ACIM Reading for November 14
The Song of Prayer
1.- IV. Praying With Others1. Until the second level at least begins, one cannot share in prayer. For until that point, each one must ask for different things. 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. Enemies do not share a goal. It is in this their enmity is kept. Their separate wishes are their arsenals; their fortresses in hate. The key to rising further still in prayer lies in this simple thought; this change of mind:
We go together, you and I.
2. Now it is possible to help in prayer, and so reach up yourself. This step begins the quicker ascent, but there are still many lessons to learn. The way is open, and hope is justified. 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. Even together you may ask for things, and thus set up but an illusion of a goal you share. You may ask together for specifics, and not realize that you are asking for effects without the cause. And this you cannot have. For no one can receive effects alone, asking a cause from which they do not come to offer them to him.
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. From this Cause only can the answer come in which are all specifics satisfied; all separate wishes unified in one. Prayer for specifics always asks to have the past repeated in some way. 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. 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. What prayer can offer now so far exceeds all that you asked before that it is pitiful to be content with less.
4. You have chosen a newborn chance each time you pray. And would you stifle and imprison it in ancient prisons, when the chance has come to free yourself from all of them at once? Do not restrict your asking. Prayer can bring the peace of God. 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
In me salvation’s means and end are one.
In me, God’s holy Son, are reconciled all parts of Heaven’s plan to save the world. What could conflict, when all the parts have but one purpose and one aim? How could there be a single part that stands alone, or one of more or less importance than the rest? I am the means by which God’s Son is saved, because salvation’s purpose is to find the sinlelessness that God has placed in me. I was created as the thing I seek. I am the goal the world is searching for. I am God’s Son, His one eternal Love. I am salvation’s means and end as well.
Let me today, my Father, take the role You offer me in Your request that I accept Atonement for myself. For thus does what is thereby reconciled in me become as surely reconciled to You.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #96: Is praying for others beneficial to them? If so, what is the best and most helpful way to pray for others — ones in difficult times and those in happy times — our loved ones (those here and those who have passed on) and our “enemies” — those we know and those we don’t know in our community, our country and our world — or should we pray for others at all?
A: A Course in Miracles does not ask us to pray for others in the usual sense, but rather to release our brothers from all our judgments of them, including the fact that we think they are in need of our prayers. We are told that our only function is forgiveness: “Salvation of the world depends on you who can forgive. Such is your function here” (W.p.I.186.14:5,6). The prayer the Course calls us to then, is forgiveness “…the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness, because those who have been forgiven have everything. Once forgiveness has been accepted, prayer in the usual sense becomes utterly meaningless. The prayer for forgiveness is nothing more than a request that you may be able to recognize what you already have” (T.3.V.6:3,4,5). What we have, along with everybody else, is the identity God gave us as His innocent Son; an identity that has no opposite. Recognition of this identity in ourselves and in all our brothers, with no exclusion of distinction, is our prayer for them. Only this is truly beneficial to others, as well as to ourselves, and it applies to all persons in all situations.
Since all forgiveness is ultimately for ourselves for having misperceived, so all prayer is for ourselves: “Let it never be forgotten that prayer at any level is always for yourself. If you unite with anyone in prayer, you make him part of you. The enemy is you, as is the Christ. Before it can become holy, then, prayer becomes a choice. You do not choose for another. You can but choose for yourself. Pray truly for your enemies, for herein lies your own salvation. Forgive them for your sins, and you will be forgiven indeed” (S.1.II.6:1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8). Forgiveness is not only our only function but our only need, and this is true for everyone. This is the prayer we may offer each time we think we see someone “in need of our prayers” or in need of anything: “Let me know this brother as I know myself” (T.5.in 3:8). When we encounter someone we think is in need of our prayer, our response is first to ask that our perception be corrected to perceive the person truly, so that we can be an example of one who has accepted the Holy Spirit’s perception in our own mind. Thus we appeal to the power of the person’s mind to choose the corrected perception himself. If we practice with sincerity we will come to know ourselves and everyone as sinless, whole, and healed of all misperceptions. No one could ask for or need anything else.