ACIM Supplemental Reading for November 15
The Song of Prayer
V. The Ladder Ends
S-1.V.1. Prayer is a way to true humility. 2 And here again it rises slowly up, and grows in strength and love and holiness. 3 Let it but leave the ground where it begins to rise to God, and true humility will come at last to grace the mind that thought it was alone and stood against the world. 4 Humility brings peace because it does not claim that you must rule the universe, nor judge all things as you would have them be. 5 All little gods it gladly lays aside, not in resentment, but in honesty and recognition that they do not serve.
S-1.V.2. Illusions and humility have goals so far apart they cannot coexist, nor share a dwelling place where they can meet. 2 Where one has come the other disappears. 3 The truly humble have no goal but God because they need no idols, and defense no longer serves a purpose. 4 Enemies are useless now, because humility does not oppose. 5 It does not hide in shame because it is content with what it is, knowing creation is the Will of God. 6 Its selflessness is Self, and this it sees in every meeting, where it gladly joins with every Son of God, whose purity it recognizes that it shares with him.
S-1.V.3. Now prayer is lifted from the world of things, of bodies, and of gods of every kind, and you can rest in holiness at last. 2 Humility has come to teach you how to understand your glory as God’s Son, and recognize the arrogance of sin. 3 A dream has veiled the face of Christ from you. 4 Now can you look upon His sinlessness. 5 High has the ladder risen. 6 You have come almost to Heaven. 7 There is little more to learn before the journey is complete. 8 Now can you say to everyone who comes to join in prayer with you:
9 I cannot go without you, for you are a part of me.
10 And so he is in truth. 11 Now can you pray only for what you truly share with him. 12 For you have understood he never left, and you, who seemed alone, are one with him.
S-1.V.4. The ladder ends with this, for learning is no longer needed. 2 Now you stand before the gate of Heaven, and your brother stands beside you there. 3 The lawns are deep and still, for here the place appointed for the time when you should come has waited long for you. 4 Here will time end forever. 5 At this gate eternity itself will join with you. 6 Prayer has become what it was meant to be, for you have recognized the Christ in you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 15
I seek a future different from the past.
From new perception of the world there comes a future very different from the past. The future now is recognized as but extension of the present. Past mistakes can cast no shadows on it, so that fear has lost its idols and its images, and being formless, it has no effects. Death will not claim the future now, for life is now its goal, and all the needed means are happily provided. Who can grieve or suffer when the present has been freed, extending its security and peace into a quiet future filled with joy?
Father, we were mistaken in the past, and choose to use the present to be free. Now do we leave the future in Your Hands, leaving behind our past mistakes, and sure that You will keep Your present promises, and guide the future in their holy light.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #215: The Song of Prayer, p. 6, says that praying for material things is not what prayer is. This is only a call for hiding our guilt and a call for enemy (our own). Then is the correct way of praying a prayer of gratitude only? How do we deal with our internal desires? If our only goal is knowing God, how do I pray? Should I be in silence? Praying with others is then both looking to God? How do I deal with wishful thinking?
A: This beautiful scribed piece, The Song of Prayer, came in response to the way in which students of A Course in Miracles were using the Course. Many students thought that the Course was telling them to ask Jesus or the Holy Spirit to heal their bodies, fix things, solve problems in the world, and get them what they wanted. So Jesus teaches us in The Song of Prayer what true prayer is. He tells us, first, that it is not wrong to ask for material things; and in fact, as long as we think we are individuals living in the world, we cannot avoid praying that way (1.I.2:3). Prayer, he says, is like a ladder that we are climbing, and as we make our way up, our prayer will take a different form, because our needs will change. We will have less and less guilt as we practice forgiveness, and “without guilt there is no scarcity. The sinless have no needs” (1.I.3:5,6). Thus, at the top of the ladder — when we are advanced teachers of God — we will not experience lack of any kind, we will not perceive separation, and therefore our prayer will be just a song of gratitude. But that is at the top of the ladder.
On the lower rungs of the ladder, we experience all kinds of needs and desires. That is normal. We need to be gentle about that and not deny them. If we are honest, and we acknowledge that they are coming from a faulty perception of ourselves, we will not be held back by them. Asking for specifics is not wrong; and feeling guilty about the fact that we have needs and desires is never helpful, nor is fighting against them. We need only say “That is where I am right now; and when I am less fearful, I will allow more love to come in, and I will not experience lack or scarcity.” It is so important to remember that this is not a course in sacrifice or asceticism. This is a slow process, a gentle one, and we do not jump from the bottom of the ladder right up to the top. There are many steps in between, and if we are doing the best we can wherever we are, nothing more is ever asked of us. As we practice forgiveness, the form of our prayer will change of itself.
Our prayer on the lower rungs is always to ourselves, that we would ask the help of Jesus or the Holy Spirit to look gently and without judgment at our ego thoughts, and to see our interests as shared with everyone else’s. When we have “enemies,” we have already seen our interests as separate from, and in conflict with, others. That is when we need to ask for help to have our own minds be healed through forgiveness. When our need to have an enemy is recognized and then healed, we will have advanced closer to our true state of oneness, and then praying with someone will simply be a joyous acknowledgment of our Oneness as Christ, and the Oneness of Christ and God. Asking-out-of-need will no longer have any meaning.