Worship is the technique of looking to the One for the inspiration of service to the many. Worship is the yardstick which measures the extent of the soul's detachment from the material universe and its simultaneous and secure attachment to the spiritual realities of all creation.
Worship is effortless attention, true and ideal soul rest, a form of restful spiritual exertion. It is the act of the son identifying himself with the Father.
Prayer is entirely a personal and spontaneous expression of the attitude of the soul toward the spirit. The ideal prayer is a form of spiritual communion which leads to intelligent worship. True praying is the sincere attitude of reaching heavenward for the attainment of our ideals.
Prayer is the breath of the soul and should lead us to be persistent in our attempt to ascertain the Father's will. Our persistence, however, is not to win favor with God but to change our earth attitude and to enlarge our soul's capacity for spirit receptivity.
In all praying, remember that sonship is a gift. No child has aught to do with earning the status of son or daughter. The earth child comes into being by the will of its parents. Even so, the child of God comes into grace and the new life of the spirit by the will of the Father in heaven. Therefore must the divine sonship be received as by a little child. We earn righteousness--progressive character development--but we receive sonship by grace and through faith.
The sincerity of any prayer is the assurance of its being heard. They who would receive mercy must show mercy. With the spirit with which we judge others we also shall be judged.
When we have become wholly dedicated to the doing of the will of the Father in heaven, the answer to all our petitions will be forthcoming because our prayers will be in full accordance with the Father's will.
Prayer does not change the divine attitude toward us, but it does change our attitude toward the changeless Father. The motive of the prayer gives it right of way to the divine ear. Avoid praying much for ourself; pray more for the spiritual progress of our brethren. Avoid materialistic praying; pray in the spirit and for the abundance of the gifts of the spirit.
Do not let others hear our personal prayers. Prayers of thanksgiving are appropriate for groups of worshipers, but the prayer of the soul is a personal matter. There is but one form of prayer which is appropriate for all God's children, and that is: "Nevertheless, your will be done."
The prayer for divine guidance over the pathway of earthly life is next in importance to the petition for a knowledge of the Father's will. In reality this means a prayer for divine wisdom.
When we had made our prayers to the Father, we should remain for a time in silent receptivity to afford the indwelling spirit the better opportunity to speak to the listening soul. The spirit of the Father speaks best to us when our mind is in an attitude of true worship. Worship, makes one increasingly like the being who is worshiped.
Our assurance that we have entered into the family of the Father, and that we will eternally survive is wholly a matter of personal experience, faith in the word of truth. Spiritual assurance is the equivalent of our personal religious experience in the eternal realities of divine truth and is otherwise equal to our intelligent understanding of truth realities plus our spiritual faith and minus our honest doubts.
Having been endowed with the living spirit of the Father, we are therefore sons and daughters of God. We survive our life in the material world of the flesh because we are identified with the Father's living spirit, the gift of eternal life. While we cannot observe the divine spirit at work in our minds, there is a practical method of discovering the degree to which we have yielded the control of our soul powers to the teaching and guidance of this indwelling spirit of the heavenly Father, and that is the degree of our love for our fellow men and women. This spirit of the Father partakes of the love of the Father, and as it dominates man, it unfailingly leads in the directions of divine worship and loving regard for one's fellows.
Every earth child who follows the leading of this spirit shall eventually know the will of God, and he who surrenders to the will of our Father shall abide forever. If there exists a true and living connection between the child and the Father, the child is certain to progress continuously toward the Father's ideals. True, the child may at first make slow progress, but the progress is none the less sure. The important thing is not the rapidity of our progress but rather its certainty. Our actual achievement is not so important as the fact that the direction of our progress is Godward. What we are becoming day by day is of infinitely more importance than what we are today.
Better by far to have a small but living and growing faith than to be possessed of a great intellect with its dead stores of worldly wisdom and spiritual unbelief.
Evil is the unconscious or unintended transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Evil is likewise the measure of the imperfectness of obedience to the Father's will.
Sin is the conscious, knowing, and deliberate transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Sin is the measure of our unwillingness to be divinely led and spiritually directed.
