In the discussion of prayer the booklet paints a beautiful picture of prayer. A few excerpts illustrate [with my personal comments in italics and brackets]:
Prayer is a way offered by the Holy Spirit to reach God. It is not merely a question or an entreaty. It cannot succeed until you realize that it asks for nothing. How else could it serve its purpose? It is impossible to pray for idols [wealth, health, fame] and hope to reach God. True prayer must avoid the pitfall of asking to entreat. Ask, rather, to receive what is already given; to accept what is already there.
And here, in this last sentence, do I understand what Loving God means. It's a quiet, perhaps meditative state, where I call out my Love for God...for His having created the Sonship (and on a personal basis, me). When I find that quiet, contemplative, right place in mind to extend and express ny thanks and Love to God I also find joy and happiness. For many years I would be moved to tears when I got to this "place," thinking I was in the grace of God for that little time.
Lately it has occurred to me that the tears are part of my ego self, and the tears are triggered by the guilt I carry, as we all do, for having seemed to separate from our Father. I've found (perhaps "been informed") that I can move further into my right mind by looking for and noticing joy and peacerather than tears of guilt. This has been a wonderful learning outcome of prayer. Over the years the tears just "seemed right" because God's grace is so indescribably overwhelming. Now, though, I remember from much ACIM reading that God wishes us to be happy, joyful and filled with peace. So like the old baby shampoo commercial says, "No more tears."
Another passage from the discussion of prayer.
Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving. It should not be confused with supplication of any kind, because it is a way of remembering your holiness. Why should holiness entreat, being fully entitled to everything Love [God] has to offer? And it is to Love that you go in prayer. Prayer is an offering; a giving up of yourself to be at one with Love. There is nothing to ask because there is nothing left to want. That nothingness becomes the alter of God. It disappears in Him.
I am fascinated with the explanation that God extended Himself in creating us, the Sonship. Because God is Love, I like to think that Love extended Itself, creating each of us of Love. It's a bit silly perhaps, but the old "Play Dough Factory" comes to mind. Remember those? You put some Play Dough in the machine, push the handle down and the Play Dough is extruded into a form of some kind.
Crude? Sure! But in my imagination I conceive of an eternal, infinite God, All That Is, consisting entirely of Loveextending Itself to create the Sonship -- you and me. Then, when I meditate deeply on trying to imagine what the formless, dimensionless, infinite "field of Love" extending Itself might "look" like...I finally have to stop imagining at the wonder, the grandeur and the indescribable glory that it must be. It's just too abstract for my human mind to comprehend.
Then, to cap off these thoughts and imaginings, there's another sentence in the Song of Prayer explaining forgiveness that says:
Forgiveness is the call to sanity, for who but the insane would look on sin when he could see the face of Christ instead? This is the choice you make; the simplest one, and yet the only one that youcan make. God calls on you to save His Son from death by offering Christ's Love to him. This is your need, and God holds out this gift to you. As He would give, so must you give as well. And thus is prayer restored to formlessness, beyond all limits into timelessness, with nothing of the past to hold it back from re-uniting with ceaseless song that all creation sings unto its God.
Here again it's this last sentence: "...with ceaseless song that all creation sings unto its God." That phrase fills my mind with images: All that God has created by extending Himself is in endless Song of Prayer, gratefully expressing eternal thanks for what God has created from and made of Love. Every "entity" of creation sings its Love to God and God sings back to each, giving unimaginable Love, Peace and Joy for eternity. My oh my...how moving!
As anyone moves toward fully undoing the ego and accepting the Atonement, the understanding that we never did separate from our Father -- that we're with him Now -- the hoped-for reunion upon our death takes on a little less importance. For some time I felt that death would bring a joyous reunion and "full awareness" of being one with God. But lately I'm becoming excited that learning to sing the Song of Prayer will show me daily grace, peace, joy and the true knowledge that my Father and I are one. Even as I seem to live here in a world, in a body.
As Lesson 45 says, "God is the mind with which I think." So be it.