Now that we are in Part II, where our practice is meant to deepen, a significant part of that deepening is using the prayers—praying the prayers. If you really do this, every day, my experience is that you will find yourself slowly developing a new and wonderful sense of relationship with God, one that will become one of the great treasures of your life.
Here is how I pray these prayers:
- I fix one sentence at a time in my mind, then close my eyes.
- Then I repeat the sentence in my mind.
- I consciously say it to God, expecting Him to hear, realizing that He is right here.
- I try to really mean it, suspending my disbelief
- I usually go through the same prayer a few times, trying to get more deeply into it each time.
When you pray the prayers in this way, they become far more meaningful, for they are written to be prayed, not just for any conceptual content they may convey. If you read them for their conceptual content, they will probably feel empty. If you pray them, they may well change your life.
Let me go through the prayer for this lesson-225—and show you what I mean:
Father, I must return Your Love for me, for giving and receiving are the same, and You have given all Your Love to me.
Imagine saying to someone you know, "You have given all your love to me." That's quite a statement. It's an immeasurably greater statement, a colossal statement, when said to God, as we do here. When you say this to God, try to have the boldness to really mean it.
Do you see the logic of this sentence? If God has given all His Love to you, and if giving is receiving, then He must then receive that Love back. Having given so fully, it's only logical that He receives. And why wouldn't you return His Love? When you receive genuine, selfless love, with no strings attached, you naturally return it. You don't need to be forced to do so; the love itself compels you to respond in kind.
This brings out a key point. We are not being asked to love God in a vacuum. We are not being asked to venture uncertainly across the dance floor to ask Him to join us. He has already crossed the dance floor and is standing in front of us, with hand outstretched. He loved us first; we only need to return that love.
I must return it, for I want it mine in full awareness,
Now the same law, that giving is receiving, operates the other way. In the first line, it meant that God must have His Love returned to Him. In this second line, it means that if you give it to Him, you will receive it in greater fullness. It will be yours "in full awareness." This, then, gives us a powerful motivation to return God's Love, for who wouldn't want the infinite Love of God to be theirs "in full awareness"?
blazing in my mind and keeping it within its kindly light, inviolate, beloved,
I've broken this sentence into pieces because it's so long that it's easy to get lost in. Specifically, it is very easy to lose sight of what is being kept within the kindly light of what, and what is therefore inviolate and beloved. So let's spell all that out. The line means, "I want Your Love blazing in my mind, and keeping my mind within the kindly light of Your Love, keeping my mind inviolate, beloved."
If you followed all that, you can see that it's painting an incredibly desirable picture of having God's Love in full awareness. It means the light of that Love is blazing like a radiant sun in the sky of your mind, and keeping your mind safely enfolded within that kindly light, so that your mind is immune to damage, with its only experience being that of feeling "beloved." Again, who wouldn't want that experience?
with fear behind and only peace ahead.
While we are wrapped in the kindly, blazing light of God's Love, feeling both completely immune and absolutely beloved, we realize that all fear is behind us. It's all a thing of the past. All the rocks and thorns are on the road behind, while the road ahead is nothing but peace and calm. Can you imagine what it would be like if you really felt that way? Try to imagine that as you say this line. To enhance the effect, you might even try breathing a big sigh of relief.
How still the way Your loving Son is led along to You!
If you understood that last phrase—"with fear behind and only peace ahead"—this final sentence will make perfect sense. We are not just talking about a brief experience of God's Love. We are talking about it as the defining characteristic of our journey from here on out. Wrapped in the arms of that Love, inviolate and beloved, we will experience the rest of our journey as filled with peace and stillness, as God leads us into His everlasting Arms, to rest in His Love forever. What an incredibly happy thing that would be. To reflect that, when you repeat this line, try to say it happily, with that exclamation mark at the end.
In summary, then, God has given all of His Love to us. It is therefore only natural and right for Him to receive that Love back from us, for us to love Him in return. If we do, we fulfill the law of love, that giving and receiving are the same. And if we do, that same law means we receive His Love in even greater awareness. It will then become the defining experience of the rest of our journey home. Wrapped in its arms, we will feel like all fear and hurt are thankfully behind us, for we are now inviolate. And we will feel enfolded in peace and stillness, for we are now utterly beloved. And this will be how we journey home, where we will spend eternity in God's everlasting Arms. Given all this, why on earth wouldn't we love Him back?