Careful What You Pray For

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect priceless works of art. They had everything from Picasso to Van Gogh. They would often take time out from their busy schedules and admire their immense collection.

They had planned a buying trip to Europe, but the Iraq war interrupted their plans. The son’s reserve unit was sent to Baghdad.

On his second tour of duty the son was killed by a roadside bomb. The father had lost his wife to cancer and now he had lost his only son.

A short time later, just before Thanksgiving, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door holding a large package.

He said, “Sir, I am a stranger to you, but I served with your son in Iraq. He saved my life. He was the most courageous man I’ve ever known. He often spoke of you, and your mutual love for art.”

The young man held out the package. “I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I believe your son would want you to have this.”

The father opened the gift. It was a portrait of his son in military uniform. He gasped in awe at the way the young soldier had captured his son’s personality.

He thanked the young man and offered to purchase the painting.

“Oh, no sir.” Insisted the young man, “I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift for you.” They spent the rest of the day talking about the man’s son and the arts.

The father hung the portrait over the mantle. Whenever friends visited he showed them the painting of his son before he showed them any of his other artwork.

On New Year’s day the bereaved widower made his own transition. Some of his dearest friends believed it was from a broken heart. As his last request, he wanted his paintings auctioned. Many rich people and art collectors came to add his rare paintings to their own collections.

The painting of his son sat on the auction easel. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. “We will start the bidding with this painting. Who will bid for this painting of the son?”

You could hear a pin drop, then nervous whispers. Finally a voice from the back of the room shouted, “We’re not interested in that one. We’ve come to buy the Picassos, and Rembrandts, and Raphaels.”

But the auctioneer continued. “Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $ 100? $ 200?

Another voice shouted defiantly, “We didn’t come to bid on this painting. We came for the Van Goghs and the DiVincis.”

Undaunted, the auctioneer responded, “The son. Who will take the son?”

Finally, a voice came from the rear of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. “I’ll give $ 100 for the painting.” Being a a man of modest means, it was all he could afford. He loved the man and his son and felt the son was his son too.

“We have $ 100. Who will give $ 200?”

“Give it to him for $ 100. Let’s see the master’s works, the real art work.” Someone chorused.

$ 100 is the bid. Won’t someone bid $ 200?

The crowd became angry. They didn’t want the inferior painting. They wanted the priceless investments for their collections.

The auctioneer pounded the gavel. “Going once, going twice, SOLD for $ 100.

The room erupted in applause. One man handed $ 10 to the gardener as a token thank you for speeding up the auction, but the gardener refused. “They always made me feel like I was part of the family,” he countered. “I have always enjoyed my employment with them.”

His purchase of the painting was a prayer answered. He had hoped for a memento, and now he had one. He had received a small inheritance from the man’s will, but the portrait of his son was truly a blessing.

All at once, the auctioneer laid down his gavel. “I’m sorry, but that concludes the auction. The auction is over.”

“What?” shouted the audience. “What do you mean the ‘auction is over?'”

“I apologize for such an abrupt end to these proceedings. When I was called to conduct this auction I was told of a stipulation in the will. I can now reveal that stipulation. Only the painting of the son was to be auctioned. Whichever bidder bought the painting would inherit the entire estate! The gentleman who bid $ 100 for the son gets everything!”

It is through the dynamics of prayer that we find peace, and rest, and answers, and wealth. Like the gardener, we have ready access to the Omnipresence of Supply. Our prosperity is waiting for us. It is just a prayer away. All we have to do is turn to the Son, the Christ within.

Although the way we pray differs, most people have been taught by the faith traditions in which they grew up to ask, to petition, to beg an external anthropomorphic deity for something they believe they don’t have. They believe in ‘dial-up’ prayer instead of instant, high speed access prayer.

In this 6th in a series of “Get Over It” talks we have selected the familiar New Thought phrase ‘Be careful what you pray for’ as a phrase which should be laid to rest with the embedded theology which gave birth to it.

It is an assumption which adds credence to the anthropomorphic deity myth which has kept our eyes focused on a super-being ‘out there’ who will save us if we’re obedient, patient, and gullible.

The help ‘out there’ theology is perpetuated by the mythological Superman, Batman, and Super Hero characters which Hollywood has so expertly created for us.

We have all grown up with the belief that our Savior will come from ‘out there.’ That the Messiah must be some sort of super hero with super powers. Basically the message is we are too unworthy, weak, and whinny to save ourselves.

In his book, Dynamics For Living, Charles Fillmore asserted, “The way to attain health and wealth is to put your prayerful words and creative actions to work and bring into swift action the Superman Christ within.”

The super hero is within us. It is the Superman Christ within us. When we get to the point that we identify with our Superman Christ within, and not with fictitious superheroes ‘out there’ we master our human experience.

The same thing goes when it comes to prayer. We believe there is a collective wisdom deep within each of us, and shared by all of us, that senses an unseen spiritual Presence. A Presence that is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent.

In Matthew 21:22 the Christ said: “Whatever we ask in prayer, believing with faith, we shall receive.” The word ‘ask’ actually means ‘affirm or declare.’ And ‘prayer’ means ‘direct, unobstructed communion with Spirit.’

So, what Matthew 21:22 really means is when we affirm our oneness with Spirit by communing with Spirit to make that connection, and believe that we have passport-free access to Universal Supply, we will receive all we need to manifest our abundance. This verse is the key to manifesting our good.

It is communing FROM this this indivisible connection with the Christ within, that we move toward our good. It is FROM this interior place of alignment with the Omnipresence of God that we position ourselves to receive.

So we do not have to pray TO a God ‘out there.’ We don’t have to dial-a-prayer! We don’t have to worry for what we pray believing that if we don’t pray right we might get something other than what we prayed for. That’s not how prayer works!

There’s no dispensing God ‘up there’ waiting for us to make a mistake in our prayer languaging so It can give us something we didn’t expect. There are no prayer police monitoring our prayers to see if we’re asking for the right things.

‘Be careful for what you pray for’ is fear-based theology. It is not wise to build guilt, and fear, and anxiety into a prayer experience.

What is useful is to live a prayer-conditioned life, one which is characterized by absolute trust in your oneness with Spirit.

Drs. Bil & Cher Holton are Spiritual Leaders at Unity Spiritual Life Center in Durham, NC, where they practice positive, practical, progressive Christianity. Visit their website at Unity Spiritual Life Center and sign up to receive a complimentary 4-week e-course.

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