Religion is too rich and complex to be reduced to any one act or attitude or aspect of life. …But there is one act of life which does bring us in a special and peculiar way into the holy of holies of religion… This central act is worship. By worship I mean the act of rising to a personal, experimental consciousness of the real presence of God which floods the soul with joy and bathes the whole inward spirit with refreshing streams of life. Never to have felt that, never to have opened the life to these incoming divine tides, never to have experienced the joy of personal fellowship with God, is surely to have missed the richest privilege and the highest beatitude of religion. … Hush, waiting, meditation, concentration of spirit, are just the reverse of our busy, driving, modern temper.

The apt and lovely words about religion have place and meaning only if they create in us the passion and the positive intention to go ourselves on the spiritual pilgrimage, the goal of which is this holy of holies, where words about God fall away, since we have entered into the joy of his real presence.

Religion is primarily, and at heart, the personal meeting of the soul with God. … There can be living religion only so long as the soul of man is capable of experiencing the fresh bubbling of the living water within and can know for himself that a heart of eternal love beats in the central deeps of the universe within his reach.

The act of worship calls for intense devotion, for unusual concentration, for long-continued spiritual preparation. If it is, as I believe, the very goal and pinnacle of religion–the flowering of the tree of life–then we must not expect that it will cost nothing or that it will be reached along lines of least resistance. … but what we cannot get for dollars, however high we heap them, is this experience which is the heart of religion, this experience of God, this practice of the divine presence, this joy of being ourselves in the holy of holies.

 – excerpts from Rufus Jones, “The Central Act of Religion,”
The World Within, 1918.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,
who, on finding one pearl of great value,
went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Matthew 13:45-46
The Bible, Revised Standard Version


Posted in Conversion, Eternity, Freedom, God, Heaven, Inner Life, Joy, Listening, Meditation, Receiving, Silence, Worship


When we “return home,” as the mystics say, to our deeper self and enter into our inner sanctuary we are borne along and unified by one great ground-swell longing for the life that is Life. … In these truest moments of prayer a man comes upon that rock-bottom experience which a great ancient soul had met when he said: “Underneath are the everlasting arms.”

The unification of the usually scattered forces of our inner self, the concentration of all our powers toward one perfect end, the focusing of the soul’s aspiration and loyalty upon one central reality that is adequate for us, the surrender of our own will to a holier and mightier will, produce just the inner conditions that are essential for the flooding in of spiritual energy, and for the release of it for others who are in need of it.

When I speak of “unification” and “concentration” I do not mean that they are the result of conscious effort. Quite the opposite is generally the case. There is no thought of what is happening to one’s self in genuine prayer. The worshiper is utterly absorbed with God and with the joy and wonder of his Presence, and thus the usual strain and tension of thought fall away as they do also in the presence of an object of perfect beauty or when one is listening to great music. Just that cessation of conscious direction, that absence of conscious effort is probably the best way to secure the release of hidden energies within the subconscious life.

Prayer, real prayer, does “make a difference.” Power to live by comes through this immemorial act of the soul. The discovery that we are in a world of law does not alter the fact. The irresistible evidence that the realm of nature is a realm where causation holds sway need not disturb us. Law and causation no more interfere with prayer than they do with love or beauty.

Quoted from James Martineau- “(God) has made no rule but the everlasting rule of holiness, and written no pledge but the pledge of inextinguishable love; hence, without violated rule, he can individualize his regards; enter with gentle help; and while keeping faith with the universe, knock at the gate of every lonely heart.”

  – Rufus Jones, “Prayer as an Energy of Life,” The World Within, 1918

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.

Job 42:5
The Bible: New King James Version

Posted in Affirmation, Atonement, Faith, Freedom, God, Guidance, Inner Life, Prayer, Reality, Receiving


“At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War (World War I) ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.”

