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Tue, May 24, 2016
The Way to Pray
By truthbook staff
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This plea, this cry for help, touches the heart; above all, people want to know that God hears their prayers. Urantia Book readers have many assurances about prayer that others do not; see our blog below, where we discuss prayer in The Urantia Book - but first, here's a few opening paragraphs from the featured article, Am I praying 'right'? by Patrick Mabilog"
"When it comes to prayer, believers are always on the lookout for the best way to commune with God and avoid practices that do not build up our relationship with Him. In all circumstances, we must know that our prayers are heard primarily because Jesus has made a way for us to the Father. That truth is the foundational basis upon which we pray.
"Many times in scripture, Jesus condemned pharisees for praying aloud. In Luke 20:46-47, Jesus said, 'Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.' "
"What Jesus really condemns here is a heart that is arrogant, not necessarily a prayer said in front of others. But there are other things we can get confused about when it comes to prayer and whether or not we're 'doing it right'."
Click to read the entire article
Is there a "right" way to pray? What Does The Urantia Book Teach?
Here are some "Prayer is..." statements from our topical study on prayer that features teachings of The Urantia Book:
Prayer is not a technique of escape from conflict but rather a stimulus to growth in the very face of conflict. Pray only for values, not things; for growth, not for gratification. ~ The Urantia Book, (91:8.13)
Genuine prayer... is a spontaneous outburst of God-consciousness. ~ The Urantia Book, (91:8.10)
Prayer is designed to make man less thinking but more realizing; it is not designed to increase knowledge but rather to expand insight. ~ The Urantia Book, (143:7.4)
Prayer is self-reminding—sublime thinking; worship is self-forgetting—superthinking. Worship is effortless attention, true and ideal soul rest, a form of restful spiritual exertion. ~ The Urantia Book, (143:7.7)
Prayer is the breath of the spirit life in the midst of the material civilization of the races of mankind. Worship is salvation for the pleasure-seeking generations of mortals. ~ The Urantia Book, (144:4.7)
Prayer is the sincere and longing look of the child to its spirit Father; it is a psychologic process of exchanging the human will for the divine will. Prayer is a part of the divine plan for making over that which is into that which ought to be. ~ The Urantia Book, (144:4.9)
1. Prayer is an expression of the finite mind in an effort to approach the Infinite. The making of a prayer must, therefore, be limited by the knowledge, wisdom, and attributes of the finite; likewise must the answer be conditioned by the vision, aims, ideals, and prerogatives of the Infinite. There never can be observed an unbroken continuity of material phenomena between the making of a prayer and the reception of the full spiritual answer thereto.
2. When a prayer is apparently unanswered, the delay often betokens a better answer, although one which is for some good reason greatly delayed. When Jesus said that Lazarus's sickness was really not to the death, he had already been dead eleven hours. No sincere prayer is denied an answer except when the superior viewpoint of the spiritual world has devised a better answer, an answer which meets the petition of the spirit of man as contrasted with the prayer of the mere mind of man. ~ The Urantia Book, (168:4.4)
Prayer is the technique whereby, sooner or later, every religion becomes institutionalized. And in time prayer becomes associated with numerous secondary agencies, some helpful, others decidedly deleterious, such as priests, holy books, worship rituals, and ceremonials. ~ The Urantia Book, (91:5.6)
and at the end of Paper 91 - "The Evolution of Prayer," we read this:
91:9.1 If you would engage in effective praying, you should bear in mind the laws of prevailing petitions:
1. You must qualify as a potent prayer by sincerely and courageously facing the problems of universe reality. You must possess cosmic stamina.
2. You must have honestly exhausted the human capacity for human adjustment. You must have been industrious.
3. You must surrender every wish of mind and every craving of soul to the transforming embrace of spiritual growth. You must have experienced an enhancement of meanings and an elevation of values.
4. You must make a wholehearted choice of the divine will. You must obliterate the dead center of indecision.
5. You not only recognize the Father's will and choose to do it, but you have effected an unqualified consecration, and a dynamic dedication, to the actual doing of the Father's will.
6. Your prayer will be directed exclusively for divine wisdom to solve the specific human problems encountered in the Paradise ascension — the attainment of divine perfection.
7. And you must have faith—living faith.
But what did Jesus teach about prayer?
See Jesus' Discourse on Prayer, copied entirely here:
Jesus gave this lesson one afternoon in the third week of their sojourn on Mount Gilboa.
"John indeed taught you a simple form of prayer: `O Father, cleanse us from sin, show us your glory, reveal your love, and let your spirit sanctify our hearts forevermore, Amen!' He taught this prayer that you might have something to teach the multitude. He did not intend that you should use such a set and formal petition as the expression of your own souls in prayer.
