bed in hell, it’s heaven. And if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, it’s heaven, for God is here. And this whole earth is the footstool of God, the temple of God. And even your body is the temple of God. You need not pray for God to come to your body. And you need not pray for God to send health to your body. Pray the prayer of realization. Where thou art, I am. And where thou art in thy presence is fullness of joy, is fulfillment. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, and pray that way.
And then you’ll find that whatever the human need, it will appear as the grace of God. It will appear as the presence of God. And then you won’t have to have the guilty feeling that you told God what you needed that God didn’t know. Realize that God is Omniscience—the whole wisdom of this world. The Psalmist said, “Thy understanding is infinite.” Accept that. Accept that God’s understanding is Infinite, and let God express His infinite wisdom, without any advice or guidance on your part or mine. And see what grace, harmony, beauty flows into your life when you open yourself for God. Not for things. Just for God. And then let the things be added unto you.
You see, do you not, this wisdom has been known from the earliest times, but it had as little circulation in ancient times as it has in modern times. And why? The nature of the human is, of course, limitation—self, I. “I,” “me,” and “mine.” The three words that have destroyed the world—“I,” “me,” and “mine.” And you cannot expect the world to be any better. You cannot expect them to know how to pray until you have lifted them out of their humanhood into some measure of this spiritual Consciousness, this transcendental Consciousness. Then, they can begin to perceive through spiritual intuition, through spiritual discernment that God is ever present, that God is an ever-present help in all troubles. That God is here, where I am.
Was it ever so plain? I am the bread, the meat, the wine. Not I send it. Not I give it. I AM. God is the bread, the meat, the wine. God is the food. You may not believe it. You may not believe that God is the substance of the very food you eat. But although we have been teaching for more than thirty years that there is no such thing as matter, per se, that which the world calls matter is really mind substance. But who has believed that until last month when Dr. von Braun announced it? A great announcement in 1960—matter is mind.
Of course, from now on, the world will begin to believe it, whereas, heretofore, a few dozen thousand people accepted it and benefited by it, and the rest of the world ignored it and ignored the benefits that come. Once you understand the meaning there is no matter, there is only mind and that which appears as matter is mind in tangible form, appearing as tangible form. The fruitage of that understanding will only dawn on you after you have meditated and pondered the statement for a long, long time. Just as it will take the physical scientists many, many more years before they are able to benefit by Dr. von Braun’s announcement.
Now, in the same wise, the human cannot benefit by a teaching on the subject of prayer, because it cannot accept it. The human in their unillumined state can think no further than, “But I must have my rent on Saturday, so I better pray to God to have my rent on Saturday,” or “I can’t even think about God unless this pain stops. I can’t even study about God or pray about God until I have more time. Right now, I have to work all day and sleep all night.”
But, you see that with a first touch of spiritual illumination that same individual finds that there is an hour in the morning before they usually got up, and there is another hour before they retire at night. And they also find they can do with an hour less of television, or radio, or movies. And, so you find that, whereas the human has no time, with the first touch of the Spirit, he discovers there are twenty-four hours in every day and in everybody’s day, and that he wasn’t using all of the twenty-four hours, and now he begins to find a little time. And so it is, with that first touch of the Spirit, he begins to realize there’s no use of waiting to get rid of this pain to find God. If I find God, the pain will disappear. There’s no use of waiting until I get next Saturday’s rent and then find God. If I find God, I will have next Saturday’s rent.