 – quoted from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/world-war-i-ends

This is the background for The World Within, 1918, an early book by the prolific and respected Quaker author, academic, and social activist Rufus Jones. These quotes from the “Introduction” speak not only to history, but to the rebuilding to come after the Covid-19 pandemic. mjd

We must restore trust and confidence in a living God who is not off beyond and above the storm and stress of life, but in the very pulse and flow of it all, and whose will for a good world is the deepest reality of our universe. … we shall, if we are wise, care more than ever for the central realities by which men live. St. Augustine was right when he said: “My life shall now be a real life, being wholly full of Thee.”

I have always believed and maintained that the apparent lack of popular interest in (religion) is largely due to the awkward and blundering way in which it has been presented to the mind and heart of those who all the time carry deep within themselves inner hungers and thirsts which nothing but God can satisfy.

The easy, inherited, second-hand faith will not do for any of us now. … We demand something real enough and deep enough to answer the human cry of our soul to-day. We need to be assured that we do not in the last resort fall back on the play of molecules but that underneath us are everlasting Arms. We want to know not only that there is law and order but that a genuine Heart of Love touches our heart and brings us calm and confidence.

Mountain peaks and stars can not embody love and sympathy–they can embody only energy. Love and sympathy, tenderness and patience, forgiveness and grace are traits of character, attitudes of a personal spirit. If they are ever to be revealed, they must be revealed in the life of a person.

Now once there was a Person who felt that his life was a genuine exhibition of the divine in the human, the eternal in the midst of time. He lived and died in the consciousness that through his life he was showing God to men; that his love was a revelation of the real nature and character of God; that his sympathy for the weary, heavy-laden, sin-distressed, heart-hungry people of the earth was a true unveiling of the heart of the universe.… He felt this, and consecrated his life to this deeper revelation of God. Some have doubted and some have been perplexed, but there have always been some…who profoundly believe that here in him is the personal character of God revealed to us. However leaden and pitiless the march of the universe may be at other points, at this one point, at least, love and tenderness break through and enwrap us. This God who is unveiled in Christ is the God our world needs to-day.

…through him can come afresh to us the God whom our chemistry and astronomy were too limited to reveal–we can see him in the face of Jesus Christ.

– Rufus M. Jones, excerpts, Introduction of The World Within, 1918.

That which was from the beginning,
which we have heard,
which we have seen with our eyes,
which we have looked at
and our hands have touched—
this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
The life appeared;
we have seen it and testify to it,
and we proclaim to you the eternal life,
which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard,
so that you also may have fellowship with us.
And our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son,
Jesus Christ.
We write this to make our joy complete.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:
God is light;
in him there is no darkness at all.

I John 1:1-5

Posted in Affirmation, Atonement, Comfort, Faith, Freedom, God, Inner Life, Jesus, Light, Reality, Truth


The wise men of the ages are in impressive agreement on this point. God in His transcendency is the immutable ground of all life, power, intelligence; He is one in type, character, will, purpose; constant in all creative attributes, the master of eternity, not the product of time; and the divine energies are not exhausted, nor are they increased by creation. God in action as Spirit, immanent, all-imbuing, is the same immutable Being yesterday, to-day, and for ever. … The eternal truths of the ages need no further proof. Love will always be the greatest gift. Out of God’s permanency all life perennially comes, it is the divine “over-element” which beautifies all things in this world of time and gives them their value.

We need both the new, fresh revelation of the eternal values, and the confirmations gathered by a study of the ages. We need both the precise, scientific conceptions which ever more persistently seek to co-ordinate all the facts and laws of the great cosmos, and the poetic values which supplement these by yielding visions of the surpassing whole.
The Spirit from above individuates, quickens, guides; man from within receives love and wisdom as if the life were his own, and proceeds to do his work. In this union God and man are made complete, as if each existed alone; since nothing interferes with the divine purposes, and yet man is free both to produce or to wander into the by-paths of experience.

