Prayer is the medium of miracles.
It is a means of communication of the created with the Creator.
Through prayer love is received,
and through miracles love is expressed.
This principle introduces the idea of
prayer, a word not often used in the Course. Usually, the Course's treatment
of prayer has to do with the idea of petition, of praying for something
or praying for someone. That is usually the way that A Course in Miracles
uses the word "prayer" and, as it says later on in the text, the only meaningful
prayer is for forgiveness because you have everything else (text, p. 40;
T-3.V.6:3). Once you pray to God for something to happen on the level of
the body, whether it is your body or another person's body, you are making
the body and the world real, which means you are falling into the ego's
trap. As we saw earlier, you are then basically telling God what He should
do. You are telling God, "This is my problem," or "This is what I want
You to take care of, and now I am expecting You to do so." That is just
another example of the arrogance of the ego which usurps the place of God.
So when the Course says "the only meaningful
prayer is for forgiveness," it is saying that the only thing we should
ever pray for is that our minds be healed from the ego's way of thinking
to the Holy Spirit's way of thinking. In effect, that is what our little
willingness does. It is a way of praying to the Holy Spirit for help that
we share His perception of the world rather than our own.
The Holy Spirit does not have to be
told where He should extend His miracle or His Love in the world. All that
is necessary is that we get ourselves out of the way, which is what forgiveness
does, so that He can then work through us and use us as His instruments.
The pamphlet "The Song of Prayer" uses the analogy of prayer as a ladder,
and the highest rung on that ladder is what we would call mystical prayer,
or prayer as an experience of communion with God. All the earlier rungs
are the steps towards that experience. It begins with the idea of praying
for things or praying for other people, and progresses through that, recognizing
that we do not pray for others; we really pray for ourselves. But, almost
always, when the Course uses the word "prayer," it is using it in the way
that traditional religion has -- as praying for things -- and, obviously,
it has a different way of looking at that. Here, however, when it
talks about prayer, it is reflecting that top rung of the ladder, which
would be an experience of having joined with God through the Holy Spirit.
In that sense, then, prayer becomes the "medium of miracles." It is aligning
our wills with that of Jesus or the Holy Spirit that allows their miracle
to work through us.
Basically, only in this first chapter
does A Course in Miracles talk about revelation, which is expressed
here when it talks about prayer as "a means of communication of the created
with the Creator." The Course makes a distinction between revelation and
the miracle -- that revelation is a temporary experience of oneness with
God, which is not the goal of the Course. This is why it really does not
discuss it afterwards. Revelation is in contrast with the miracle, the
experience of joining with the Holy Spirit that thereby joins us with everyone
else. "Revelation unites you directly with God. Miracles unite you directly
with your brother" (text, pp. 4f; T-1.II.1:5-6). If a person has a revelatory
experience, that is all well and good, but that is not the thrust of the
"Through prayer love is received, and
through miracles love is expressed." What is being discussed here is the
experience of feeling God's Love and then letting the Holy Spirit take
that Love and extend it through us. The goal of this, therefore, is to
let ourselves become purified of any of the things that would hinder the
Holy Spirit's using us as a channel for His Love.
Q: What about the
prayers at the end of the workbook, all addressed to God the Father?
A: That is another
example of the Course's inconsistency on the level of language or expression.
Elsewhere, as we know, A Course in Miracles makes it very clear
that God does not even know about this world, the dream of the sleeping
Son that is outside His Mind. So, it would not make too much sense, on
that level, to pray to Him. But the Course is not rigidly adhering to a
form of expression. What it is really doing here is using "God" as a metaphor
for the Holy Spirit, who is His Voice. You will find the same thing at
the very end of "The Song of Prayer," where the first person is God Himself.
So, really, the Course is giving the reader a choice in terms of form,
whether you ask help of God, the Holy Spirit, Christ, Jesus, or anyone
else you might feel comfortable with -- it does not matter.