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.
The Bible: New King James Version