North Idaho Teaching Mission Group
Questions on Prayer
November 17, 2002
* Lester (Jonathan TR): Greetings to you, this is Lester, taking a shot at first at bat rather than be the one to mop up at the end. I wish to express my take on the grace of God. If I may settle into the manner of your wonderful teacher Elyon, I would like to “metaphorize” this by saying that grace is like grease.
You know, as you have just now uttered your solemn wishes and hopes for ailing friends, that it is this grace that you seek to be bestowed. It is as you know much needed in a world that is so fraught with shortcomings, you may call them diseases or ailments or catastrophes, but from our perspective we’ve learn to see them all as shortcomings. So, it is like your world being a frying pan where the heat has been turned up perhaps a little higher than it ought to have been. Instead of that long, patient simmer some of you feel at times like you are roasting. The grace of God is not placed upon you to put out the heat but rather it greases the pan, and it allows you to spiritually mature, to cook through without burning, to find yourself at the end of your endeavor tasty, delightful, transformed but not seared, dried out, and tasteless.
You know that grease is used also as a means of reducing friction where two parts may wear rapidly were it not for the presence of this lubricant. Again it is the function of the grace of our great God to go between, to stand as that film between you and the abrasive encounter you are experiencing in your life. This lubricant does not isolate you from the calamity or difficulty; it rather modifies you to better engage and to do so without undue damage.
Perhaps the greatest inspiration we can derive from Michael’s life on this little world was the manner in which he faced his crucifixion. He allowed the grace of his divine Parent to be that lubricant to sustain him when life’s tribulations grew too large for one single human being to handle. He did not ask for a back door exit; he simply asked for strength and courage to pursue the Father’s will in spite of all episodes ahead of him, what they may bring, and the impact upon his life.
I will take one more minute and enter my plea and prodding for you to practice your stillness. The daytime of your short life on earth is as intense as your noontime summer sun, for this world is rather topsy-turvy in many ways. So, stillness becomes your sun screen that you must put on to anoint yourself in this grace of God that you can then not shrink from the sun but rather boldly face the intensity and accomplish the will of the Father in your life and for this world. Thank you.
* Elyon: This is Elyon, greetings to you, friends. I am pleased with Lester’s slick presentation, if you catch my drift. I am desirous and would be delighted to converse with you regarding your topic of conversation of collective visualization and so will make my comments as you make yours.
Tom: You first, Elyon.
* Elyon: I would begin by acknowledging the appropriateness of your sensitivity to a shared understanding through a visual technique, or audible or tactile, that encourages each individual mind to meld into a group mindfulness, for this is akin, no, it is exactly the technique that is synergy, that compounding above and beyond the sum of the parts into a more potent whole. While you could express the esoteric quality of mind as always being interconnected, it does the human mind much good to use these aids that you speak of, the visualization or rituals, to focus. Yes, indeed, you may not be creating the link, that collective mindfulness, but you do need to tap in consciously to that existing condition that is the nature of mind.
These practices are much like, for instance, the step to the door of a bus. The bus already contains enough seats for every one of you, however, it can be difficult to climb into that bus, high riding as it is, without that aid of the step. Your attempt to develop a mutually acceptable form to approach your prayerful healing circle provides that step for you to enter into that mindfulness, that family of mercy bestowers, of healers.
Kirk: Sometimes when praying for healing I think that if I were suffering I would like the collective consciousness to push me over to the other side rather than prolong suffering for fear of what the other side is. I think we often pray for healing because we are afraid to push that person to the other side. I would rather have people pray for me to go over and start my morontia career.
* Elyon: You have expressed what has been ingrained in the human mind stream, that sense that death is terminal and must be avoided at all costs. I can assure you, and Lester who stands by my side agrees, that that has been one of the most remarkable experiences of our lives. It truly transforms the soul. It is of great value what you gain in experience while domiciled upon this world. It is an experience, I assure you, unlike what is to follow. However, it is unlike what is to follow, and the morontia career is stupendous, breathtaking, exhilarating and enlightening.
