The prayer for this lesson is one of my favorite prayers in the Workbook, so I'd like to go through it line by line:
This day, my Father, would I spend with You, as You have chosen all my days should be.
Spending the day with someone who means a lot to us can be one of the greatest joys in life. If the person really matters to us, it doesn't much matter what we do together. Just being together, just having the opportunity to spend the day together, is enough.
Can we do that with God? Do we have permission to actually spend the day with Him? We tend to have around very important people a mentality of limited access, or no access. At best, we think, we might get a brief audience. They have better things to do than hang out all day with little people like us.
Can it be, then, that God Himself will really spend an entire day with us? Actually, as this first line makes clear, He wants to spend every day with us: "as You have chosen all my days should be." So we don't just have permission today; we have permission every day. You could say that every morning we receive a gold-lettered invitation from God: "Will you spend today with Me?"
And what I will experience is not of time at all. The joy that comes to me is not of days nor hours, for it comes from Heaven to Your Son.
We typically think of joy as coming from positive events. We experience ourselves as creatures of time, swept along by time's rough stream. Usually, our experience is all about what that current does to us. Does it dash us against the rocks? Or does it let us float along easily, in a warm current with companions and food floating next to us? Of course, our hopes are all about the joys of the latter. But those joys are so fleeting, so superficial, and so surrounded by fears of the former, that joy hardly enters into the picture.
That is why it's such a great thing to be able to say, "And what I will experience is not of time at all." I'll be lifted out of that cruel stream. My joy won't be "of days nor hours"—won't be about the happenings of the moment. Instead, my joy "comes from Heaven." Indeed, it "comes from Heaven to Your Son"; and since God's Son is in Heaven, the joy I experience today takes place entirely above the stream of time. It's like joy passed from the sun to the moon.
Imagine, then, the day this prayer describes. I spend the day with God, not as a fleeting privilege, but as an example of how "all my days should be." And while I do, the stream of time flows past without a sound, leaving me untouched. I don't need to wring happiness out of the damp laundry of the day. And I don't need to worry about all that might go wrong. For in my mind, I am not in the stream of time. Rather, I am lifted high above it, at rest with my Father, while all the joy He has stored up for me rolls like an ocean to me, His beloved Son.
This idea of basking in the joy of Heaven even while we seem to be in the stream of time reminds me of a poem by Wordsworth, in which, though we are far inland, we "can in a moment travel" to the immortal sea:
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,
Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.
(from "Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood")
This description from earlier in the Workbook also comes to mind. Imagine that the following day was an apt description of your day today:
This is a day of silence and of trust. It is a special time of promise in your calendar of days. It is a time Heaven has set apart to shine upon, and cast a timeless light upon this day, when echoes of eternity are heard. This day is holy, for it ushers in a new experience; a different kind of feeling and awareness. You have spent long days and nights in celebrating death. Today you learn to feel the joy of life (W-pI.157:1).
This day will be Your sweet reminder to remember You, Your gracious calling to Your holy Son, the sign Your grace has come to me, and that it is Your Will I be set free today.
It's easy to brush over this last sentence, which is a long one, but it's important. I find it helpful to separate out and carefully focus on each of its four parts.
What does it mean to say, "This day will be Your sweet reminder to remember You?" To speak of "remembering God" is a Course way of talking about our final awakening to Him. So this line means, "Today will be such a joyous taste of being home with You that it will remind me to go all the way home."
What does it mean to say that today will be "Your gracious calling to Your holy Son?" What is the day calling God's Son to? In light of the previous part, it must be calling God's Son to be with Him, to come home to Him. And how is today a "calling" or a "gracious calling"? How is the day itself a call I think we need to read this the same way we read the first part. The day calls us home to God by giving us a joy that is a taste of home, a joy that simultaneously says, "There is way more where this came from. This is just a taster."
What does it mean to say that today will be "the sign Your grace has come to me"? Again, we need to see today as a lesser pointing to a greater. The joy we experience today will be the (lesser) sign that God's (greater) grace is surfacing in our minds, ready to sweep us into Heaven.
What does it mean to say that today will be the sign "that it is Your Will I be set free today"? Again, it's an example of the lesser pointing to the greater. The liberation we can accept today will be a sign that God wants to totally liberate us, right now. He wants to set us free from time itself. The impediment does not lay in His Will but in our willingness.
So in all four cases, today is a lesser that points to a greater. Its lesser joy is a "sweet reminder" that we really want the greater joy of Heaven; it calls us to claim that greater joy as ours. The joy that we can accept today is a sign that God's grace is here, wanting to give us all joy, eternal joy, right now.
The first two parts of this sentence, in other words, say, "I love this day with You so much that it's a sweet reminder, a gracious calling, to be with You completely." And the second two parts say, "The amount I can accept from You today is the sign that You want to give me everything right now."
I strongly recommend that you spend some time memorizing this prayer, and then use it throughout the day. The best way to do that is to have it written down on a card that you can carry around, and then pull that card out each hour, or even more frequently. I would recommend laying it out in this fashion:
This day, my Father, would I spend with You,
as You have chosen all my days should be.
And what I will experience is not of time at all.
The joy that comes to me is not of days nor hours,
for it comes from Heaven to Your Son.
This day will be Your sweet reminder to remember You,
Your gracious calling to Your holy Son,
the sign Your grace has come to me,
and that it is Your Will I be set free today.
Give each line as I've laid it out separate attention. Savor each one. Make sure you speak them all directly to God. And if you do all this, repeatedly throughout the day, you may well just have the very kind of day this prayer describes.
The second paragraph adds to this already incredibly rich picture. Now Jesus joins us in our day with God, and indeed, all the world joins us, and sings with us "our song of thankfulness and joy" to God. Our day becomes us joining our voice to "a song of gratitude and love and praise by everything created to the Source of its creation" (T-26.IV.3:5).
And now we can understand the idea for today: "In fearlessness and love I spend today." If we really had a day like this, we would be completely outside of fear and completely in love. The final sentence puts it better: "There is no room in us for fear today, for we have welcomed love into our hearts."