The conclusion naturally is, Let each who is gifted ascend the mount of the Spirit, adoring in reverence and receptivity, seeking the universal Essence which men express in various ways; let each revere his gift, making himself proficient that he may portray or symbolise the Spirit as befits his vision; let all produce who can, realising that expression or service in all its forms will be furthered by the productions of those who are creative; let those who interpret do it reverently, … let all others follow according to their light. … Then no one need ask what the Spirit is apart from its manifestations, for it will be seen that the Spirit is in truth what all these gifted ones reveal.

– excerpts, Horatio W. Dresser, “The Indwelling Spirit,”
The Religion of the Spirit in Modern Life, 1914

thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world,
even from everlasting to everlasting,
thou art God.

Psalm 90: 1-2

Posted in Atonement, Creation, Eternity, Freedom, God, Growth, Guidance, Listening, Love, Receiving, Spirit, Truth, Wisdom, Work


…religion springs from within.

The inner apprehension is the reality; the forms of service and thought in which the experience is expressed are the evidences that the reality has indeed been found. There is an inmost centre where dwells this reality, a well of water springing up into everlasting life. This is the true source of wisdom, love, and power. He whom the Father has touched finds himself in that centre, and knows by the fruits of life that it is the real heart.

To live from the centre consistently, hence to be religious through and through, is to be aware of a guidance emerging from the sacred recesses and reaching into the whole of life.

Thus to emphasise the inward light is not to minimise the special times and seasons which men have set apart for prayer, responsive service, and objective worship; or to ignore the creeds and institutions in which the religious life has been expressed. All these have their place. Yet there comes a time when the prayer that never ceases takes the place of occasional efforts, the silent prayer being expressive of the soul’s attitude in acknowledgment of the divine presence. There comes a time when work and worship are identical and constant. That is to say, life becomes centred once for all in the sources of all wisdom and power, no longer fluctuates between inner and outer. There may still be reasons for withdrawing from the multitude, not because the soul has lost hold of the sources, but that one may be newly strengthened to meet a severer test of faith. Thus to know, to live from and return to the centre is to have religion in the profoundest sense.

To realise the presence of God in the modern sense is to start with God as the centre, reality, life; and to find oneself all anew as grounded in His being, thinking only because of Him, living only through His life, loving because He loves.

We have a work to do in the world. Hence we need a method of development. Thus our definition of religion implies various interpretations of the divine nature, the human self, regeneration, meditation, service, and other aspects of the spiritual life.

What we become aware of is the life we are prompted to follow as our own…

 – excerpts, Horatio W. Dresser,“The Nature of Religion,”
The Religion of the Spirit in Modern Life, 1914.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,
“Will you give me a drink?”
Jesus answered,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water
welling up to eternal life.”

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

John, chapter 4,
verses 7, 13-14, 23-24

Posted in Conversion, God, Guidance, Inner Life, Life, Light, Listening, Peace, Power, Prayer, Reality, Receiving, Silence, Spirit, Vocation, Wisdom, Work, Worship


Within the sanctuary of the heart there is a secret place where, if one listen and respond, there shall be revealed what the Father has provided; and one may think of the Father in the most immediately human sense, praying to Him when in urgent need as well as in the hour of grateful worship. … This applies to all men, all can enter the kingdom of prayer and obedience, all have been provided for.

The guidance which the inner light reveals to-day pertains to that of yesterday and last year, it relates to my spiritual welfare as a whole.

Jesus does not utter a code or found an institution. He takes little interest in facts, does not discuss problems. The affairs of the day concern him in the light of the kingdom of the Spirit that is to come in greater fulness. He first lives, then communicates of the life that is his. He touches those who are ready, and summons to life those who can become his disciples. He performs works that exemplify his teaching, and utters words of power that appeal to the soul. To come into his presence is to come into life, and he associates with any individual who can be quickened through an appeal to life. His indeed is the gospel of life in such wise that truth, words, and deeds are one in spirit.

The reality of the Spirit is the abiding presence, the presence which has always been with men to sustain them and lead them, although unrecognised. Since all events in the spiritual order belong together, and since all men belong to that order, I may give myself trustfully to it, knowing that there is wise provision for me. To be faithful it is incumbent on me to trust at every point. The essential consideration is the life which enters the soul from the intimately present Spirit. What it means to be wholly faithful to this life the Master has shown by his own fidelity and by the works he wrought.

