Here we have, then, an acknowledgement that God, the Invisible, the Supreme, is on the scene. Even that is enough. Then we can jump out of bed, make our physical preparations until we come to the table and then remember the source of this food. We do not give thanks for this food, because after we’ve eaten it we have nothing left to give thanks for, so we won’t do that; but we will for a moment ponder the fact that this food, too, has its source in God. It has its source in an invisible Presence and an invisible Power which has made the cattle to grow on a thousand hills, which has made the crops to grow in the field, which has sent us this milk, eggs. All of this that is on our table is a product of an invisible Presence and Power at work. We may call it God; we may call it the mind of the universe; whatever It is, It isn’t man, because It was here before man was. This is enough too.
Upon leaving our homes we have a choice. We can either walk out like blundering fools, hoping we’ll arrive at our destination safely or we can pause at the door for a moment and realize, God’s presence does go before me to make the crooked places straight; God’s promises have been given to us; that God goes before us to prepare these many mansions; that God walks beside us and behind us; that whithersoever I go, God goes also; that I am always in the presence of God. I and the Father are one, and where I am, God is. Where God is, I am. And this is enough.
We go through our entire day, whether it is out in the business world or the professional world or at home in the housework, marketing, shopping, there is never a minute of the day when there isn’t an occasion to remember that God’s presence can do more for me than I alone, that the presence of God is where I am. He perfecteth that which concerneth me; He performeth that which is given me to do; Thy grace is my sufficiency in all things. There is not an occasion of the day or the night when we cannot consciously bring to our awareness some remembrance of God and of God’s presence and of God’s power and of God’s function in our lives.
Was it ever meant that we should live without the functioning of God? Was it ever meant that we should live our own lives? What is all the meaning of divine sonship? What is the meaning of, Ye are sons of God and if sons, heirs, and if heirs, joint-heirs to all the heavenly riches? What is the meaning of Scripture if we are to live lives on our own wisdom, on our own strength, on our own powers? What is the meaning of Scripture? What is the meaning of God?
Of course. The pagans of old, when they lacked, just turned to an unknown God. “Oh God, send me this and send me that,” until even we in the twentieth century have come to look upon God as a magnificent St. Nicholas, only we want Christmas every day in the week and a Christmas tree piled high with gifts. There is no such God; there never has been; and that is why, when the ancient Pagans had their dozens of gods, they didn’t work, and eventually Abraham decided there must be only one God. But these Hebrews, in their ignorance, prayed to the one God for the same things that formerly they had prayed to twelve gods for. And of course, that one God won’t do any more for us than twelve gods will, and twelve gods will do less than one.
Why? Because there is no God that can give, any more than there is a God that is withholding. God actually is the theme of life, the source of life, the center of life; God is the flowing stream within us, and we need not ask It for anything, for It is of the nature of divine intelligence; It is of the nature of divine love, and therefore we need only relax. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. And that’s enough—that is enough. The Lord is my shepherd, and the Lord is “closer to me than breathing and nearer than hands and feet,” and It is God’s good pleasure to give me the kingdom. And when we relax within ourselves in the realization that, “Here where I am, God is; here where I am the infinity of God is, infinite intelligence, divine love, the all-knowing mind; not a giving God, not a withholding God, but an is-ing God, a God that is, a God that even in this very minute of black night outside is preparing the morning’s light for us. Believe it or not, it is on the way here now without any of us praying for it, and so is next spring’s flowers, all accomplished, all perfect, all infinite and omnipresent in divine Consciousness here and now, and none of us has to pray for it. Patiently await next spring. Don’t ask God to break His law and give you tulips while the snow is on the ground, but let God’s law operate, and in God’s time the tulips will appear in all their beauty, in all the color, in all the grace, in infinity.
True prayer is a relaxing from desire. It is an inner assurance: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. The Lord is “closer to me than breathing.” He knoweth my need before I do; It is his good pleasure to give me the kingdom. Rest, relax; rest, relax. This is practicing the presence of God.
Now, as we practice the presence of God in this way, we find gradually that inwardly we become calm, we become still, even if we take a few moments out to go in another room, we can even relax into such a stillness that no more thoughts come; we can almost say, Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth, and then with the ears, inner ears open, we create an inner vacuum into which the presence of God can flow, and then you find that you are now approaching the ability to meditate. Now you can begin a form of what we call contemplative meditation in which you sit quietly and contemplate some idea of God: God is my fortress; God is my high tower; God is the health of my countenance; God is my strength, my peace, my wisdom, my understanding; His understanding is infinite in me.
This is a contemplative form of meditation. We are contemplating God and spiritual reality. Another time we contemplate some other activity of God within us:
God is the light unto our being; God’s grace is a sufficiency; In thy presence is fullness of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy. In Thy presence there is an inner peace. Thy presence is a Peace, be still to evil of any nature; Thy presence, In thy presence is fullness of joy; Thy presence is a Peace, be still; Thy presence within me is a benediction and a blessing. Thy presence within me blesses this entire household. Thy presence within me blesses all those who come within range of my consciousness. Thy presence within me is felt by all who are around me, whether of the human world or the animal world or the bird world, the vegetable world, the world of flowers–Thy presence within me is felt by all. Thy presence illumines this room. Thy presence is a Peace, be still to any discord, to every discord.
This, you see, again is a contemplative form of meditation, and when you reach the end of the contemplation, it’s very easy then to say, Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth, and now for the space of twenty, thirty, or forty seconds (audio ends here abruptly).