Lesson 364: Faith and Belief and How Prayers Get Answered

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The year is quickly coming to a close and with it these lesson reviews.  I am grateful to have had these daily reviews, with reminders of what I was/am learning.  Not surprisingly, today’s focus was reflected in two conversations I had yesterday – about how prayers are always answered but sometimes we (I) fail to notice because I am no conscious of what it was exactly that I’d prayed for.  God always answers the prayers of the heart, which is a fancy way of saying that you can’t really expect to receive that which you doubt is possible.  We are constantly speaking our words and affirming the opposite of what we say we want.  I say I want to lose weight, but then don’t act that way, and find myself defending my fatness.  I say I want a robust bank account but then slip into laziness and fail to follow through the way I “should.”  Today’s lesson Lesson 364 This holy instant would I give to You. Be You in charge. For I would follow You, certain that Your direction gives me peace,” is the fourth day of repeating this mantra.  It asks us to go deeper.  To surrender to all the goodness our Father would have us experience.  Ego wants to tell us that we won’t get what we want if we allow ourselves to be bossed around, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  It is only by being in harmony with the Divine Essence that envelops us that we finally realize the peace and love that was always ours.  It is our beliefs that determine our experiences.  Part of the “reason” for doing these lessons, for meditating, for stepping back allowing ourselves to be led by Spirit is to wake up to the beauty that surrounds us always.  When we (as in the small self, aka ego) stop trying to be in charge, bliss happens because God knows so much better than our small selves.  It takes faith.  It takes practice.  It takes surrender.

Today’s lesson, from last January’s writing:

Lesson 364, A Course in Miracles


It is the fourth day of these final Course in Miracles’ lessons and the part of me that wants to go into shame over last year’s slacking is rearing its ugly head.  Daily now, I go and check what it is I wrote a year ago for the “proper” lesson of the day (in this case, lesson 9).  Sometimes I can tell I had a hard time getting into it.  Other times, I’m amazing at what a clear channel I was for Spirit.  Tonight, I begin teaching my Power of Your Word class at church and so my mind is filled with contemplation about faith and belief and how prayers get answered.  Reading through my old daily lessons, I can see that I have made great strides in some ways and in others I am still struggling.  Ironically, I know that those prayers that remain unanswered (not really possible, FYI) are those that I don’t fully believe are possible.  It is my lack of faith, not God’s inability to hear my prayer that is the issue.  99% of the time, when I feel like my prayer is still unanswered it is because I have failed to believe in the possibility that what I want is something I could actually get.  It’s my inability to see how that is the “problem.”

How is none of my business.  I “know” this, but apparently, I still need to work on embodying it, which may be why I’m teaching the class.

So, I continue with these final lessons, even though there is a part of my brain that screams, “Hey, stupid” (that section of my brain is pretty disrespectful!), “You already did this lesson!”   I am learning to embody it.

The lesson:

Lesson 364

This holy instant would I give to You. 
Be You in charge. For I would follow You,
Certain that Your direction gives me peace.

And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son.


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


This is a prayer of faith, of trusting that God has it covered, “And if I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request.”

At issue here are the things I try to hold onto for myself.  You’d think I’d know better but you would be wrong – there are parts of my life that I forget to fully hand over because ego is in the background telling me that I need to handle this one myself.  It wants to control the important stuff.

Fucking idiot ego.  The really big things, the things that I so, so need to relinquish and allow God to be in charge of, are the things I try to hold on to.

Really!  Really!!!!

Prayers are always answered.  Now, I am sure there are some folks that would argue with me about that but one of the things I love about being a Religious Scientist is that you learn that the Universe/God/Spirit/Insert-Here-Whatever-Name-Floats-Your-Boat always says yes.  It is Law.  It’s a spiritual principle – that which is One cannot oppose itself, so it judges not – it just says yes.  But it does so in accordance to our beliefs.  Belief is what determines the limits (in the “dream”); it’s not God evaluating the merit of the prayers.  It’s sort of a twisted truth, but we are our own jail keepers.  Prayers are always answered, but if we are in the background defending our limitations, well, God says yes to that, too.

Here’s the thing – we are allowed to create illlusions.  We still remain God’s One Son, pure and innocent, loved and loving and nothing that is of this world that seems to contradict that can actually change anything, but we are entitled to experience whatever illusion we desire.  Only the love is real, but we are free to entrench ourselves in drama if we prefer.

That’s the piece I think most of us have a hard time wrapping our heads around because we’ve judged, and we judge ourselves and each other harshly.  But the Course says, ”2 It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot. In giving up judgment, he is merely giving up what he did not have. He gives up an illusion; or better, he has an illusion of giving up. He has actually merely become more honest. Recognizing that judgment was always impossible for him, he no longer attempts it. This is no sacrifice. On the contrary, he puts himself in a position where judgment through him rather than by him can occur. And this judgment is neither “good” nor “bad.” It is the only judgment there is, and it is only one: “God’s Son is guiltless, and sin does not exist.”

We can’t really judge because to think we can is an illusion, and it is not one that will foster great experiences.  Judging is allowing the ego to lead.

The reason many of us don’t get our prayers answered is that we don’t ask for what we want.  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.

You see, God knows our hearts, so if we don’t believe in the possibility of what we are asking for because we can’t see the how, we are, in effect praying against ourselves.  The Course says,

“When you refuse to ask, it is because you believe that asking is taking rather than sharing.”

“This is not a course in the play of ideas, but in their practical application. Nothing could be more specific than to be told that if you ask you will receive. The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific. His answer is both many and one, as long as you believe that the One is many. You may be afraid of His specificity, for fear of what you think it will demand of you. Yet only by asking will you learn that nothing of God demands anything of you. God gives; He does not take. When you refuse to ask, it is because you believe that asking is taking rather than sharing.”

So today, as I repeat my lesson, I remind myself that if I want to be a teacher of God, I must not make my own decisions.  I must acquiesce to Him who knows better than my small self.  The Manual for Teachers says, “As the teacher of God advances in his training, he learns one lesson with increasing thoroughness. He does not make his own decisions; he asks his Teacher for His answer, and it is this he follows as his guide for action. This becomes easier and easier, as the teacher of God learns to give up his own judgment. The giving up of judgment, the obvious prerequisite for hearing God’s Voice, is usually a fairly slow process, not because it is difficult, but because it is apt to be perceived as personally insulting.”

I give up judgment.  I don’t think it’s personally insulting to do so, because I want my prayers answered.  And I do not know what anything is for.

Namaste, my friends, Namaste





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