A Prayer From the Past

by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff

We often wonder why prayer doesn’t work. In The Song of Prayer (supplement to A Course in Miracles) we read, “The secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need…” (S-I.4:1) and let them go into God’s hands. It goes on to say that as we pray in this fashion, we are acknowledging that we would have no gods before God, and no love but His. We truly want what God would give us in any situation so that “Thy will be done.”

These ideas give us a little insight as to why some of our prayers seem to go without an answer. A Course in Miracles tells us that the world of dreams is a “perceptual temper tantrum” in which we literally scream, “I want it thus.” (T-18.II.4:1, paraphrased) We may ask for God’s help, but we are also quick to tell Him how we want His help (and the idols we have placed before Him). For most of us this has caused a lot of distress and feelings of abandonment. “What’s wrong,” we cry, “why doesn’t God help me?” It never dawns on us that we didn’t let Him help, opting for our plan instead of His.

In 1997, Mother Teresa died. Sainted in 2016, her work for the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India was legendary, and earned her a Nobel Peace Prize. Recently I was looking through a file of news clippings and ran across an article about her life and impact. In it was a wonderful story about a prayer experience she had with Rev. Robert Schuller, the famous televangelist, when she met him in Mexico. In that exchange, she asked him for a copy of the prayer he used every Sunday to open his global television show. He proceeded to write it out for her. It read:

“Lord, make my life a window for your light to shine through and a mirror to reflect your love to all I meet.”

He then turned the tables on her and asked her to write him a prayer, which she did. Her prayer read:

“To Dr. Schuller: Be all and only for Jesus. Let him use you without him having to consult you first.”

Let us take a hint from this prayer and not feel we must be consulted on God’s will for us. God’s will for us is always and only happiness, peace, and love. Can we truly say that is always and only our will for ourselves?

Today, let us place our faith in God who knows our worth and our needs far better than we do. In prayer, let us not point the way to Him, but simply be open to His answers.

As the Course advises,

“Ask and receive. But do not make demands, nor point the road to God by which He should appear to you. The way to reach Him is merely to let Him be.”(W-189)

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