"Prayer is entirely a personal and spontaneous expression of the attitude of the soul toward the spirit; prayer should be the communion of sonship and the expression of fellowship. Prayer, when indited by the spirit, leads to co-operative spiritual progress. 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 your ideals.
"Prayer is the breath of the soul and should lead you to be persistent in your attempt to ascertain the Father's will. If any one of you has a neighbor, and you go to him at midnight and say: `Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine on a journey has come to see me, and I have nothing to set before him'; and if your neighbor answers, `Trouble me not, for the door is now shut and the children and I are in bed; therefore I cannot rise and give you bread,' you will persist, explaining that your friend hungers, and that you have no food to offer him. I say to you, though your neighbor will not rise and give you bread because he is your friend, yet because of your importunity he will get up and give you as many loaves as you need. If, then, persistence will win favors even from mortal man, how much more will your persistence in the spirit win the bread of life for you from the willing hands of the Father in heaven. Again I say to you: Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door of salvation will be opened.
"Which of you who is a father, if his son asks unwisely, would hesitate to give in accordance with parental wisdom rather than in the terms of the son's faulty petition? If the child needs a loaf, will you give him a stone just because he unwisely asks for it? If your son needs a fish, will you give him a watersnake just because it may chance to come up in the net with the fish and the child foolishly asks for the serpent? If you, then, being mortal and finite, know how to answer prayer and give good and appropriate gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the spirit and many additional blessings to those who ask him? Men ought always to pray and not become discouraged.
"Let me tell you the story of a certain judge who lived in a wicked city. This judge feared not God nor had respect for man. Now there was a needy widow in that city who came repeatedly to this unjust judge, saying, `Protect me from my adversary.' For some time he would not give ear to her, but presently he said to himself: `Though I fear not God nor have regard for man, yet because this widow ceases not to trouble me, I will vindicate her lest she wear me out by her continual coming.' These stories I tell you to encourage you to persist in praying and not to intimate that your petitions will change the just and righteous Father above. Your persistence, however, is not to win favor with God but to change your earth attitude and to enlarge your soul's capacity for spirit receptivity.
"But when you pray, you exercise so little faith. Genuine faith will remove mountains of material difficulty which may chance to lie in the path of soul expansion and spiritual progress."
And after teaching the apostles the believer's petition that later became "The Lord's Prayer," he taught them this:
144:3.17 Jesus taught that effective prayer must be:
1. Unselfish —not alone for oneself.
2. Believing—according to faith.
3. Sincere—honest of heart.
4. Intelligent—according to light.
5. Trustful—in submission to the Father's all-wise will.
144:3.23 When Jesus spent whole nights on the mountain in prayer, it was mainly for his disciples, particularly for the twelve. The Master prayed very little for himself, although he engaged in much worship of the nature of understanding communion with his Paradise Father.
Jesus gave another significant discourse on Prayer : HERE. Among the sixteen statements in that discourse Jesus said:
3. By opening the human end of the channel of the God-man communication, mortals make immediately available the ever-flowing stream of divine ministry to the creatures of the worlds. When man hears God's spirit speak within the human heart, inherent in such an experience is the fact that God simultaneously hears that man's prayer. Even the forgiveness of sin operates in this same unerring fashion. The Father in heaven has forgiven you even before you have thought to ask him, but such forgiveness is not available in your personal religious experience until such a time as you forgive your fellow men. God's forgiveness in fact is not conditioned upon your forgiving your fellows, but in experience it is exactly so conditioned. And this fact of the synchrony of divine and human forgiveness was thus recognized and linked together in the prayer which Jesus taught the apostles.
11. Many resort to prayer only when in trouble. Such a practice is thoughtless and misleading. True, you do well to pray when harassed, but you should also be mindful to speak as a son to your Father even when all goes well with your soul. Let your real petitions always be in secret. Do not let men hear your 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."
15. And then Jesus said: "Be not constantly overanxious about your common needs. Be not apprehensive concerning the problems of your earthly existence, but in all these things by prayer and supplication, with the spirit of sincere thanksgiving, let your needs be spread out before your Father who is in heaven." Then he quoted from the Scriptures: "I will praise the name of God with a song and will magnify him with thanksgiving. And this will please the Lord better than the sacrifice of an ox or bullock with horns and hoofs."
In addition, please see:
More about Prayer
Are you needing more assurance about YOUR prayers?
Once again, we see contained in the pages of The Urantia Book teachings of Jesus that cannot be found anywhere else. These teachings, and this thrilling revelation of the details of Jesus' life are available NOW, after being preserved for over 2000 years - until the world was once again ready to hear them and apply them to a 21st century world.
Read it for yourself; gain assurances that all Urantia Book readers find in its pages - not only assurances about prayer, but on many other topics - see PART IV of The Urantia Book - "The Life and Teachings of Jesus"
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