You are correct to not place death in a form of avoidance and finality. The Father does know all and will direct or allow events to unfold as He, indwelling an individual, discerns to be of the best spiritual welfare for that person. In a short interval of time it may appear that one was stopped short, did not gain all that could have been derived on a world like Urantia through an early disease or an unfortunate accident. But these occurrences are one small interval of experience in the long span of eternity, and as important as they are to a human being whose life is rather short and extremely valuable, it is after all one of the most precious possessions you have, your vitality. In a broadened perspective these calamities are no worse than a child’s scraped knee or cut finger, but at the time was so traumatic. As the child soon learns as age increases that these injuries, while they must be reckoned with, are not as fear intensifying or as dramatic as they once were, you apply the techniques you know to allow the healing to proceed, and you recover. Soon with age your nicks and scrapes are noticed, tended to, and you proceed on with little upset to your well- being. In a few millennia you will better see how disease and death are quite similar, particularly in how they are dealt with as the little child’s injury on the playground.
I would never discourage you from the expression of hope and for your faith reliance upon God to enter in to your needs and desires and to provide remedy as you wish it to unfold. Yet it is wisdom that brings to one’s mind the understanding you express, that perhaps a disease or condition may not be suffered to the bitter end, that in a way as you have expressed, does the prayer become like your medical machinery that keeps people alive when the suffering would cease if they were allowed to transpire? This is the secret of the potency of the prayer, “Not my will but Your will be done.” Many times a human being has lost faith because in their earnest prayer for the recovery of a friend the friend passed on, and bitterness towards God resulted. They prayed that their friend become better, and they perceived death to be worse. Yet the prayer was answered; that soul transcended that physical form. I would not ever advise you to pray for the hasty death of a fellow, but it is good to context your supplications for relief of another who ails with the understanding that a full healing and recovery in physical form would be beautiful and magnificent, but the translation into the higher realms of morontia living would be likewise and even more so beautiful and magnificent. Remember that prayer is as much a method for your own reflection and growth as it is a supplication of need whether for self or others and that as you long for help for another it enlarges your grasp of the context of this trouble.
You indicate in your question the sensitivity to this awareness of the bigger perspective. As you pray earnestly and with hope for another’s recovery you also enlarge your spiritual consciousness, the cosmic context. This will become a possession of yours that you will retain long after any particular episode that you request healing has been concluded.
Evelyn: The rules for effective praying in The Urantia Book indicate that you ought to exhaust all the avenues of applying your own efforts towards accomplishing something before resorting to praying for divine assistance. Yet we all experience what seem to be answers to prayers when we don’t feel like we have anywhere near exhausted what we could have done to make it come about. Would you care to comment?
* Elyon: These conditions you speak of were presented to you by revelators whose intent was to further deepen in the minds of human beings your participation, your engagement, in the answer to prayer as well as refining the quality of your petitions in prayer.
Far too long it has been that the human mind set around the world is that you are like a spectator in the stadium cheering on the team to make the goal while not a player yourself. Yes, it is true that the cheers of the fan can bolster the energies and efforts of a player and cause great performance and goal attainment. These are the prayers you speak of where you feel you have done little of your own resources to bring answer to prayer. But for you who have engaged in the play of sport know, the thrill of carrying the ball yourself to the goal is far greater than cheering from the stands. By applying these prayer conditions you speak of you are jumping out of the stands and onto the field.
There is no order that you must approach these conditions. There is no requirement that you must absolutely fulfill them prior. It is more that you begin the application of the actions that these conditions promote. The answer to the prayer will be forthcoming. Again it is like the game. When the ball is hiked the quarterback is looking for the player running down to whom he may throw that ball. If a fan in the stands were to shout, “Throw it here!” do you think the quarterback would do that? But if the player down field were to call for help the quarterback would unhesitatingly discharge that ball into the keeping of that player. Not to be unfair to the fan, the fan who says, “There is the player who’s in the open! Throw it! Throw it!” will be heard by the quarterback. Prayer of a passive nature is good. Active prayer, prayer wherein you get on the field and participate in the answer to the petition, brings not only the fulfillment of the petition, the answer to the prayer, but likewise, as I illustrated in talking with Kirk, it brings larger contexts, lessons not to be directly connected to the specific request. Other peripheral spiritual values and meanings are derived.
Has this been helpful?
Evelyn: Yes. Instead of a right and a wrong way, there’s a good and a better way. Any prayer is good; then there are those even better, more benefitting all. If you’re praying for someone’s pain to be relieved and the pain is relieved, that person derives the benefit. But if you engage yourself in doing what you can to relieve that pain then you also derive some benefit for having gone through the experience, as well as the person being relieved of the pain.
* Elyon: Yes.
Tom: That’s what we are endeavoring to do in our healing circle, change it from passive into a more active form of prayer. That’s the benefit of adding as many senses as you can.