The Spirit descends upon us, it stirs within the heart, and sends us forth to share its blessings. When we have been touched from within, we may turn to the physical organism and find it “the temple of the Holy Spirit.”

 – excerpts, Horatio W. Dresser, “The Spirit in Jesus,”
The Religion of the Spirit in Modern Life, 1914.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

He shall cover thee with his feathers,
and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Psalm 91
verses 1 & 4

Posted in Faith, Freedom, Growth, Guidance, Inner Life, Jesus, Life, Light, Listening, Prayer, Protection, Receiving, Spirit, Trust


“Jesus taught us who God is.” – a very wise believer.

If you are going through a challenge right now, let me assure you that God is in this experience! He is within you as sustaining strength and calming peace. He is within you as the light of wisdom and perfect guidance. He goes before you as gentle protection and tender love. He is the very substance of supply for your need, the very essence of good that will emerge from the difficulty. God is in this experience!

Trust God’s plan for you. Place yourself and all those concerned under His protective Spirit of love. Visualize yourself, everyone, everything, surrounded by light and love. Take time apart from outer activities each day to rest from all conscious reasoning about the situation. Remind yourself patiently: God’s plan is good. I trust it. He is in full control of the experience. You will feel a wonderful calm within, and you will see new ways of help opening up.

When Jesus calmed the waves it was through His inner knowing that God was there as peace. When he healed the lame and blind and lifted the multitude to life and health it was because He saw the presence of God there as life. … Knowing this brought him triumphantly through Gethsemane and the Crucifixion and into our lives today as an ever-resurrecting presence and power. And what he knew then he wants us to know today: God is in every experience of life.

He is ready to open up the gates of heaven for you to see the Truth about yourself, which is that you are His beloved, His image and likeness, able to cope, to overcome, to move victoriously through every happening.

Mary Kupferle, “God is in this experience,”
God Will See You Through, copyright 1983

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep, and exclaimed:
“THE EVER-LIVING is certainly is in this place, and I knew it not.…
Is not this truly the House of GOD? and this the Gate of Heaven?”

excerpts, Genesis 28:16-17
The Five Books of Moses: The Bible in Modern English, 1901
Ferrar Fenton, translator

Posted in Affirmation, Comfort, Faith, Fear, God, Heaven, Hope, Jesus, Peace, Protection, Worship


The Bible passage from Jeremiah is repeated from the last post. It is a personal favorite: the promise that the Almighty already resides within each of us – the promise that our acceptance of the Presence is the beginning, not the conclusion of true life and reality. In a word, life evolves – not because God is changing, but because we grow in the depth of our reliance on the Voice and guidance of the One Eternal Life. The quote from Mark Nepo points in this direction. Life is ever a process. Perfection (completeness) is a way, never a point in time. For those who want to dig deeper I would recommend Psalm 139. For those who need a model, I would recommend the person of Christ Jesus.

– mjd

The journey of becoming who we were born to be never ends. It’s limitless, eternal. We don’t arrive–we grow.

…living with an open heart and bringing our being and doing together to form care is endless: waking, risking,, finding courage, finding our way back to an innate sense of God, and simply but deeply listening.

 – Mark Nepo
The Endless Practice: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be
Copyright 2014

I will put My law within them,
and on their hearts will I write it;
and I will be their God,
and they shall be My people.

And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor
and each man his brother,
saying, Know the Lord;
for they shall all know me
–from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord;
for I will forgive their iniquity,
and I will remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:33b – 34a

And this is life eternal,
that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

John 17:3

Posted in Conversion, Eternity, Freedom, God, Growth, Guidance, Inner Life, Jesus, Listening, Perfection, Reality, Receiving, Truth


Agnostics have said to me: “I can accomplish the same things without prayer that you can with prayer. You are just deluding yourself that you are getting help from God. Faith in yourself is all you need.”

