ACIM Supplemental Reading for November 14
The Song of Prayer
IV. Praying with Others
S-1.IV.1. Until the second level at least begins, one cannot share in prayer. 2 For until that point, each one must ask for different things. 3 But once the need to hold the other as an enemy has been questioned, and the reason for doing so has been recognized if only for an instant, it becomes possible to join in prayer. 4 Enemies do not share a goal. 5 It is in this their enmity is kept. 6 Their separate wishes are their arsenals; their fortresses in hate. 7 The key to rising further still in prayer lies in this simple thought; this change of mind:
8 We go together, you and I.
S-1.IV.2. Now it is possible to help in prayer, and so reach up yourself. 2 This step begins the quicker ascent, but there are still many lessons to learn. 3 The way is open, and hope is justified. 4 Yet it is likely at first that what is asked for even by those who join in prayer is not the goal that prayer should truly seek. 5 Even together you may ask for things, and thus set up but an illusion of a goal you share. 6 You may ask together for specifics, and not realize that you are asking for effects without the cause. 7 And this you cannot have. 8 For no one can receive effects alone, asking a cause from which they do not come to offer them to him.
S-1.IV.3. Even the joining, then, is not enough, if those who pray together do not ask, before all else, what is the Will of God. 2 From this Cause only can the answer come in which are all specifics satisfied; all separate wishes unified in one. 3 Prayer for specifics always asks to have the past repeated in some way. 4 What was enjoyed before, or seemed to be; what was another’s and he seemed to love,–all these are but illusions from the past. 5 The aim of prayer is to release the present from its chains of past illusions; to let it be a freely chosen remedy from every choice that stood for a mistake. 6 What prayer can offer now so far exceeds all that you asked before that it is pitiful to be content with less.
S-1.IV.4. You have chosen a newborn chance each time you pray. 2 And would you stifle and imprison it in ancient prisons, when the chance has come to free yourself from all of them at once? 3 Do not restrict your asking. 4 Prayer can bring the peace of God. 5 What time-bound thing can give you more than this, in just the little space that lasts until it crumbles into dust?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 14
Now let a new perception come to me.
Father, there is a vision which beholds all things as sinless, so that fear has gone, and where it was is love invited in. And love will come wherever it is asked. This vision is Your gift. The eyes of Christ look on a world forgiven. In His sight are all its sins forgiven, for He sees no sin in anything He looks upon. Now let His true perception come to me, that I may waken from the dream of sin and look within upon my sinlessness, which You have kept completely undefiled upon the altar to Your holy Son, the Self with which I would identify.
Let us today behold each other in the sight of Christ. How beautiful we are! How holy and how loving! Brother, come and join with me today. We save the world when we have joined. For in our vision it becomes as holy as the light in us.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #818: The preliminary diagnosis is that there is a malignant tumor in my esophagus where the esophagus enters the stomach. The result is a severe constriction making swallowing very difficult. I have seen questions asked about praying and relieving or eliminating malignancies. My question is, what prayers should I use to relieve and remove the growth? My wife will help me pray.
A: First of all, you want to continue to seek out and follow whatever medical advice and treatment is available to help you with your condition. It is important to be clear that it is never an either-or proposition between medical interventions and A Course in Miracles . And then you should say whatever prayers bring you comfort and reassure you that it is not God’s Will that you suffer or experience pain or fear, using words that are personally meaningful to you and your wife. The specific words are not so important as the decision you make to allow your mind to be joined with your wife’s in a shared purpose of healing.
The Course’s focus is on healing the thoughts of unforgiveness we are holding against ourselves in our minds and not on changing the symptoms in our bodies, which it considers to be the effects of those thoughts. Still, there is nothing wrong with asking for help with physical conditions and Jesus recognizes that for most of us, still identified with our bodies, that will continue to be our focus of concern ( S.1.II.2 ). Perhaps you would be willing to consider your symptoms as the external expression of a thought of illness — the ego, to be specific — in your mind. Then you can bring the thoughts of fear and pain in your mind to Jesus or the Holy Spirit or God, or whatever loving presence you find most comforting. The value in focusing in your prayers on any thoughts of pain or guilt or fear in your mind, as well as your bodily concerns, is that then you are including, from the Course’s perspective, the underlying cause of the suffering and pain, as well as the effects — the physical symptoms.
There are many passages in the Course that you may find of help and comfort as you deal with the ramifications of your diagnosis. One in particular, which recognizes the process that we all must go through as we commit ourselves to putting the Course’s principles of forgiveness into practice, is workbook lesson 284, “I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt.”
“Loss is not loss when properly perceived. Pain is impossible. There is no grief with any cause at all. And suffering of any kind is nothing but a dream. This is the truth, at first to be but said and then repeated many times; and next to be accepted as but partly true, with many reservations. Then to be considered seriously more and more, and finally accepted as the truth. I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt. And I would go beyond these words today, and past all reservations, and arrive at full acceptance of the truth in them. (W.p.II.284.1, italics added ) .
These words are not meant to be used to deny or suppress whatever you may be experiencing in your body, but rather to offer the hope that, as a result of acknowledging the pain and the fear and their deeper source in the mind, the real potential for healing the underlying thoughts becomes possible.