* Elyon: This is true. And you know, for I discern the spiritual maturity of each of you, that it is additionally helpful when praying for another that you also, for instance, visit the bedside, for these actions are part of the healing. But you are also developing the sensitivity to those conditions of healing that engage agencies such as the midway cousins and the angels who can work with the circuits and cause the manifestation of the divine healing energy to appear in that particular individual.
The universe is a like a team, and teamwork accomplishes the desires of the players. The Father can directly bless, heal, grace, any individual. As I have stated there are peripheral experiences to any action of this nature. Rather than doing so of Himself, He does through His Son and His Spirit and all the agencies derived therefrom, and each one of us is blessed with His grace in the transference of His energy to another.
I have expressed in years past the triad of worship that entails faith, focus, and feeling. Your prayer circle is engaging the dynamics of this arrangement. You have begun, initiated, your prayer circle prior to inviting myself and others into your discussions because of faith and because of your compassion for your fellows, and for your desire that many be comforted when ailing. This is the feeling element. Now you seek for focus, how to develop a group concentration that will intensify what is essentially a worshipful experience, for you are relying upon the divine to distribute the healing through whatever agency is deemed best. This act of reliance upon God is an act of worship, the acknowledgment of Almighty power, of all- knowingness, of divine compassion. I will offer one method you may use. I do not offer it as a technique to bring healing; I offer it as a technique to establish group focus.
This group tends to sit facing one another in a circle, and this allows for you to physically focus inward toward each other. So, it is appropriate to being your collective focus something in the middle of your circle. I offer that you visualize the appearance of divine spirit, be it Michael, Mother Spirit, however you wish to define the presence. See it at first not present and then ever so small, beginning to emerge from nothing into view. Small, white, energized, sparkling, crackling, powerful, enlarging until each of you clearly sees this presence. This is the beginning of the focus. But I encourage you to not simply allow that presence to hover centered between you all but to let it grow until the perimeter of this sphere of divinity encompasses you and shrouds you from your backside. This technique stimulates the feeling of being together.
You have mentioned the difficulty of holding hands from the standpoint of physical discomfort for long periods. By visualizing this light energy entirely surrounding you all you have created a hand-holding condition on the level of the mind. Now, rather than being discreet individuals praying and hoping, you are a unified body encased in the divine light, encircuited and energized.
Out of that center where that divine presence emerged at the beginning of your focus, you place the one you are praying for at the very coordinates you perceive the emergence of divinity, and let that be where you seek to bring healing to. Undergo that same expansion. Transform from nothing -- in this case the condition of ailment, the absence of health -- and expand, become energized, illuminated, glowing with the warmth of spiritual healing, mental calm, and physical well-being. Likewise let that individual’s presence expand to surround you all so that individual merges into the feeling of the presence of Father. In a sense in this manner of visualization you have placed the individual of whom you were praying into the care of the Father, and that is faith.
You are under no obligation to undertake this method I present. I offer it as a friend not as an assignment.
Kirk: Has a circumstance ever come up where a group or individual is praying for someone suffering who is going to die anyway or that it’s the will of that person to go on, does it ever prolong their suffering?
* Elyon: Prayer by nature is unable to bring harm. The will of the Father prevails. If an individual, even though sincerely and earnestly is praying for an outcome that is not the will of the Father, it will not condition the timing, the sequence of events, to fulfill His will. Be not concerned that you may interfere with the rightful unfolding of events. Do know that the Father understands every creature, and that you can and ought to pray what you truly believe and hope for, that you will not bring damage or undue hardship, only that you will acquire greater wisdom as time unfolds.
Recall the episode of Lazarus and how Jesus said that this was “not to the death”. Lazarus had been dead for days. If it was the master’s desire to demonstrate the source of his divinity through the resurrection of Lazarus, would not one consider it undue hardship for this fellow to have gone through such an excruciating disease, death, and -- within a culture that distanced itself from things dead -- to have to emerge from a grave before strangers? There are many times in the human life when the implications and the deep meanings are not fully understood. The one who wished to have Jesus heal before death, that prayer went unanswered. Yet the outcome benefitted many for centuries to come. Pray as you are moved to and welcome the answer of spirit.
My friends, the time goes on and I would release you from my engagement. We could continue to talk until the dawn of the next age, however, it may not promote much understanding if the mind grows tired and the body would like Mexican food! Farewell.