Faith in one’s self is a first step. This you must have to achieve success in any worthwhile effort. But one’s faith in self, whether realized or not, is usually based upon faith in a higher power. You feel, in a moment of great need, that you can call upon what you may define as a “reserve.” You exercise a stronger belief in what you think to be yourself, and this extra demand brings new energy, new ideas, new and greater assurance, and you rise to meet an emergency in a way you ordinarily could not. God’s cooperation is so subtle that it is difficult to know just when your effort ends and God’s help begins. You actually, in your heartfelt aspiration, reach up to God, and he figuratively takes your hand and gives you a lift. This is a form of prayer without words. You have pictured fervently what you want and have sought mightily to get it–and then you have found a new area of power an attainment. Remain an agnostic, if you will; assume all the credit–but God was there in those moments and gave you the help of His power.

The God-given creative power within you is a limitless reservoir. No one has ever begun to tap its potential capacity. There is always more power available to the degree that any human learns how to draw upon it. This is the point in human consciousness wherein the individual soul touches infinity from the finite side.

 – Harold Sherman, “How to Re-establish Faith in Prayer,”
How to Use the Power of Prayer, 1958

I will put My law within them,
and on their hearts will I write it;
and I will be their God,
and they shall be My people.

And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor
and each man his brother,
saying, Know the Lord;
for they shall all know me
–from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord;
for I will forgive their iniquity,
and I will remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:33b – 34a

Posted in Asking, Faith, Forgiveness, God, Healing, Hope, Prayer, Reality, Spirit, Trust


… true effectual prayer has a range of influence far beyond the personal life of the one who prays. No person is ever isolated, unrelated and alone.

What we are and what we do flow out and help to determine what others shall be and shall do, and even so in the highest spiritual operations and activities of the soul we contribute some part toward the formation of the spiritual atmosphere in which others are to live and we help to release currents of spiritual energy for others than ourselves. If we belong, as I believe we do, in a real kingdom of God–an organic fellowship of inter-related lives–prayer should be as effective a force in this inter-related social world of ours as gravitation is in the world of matter. … We are no longer in the net of blind fate, in the realm of impersonal force–we are in a love-system where the aspiration of one member heightens the entire group, and the need of one–even the least–draws upon the resources of the whole–even the Infinite. We are in actual Divine-human fellowship.

Prayer releases energy as certainly as the closing of an electric circuit does. It heightens all human capacities. It refreshes and quickens life. It unlocks reservoirs of power. It opens invisible doors into new storehouses of spiritual force for the person to live by, and, as I believe, for others to live by as well.

Brother Lawrence [author, The Practice of the Presence of God] was right when he said: “It is into the soul permeated with living faith that God pours his graces and his favors plenteously. Into the soul they flow like an impetuous torrent, when it finds a passage for its pent up flood after being dammed back from its ordinary course by some obstacle.”

We must have faith in the Beyond.

 – excerpts, Rufus Jones, “Prayer as an Energy of Life,” The World Within, 1921

There was a man in Caesarea by the name of Cornelius, a centurion in what was called the Italian Regiment. He was a deeply religious man who reverenced God, as did all his household. He made many charitable gifts to the people and was a real man of prayer. About three o’clock one afternoon he saw perfectly clearly in a dream an angel of God coming into his room, approaching him, and saying, “Cornelius!”

He stared at the angel in terror, and said, “What is it, Lord?”

The angel replied, “Your prayers and your deeds of charity have gone up to Heaven and are remembered before God. Now send men to Joppa for a man called Simon, who is also known as Peter. He is staying as a guest with another Simon, a tanner, whose house is down by the sea.”

When the angel who had spoken to him had gone, Cornelius called out for two of his house-servants and a devout soldier, who was one of his personal attendants. He told them the whole story and then sent them off to Joppa.

Acts 10: 1-6
J. B. Phillips, translator,
The New Testament in Modern English, 1958.

Posted in Asking, Faith, Giving, Inner Life, Prayer, Receiving, Trust