We are all too often led into temptation by the urge of our own selfishness and by the impulses of our animal natures. When we are in this way tempted, while we recognize temptation honestly and sincerely for just what it is, we must intelligently redirect the energies of spirit, mind, and body, which are seeking expression, into higher channels and toward more idealistic goals. In this way may we transform our temptations into the highest types of uplifting mortal ministry while we almost wholly avoid these wasteful and weakening conflicts between the animal and spiritual natures.
But be aware of the folly of undertaking to surmount temptation by the effort of supplanting one desire by another and supposedly superior desire through the mere force of the human will. If we would be truly triumphant over the temptations of the lesser and lower nature, we must come to that place of spiritual advantage where we have really and truly developed an actual interest in, and love for, those higher and more idealistic forms of conduct which our mind is desirous of substituting for these lower and less idealistic habits of behavior that we recognize as temptation. We will in this way be delivered through spiritual transformation rather than be increasingly overburdened with the deceptive suppression of mortal desires.
The old and the inferior will be forgotten in the love for the new and the superior. Beauty is always triumphant over ugliness in the hearts of all who are illuminated by the love of truth. There is mighty power in the expulsive energy of a new and sincere spiritual affection. And again, be not overcome by evil but rather overcome evil with good.
Make not the mistake of estimating the soul's worth by the imperfections of the mind or by the appetites of the body. Judge not the soul nor evaluate its destiny by the standard of a single unfortunate human episode. Our spiritual destiny is conditioned only by our spiritual longings and purposes.
Do not become discouraged by the discovery that we are human. Human nature may tend toward evil, but it is not inherently sinful. Be not downcast by our failure wholly to forget some of our regrettable experiences. The mistakes which we fail to forget in time will be forgotten in eternity. Lighten our burdens of soul by speedily acquiring a long-distance view of our destiny, a universe expansion of our career.
God-knowing individuals are not discouraged by misfortune or downcast by disappointment. Believers are immune to the depression consequent upon purely material upheavals; spirit livers are not perturbed by the episodes of the material world. Candidates for eternal life are practitioners of an invigorating and constructive technique for meeting all of the vicissitudes and harassments of mortal living. Every day a true believer lives, he finds it easier to do the right thing.
The measure of the spiritual capacity of the evolving soul is our faith in truth and our love for man, but the measure of our human strength of character is our ability to resist the holding of grudges and our capacity to withstand brooding in the face of deep sorrow. Defeat is the true mirror in which we may honestly view our real self.
Forceful ambition, intelligent judgment, and seasoned wisdom are the essentials of material success. Spiritual destiny is dependent on faith, love, and devotion to truth the wholehearted desire to find God and to be like him.
Iniquity is the willful, determined, and persistent transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Iniquity is the measure of the continued rejection of the Father's loving plan of personality survival.
Evil is inherent in the natural order of this world, but sin is an attitude of conscious rebellion. Any being who in any manner falls short of the divine and spiritual ideals of the eternal Father's will is potentially evil, but such beings are in no sense sinful, much less iniquitous. The presence of evil alone is sufficient test for the ascension of man--sin is not essential to survival.
The Father does not purposely afflict his children. Man brings down upon himself unnecessary affliction as a result of his persistent refusal to walk in the better ways of the divine will. The imperfections and handicaps of evil are inherent; the penalties of sin are inevitable; the destroying consequences of iniquity are inexorable.
It is the Father's will that mortal man should work persistently and consistently toward the betterment of his estate on earth. Intelligent application would enable man to overcome much of his earthly misery.
We should remember that in body and mind--emotionally--men react individually. The only uniform thing about men is the indwelling spirit. Though divine spirits may vary somewhat in the nature and extent of their experience, they react uniformly to all spiritual appeals. Only through, and by appeal to, this spirit can mankind ever attain unity and brotherhood.
Anger is a material manifestation which represents, in a general way, the measure of the failure of the spiritual nature to gain control of the combined intellectual and physical natures. Anger indicates our lack of tolerant brotherly love plus our lack of self-respect and self-control. Anger depletes the health, debases the mind, and handicaps the spirit teacher of man's soul.
Let our hearts be so dominated by love that our spirit guide will have little trouble in delivering us from the tendency to give vent to those outbursts of animal anger which are inconsistent with the status of divine sonship.