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God is Light, and not even the greatest of modern telescopes which reach many millions of miles into space have found the boundaries of light. But we know that unless we have eyes wherewith to perceive the light, and ears which register the vibrations of sound, we walk the earth in eternal darkness and silence; similarly, to perceive the Divine Light which alone can illuminate our spiritual darkness, and to hear the voice of the silence which alone can guide us, we must cultivate our spiritual eyes and ears; and prayer, true, scientific prayer, is one of the most powerful and efficacious methods of finding favor before the face of our Father, and receiving the immersion in spiritual light which alchemically transforms the sinner to the saint and places around him the golden wedding garment of Light, the luminous soul body.
Be not deceived, prayer alone will not do this. Unless our whole life, waking and sleeping, is a prayer for illumination and sanctification, our prayers will never penetrate to the Divine Presence and bring down upon us a baptism of His power. "Pray and Work" is an esoteric injunction which all aspirants must obey or they will meet with scant success. We who are engaged in the so-called secular work of the world and forced to do things that seem sordid, often feel that we are hampered and hindered on that account but if we "do all things as unto the Lord," and are "faithful in a few things," we shall find that in time opportunities will come of which we do not dream.
As the magnetic needle temporarily deflected from the North by outside pressure instantly and eagerly returns to its natural position when the pressure is removed, so must we cultivate that yearning for our Father which will instantly turn our thoughts to Him when our work in the world is done for the day and we are free to follow our own bent. If we do this, the Light of His presence and the sweetness of His voice will teach and cheer us beyond our fondest hopes.
The place of prayers is of very vital importance for a reason not generally known even among students of esotericism; it is this: Every prayer, spoken or unspoken, every song of praise, and every reading of parts of the scriptures which teach or exhort, if done by a properly prepared reader who loves and lives what he reads, brings down upon both the worshiper and the place of worship an outpouring of spirit. Thus in time an invisible church is built around the physical structure which in the cause of a devout congregation becomes so beautiful that it transcends all imagination and defies description. This invisible edifice is not merely lovelier than a fairy palace in a poet's dream; it is a living thing, vibrant with divine power of immense aid to the worshiper, for it helps him in adjusting the tangled vibrations of the world which permeate his aura when he enters a true "House of God" and to get into the proper attitude of prayer. Then it helps him to lift himself in aspiration to the throne of divine grace, and to offer there his praise and adoration which call forth from the Father a new outpouring of the spirit in the loving response: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Such a place of worship is essential to spiritual growth by scientific prayer, and those who are fortunate enough to have access to such a temple should always occupy the same place in it, for that becomes permeated with their individual vibrations and they fit into their environment more easily than anywhere else, consequently they get better results there.
But such places are scarce, for a real sanctuary is required in scientific prayer. No gossip or profane conversation may take place in or near it, for that spoils the vibrations; voices must be hushed and the attitude reverent; each must bear in mind that he stands upon holy ground and act accordingly. Therefore no place open to the general public will answer. Furthermore, the power or prayer increases enormously with each additional worshiper. The increase may be compared to geometrical progression if the worshipers are properly attuned and trained in collective prayer; the very opposite may result if they are not. To be efficacious the participants must be attuned under harmonious horoscopic influences. When a malefic in one nativity is on the ascendant of another, those two cannot profit by praying together; they may rule their stars and live in peace if they are developed souls, but they lack the basic harmony which is absolutely essential in collective prayer. Initiation removes this barrier, but nothing else can.
It is a mystic maxim that "all spiritual development begins with the vital body." This is next in density to our dense body; its keynote is repetition, and it is the vehicle of habits, hence somewhat difficult to change or influence, but once a change has been effected and a habit acquired by repetition, its performance becomes automatic to a certain extent. This characteristic is both good and bad in respect to prayer, for the impression registered in the ethers of this vehicle will impel the aspirant to faithful performance of his devotions at stated times, even though he may have lost interest in the exercise and his prayers are mere forms. If it were not for this habit-forming tendency of the vital body, aspirants would wake up to their danger as soon as the real love began to wane, and it would then be easier to retrieve the loss and keep on the Path. Therefore the aspirant should carefully examine himself from time to time to see if he still has wings and power wherewith to swiftly and surely lift himself to this Father in Heaven. The wings are two in number: Love and Aspiration are their names, and the irresistible power which propels them is intense earnestness. Without these and an intelligent understanding to direct the invocation, prayer is only a babble; properly performed it is the most powerful method of soul growth known.
Invocations for temporal things are black magic; we have the promise: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." The Christ indicated the limit in The Lord's Prayer when He taught His disciples to say: "Give us this day our daily bread." Whether for ourselves or others we must beware of going farther in scientific invocation. But even in praying for spiritual blessings we should beware lest a selfishness develop and destroy our soul growth. All the saints testify to the days of darkness when the divine Lover hides His face and the consequent depression. Then it depends upon the nature and the strength of our affection: Do we love God for Himself, or do we love Him for the delights we experience in the sweet communion with Him? If the latter, our affection is essentially as selfish as the feelings of the multitude which followed Him because He had fed them, and now as then it is necessary for Him to hide from us in such cases, a mark of His tender love and solicitude which should bring us to our knees in shame and remorse. Happy are we if we right the defect in our characters and learn the lesson of unfaltering faithfulness from the magnetic needle, which points to the pole without wavering despite rain or storm clouds that hide its beloved star.
It has been said that we must not pray for temporal things, and that we ought to be careful even in our prayers for spiritual gifts; it is therefore a legitimate question: What then shall be the burden of our invocation? And the answer is, generally, praise and adoration. We must get away from the idea that every time we approach the Father in Heaven we must ask for something. Would it not annoy us if our children were always asking for something from us? We cannot, of course, imagine our Father in heaven being annoyed at our importunities, but neither can we expect Him to grant that which would often do us harm. On the other hand, when we offer thanksgiving and praise we put ourselves in a favorable position to the law of attraction, a receptive state where we may receive a new downpouring of the Spirit of Love and Light, and which thus brings us nearer to our adored ideal.
[You are welcome to e-mail your answers and/or comments to us. Please be sure to include the course name and Independent Study Module number in your e-mail to us. Or, you are also welcome to use the answer form below. (Java required)]
1. What is one of the most efficacious methods of finding favor with God?
2. What is necessary for our prayers to penetrate to the Divine Presence?
3. Why is the place of prayer important?
4. Describe a real sanctuary.
5. What is the danger of the habit-forming tendency of the vital body in regard to prayer?
6. What are the "wings" and the "power" which lift the aspirant to the Father?
7. What should be the nature of our invocation? Why?
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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