Lesson 358: What You Ask for You Receive: Practicing Gratitude

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Ask and you shall receive.  On this Christmas Eve it seems fitting that this is today’s lesson and although this post was written last January, it is nonetheless relevant.  Today’s ACIM lesson, #358, says, “No call to God can be unheard nor left unanswered. And of this I can be sure; His answer is the one I really want.” It is the reminder that it is the prayer of the heart that is always answered, and that even when we don’t have our own best interests at heart, God does.

Today’s lesson:

lesson 358, ACIM. No call to God can be unheard nor left Unanswered. And of this I can be sure; His answer is the one I really want.

Call to God

“Ask and you shall receive;”  we are taught that, but how often do we refrain from asking because we are afraid?  No call to God can be unheard, but you have to call!  As the observer within me becomes more practiced and I notice what my small self (ego) is up to, I am frequently appalled as how often I fail to open my mouth.  It’s like there is some little kid inside who is scared I’ll get beat up if I reveal my desires, so I don’t ask for what I really want.  BTW, that little kid is also an ingrate. I’ve been noticing lately that sometimes the shithead keeps her mouth closed when the voice within is prompting, “Say thank you.”  I am attributing this last little quirky thing to that twisted notion that a lot of us (me anyway!) have that you should be genuine and feel grateful when you say thank you.  I need to work on my gratitude.  If you want the thrill, you have to be willing to get on the ride.  Just saying.

[Notice how in love I am with making up a story about that?]


I suspect these two things, gratitude and the willingness to ask, are connected (well, everything is connected, so there is that!). Just last night I was discussing the perfection of being “behind” in my lessons; how they always seem like the perfect fit for that  day.  Yet even while I spoke of it, instead of feeling grateful, I felt ashamed (another form of fear).  Part of my consciousness was going ballistic and this morning, I found myself yearning to be on lesson 3, rather than dealing with remnants of last year’s failure to stay on track.

Just another opportunity for forgiveness, to let myself off the hook for not doing it “right.”

Shift gears.  Instead, I say, “thank you.”  Thank you for giving me just what I need.  Thank you for showing me what a shithead I have been.  Thank you for making me sinless so it doesn’t matter what stupid story I am making up about the past.  Thank you for reminding that if I want to get what I want, I need to ask for it.  Thank you for reminding me that You, Lord, know my needs and desires better than I know them myself. Thank you that, “God’s will for me is perfect happiness.”  Thank you that Lesson 3 is I do not understand anything I see.

Yes, indeed, this is quite definitely another opportunity for forgiveness.

Here’s today’s lesson (the lesson I’d have done just before Christmas if I hadn’t allowed myself to get derailed)  (Forgiveness, Nanc, forgiveness):

Lesson 358

No call to God can be unheard nor left 
Unanswered. And of this I can be sure;
His answer is the one I really want.

You Who remember what I really am alone remember what I really want. You speak for God, and so You speak for me. And what You give me comes from God Himself. Your Voice, my Father, then is mine as well, and all I want is what You offer me, in just the form You choose that it be mine. Let me remember all I do not know, and let my voice be still, remembering. But let me not forget Your Love and care, keeping Your promise to Your Son in my awareness always. Let me not forget myself is nothing, but my Self is all.

© Foundation for Inner Peace • PO Box 598 • Mill Valley, CA  94942-0598


The Bible says, “And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)  See there is the rub for most of us, at least that’s what I suspect.  I can really only speak for myself, but I know that it’s the believing part that gets in the way.  I don’t ask because I am afraid and I am afraid because I know that there is a little part of me that believes I can’t get what I want.  It’s ego.  It’s the part that insist that God’s answer is not my answer.  It’s the part that thinks it knows better than God.

It’s arrogance.

Fuck!  Once again, I think I have come so far only to realize I’m not nearly as far along as I had hoped.  Perhaps I need to reread Das Energi,  Paul Williams understood these things. He said, ““All life, day to day and century to century, is a succession of pride and humility, humility leading to greater awareness, greater awareness leading to greater achievement, greater achievement leading to pride, pride breeding blindness, lack of awareness, imbalance, downfall, and a slow return to humility…”

Das Energi is a book that opens with the line, “The only sin is self-hatred.”  The guy was frickin’ brilliant (follow the link, you can read the whole thing).

These final ACIM lessons are prayers.  They are folding truth into our hearts – the truth that my will and God’s will are one; the truth that life is this unlimited blessing, there for the asking.

But I must get over being afraid to ask. The Manual for Teachers says,  “Strictly speaking, words play no part at all in healing. The motivating factor is prayer, or asking. What you ask for you receive. But this refers to the prayer of the heart, not to the words you use in praying. Sometimes the words and the prayer are contradictory; sometimes they agree. It does not matter. God does not understand words, for they were made by separated minds to keep them in the illusion of separation. Words can be helpful, particularly for the beginner, in helping concentration and facilitating the exclusion, or at least the control, of extraneous thoughts. Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality.”

“What you ask for you receive.”

We are asking all of the time.  With our attitudes, with our emotions.  Every word is a prayer but when there is a discrepancy between words and feelings, feelings wins.

Maybe this is why I sometimes hold back when it comes to expressing gratitude because I’m not really feeling it, not fully, not the way I want to.  But that too is ego.  It’s the Groucho Marx thing of “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”

We shoot ourselves in the foot before we begin.  But if you don’t ask the answer is always no, so you have to be willing to ask.

“It is impossible that the prayer of the heart remain unanswered in the perception of the one who asks. If he asks for the impossible, if he wants what does not exist or seeks for illusions in his heart, all this becomes his own. The power of his decision offers it to him as he requests. Herein lie hell and Heaven. The sleeping Son of God has but this power left to him. It is enough. His words do not matter. Only the Word of God has any meaning, because it symbolizes that which has no human symbols at all. The Holy Spirit alone understands what this Word stands for. And this, too, is enough.”  

As always, it goes back to faith – what do I trust?

What I know (even though I do not know what anything is for!) is that I have to be willing to get over my fear of asking if I am to have the life I really want.  I have to risk failure (or the ego’s perception of failure – remember it knows nothing so it’s not the greatest judge of failure and success) to have a shot at glory.  I have to practice gratitude to make room for the goodness to squeeze its way through.

If I stand in the audacity of asking for what I want, if I practice being grateful for everything that come my way, if I allow that I do not know what anything is for, but that God has it covered, then the whole world can change.

Do I have the courage to speak the words?  Here’s the plan: “I will step back and let Him lead the way.”  If I do this, I will be guided to a life more magnificent than any I could imagine by myself.

I’m grateful.  Sounds like a plan.

Namaste, my friends, Namaste.





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