[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]
I did a class recently based on a recent discovery of mine. There are three, probably four, places in the early part of the Course’s story where Helen prays for others in an unusual way: by speaking directly to them in her mind.
The first is where Helen tells Bill that his friend Joe in Chicago is thinking of suicide, and that they therefore must immediately send him “an earnest mental message,” which is, “The answer is life, not death.”
The second is where Helen’s friend Dave Diamond is dying of brain cancer, and Helen fills pages in her notebooks silently urging him to embrace the perspective that would heal him: “Please, Dave, don’t identify with your brain. Know your own immortality.” “Dave, help Christ to reach your spirit and don’t depend on your brain.” Her comments about this clearly indicate that she sees this as prayer. She even ends one of her paragraphs with an “amen.”
The third is where she was instructed to pray for her husband and felt that Jesus joined her in an intense time of prayer: “We told Jonathan that he should forget about the Alexandrian library and all the rest [a reference to past-life “sins”], because it does not matter. He showed a lot of love this time, and should claim his forgiveness.”
The probable fourth time is where Jesus asked Helen to join him in praying for Bill: “I suggest to you that we pray for him.” Given the other examples, it’s likely that this meant Jesus and Helen together speaking silently to Bill, rather than both of them speaking to God.
As I shared in class, this kind of praying for others intuitively makes a lot of sense to me. Asking God to help another has always felt slightly strange to me, since God is already doing all He can within the permission levels He’s being given. I know that kind of praying is completely valid, since my prayer is in essence upping those permission levels. But having to tell myself all that complicates things for me.
This sort of praying, in contrast, naturally makes sense. It is basically a kind of silent psychotherapy, in which I join with Jesus in trying to persuade the other person of a healed point of view. Further, because it is silent, I can say to the other person all those things I may well not be able to say directly.
Here is a summary of this method of praying for others:
- It is silently said directly to the person, rather than to God or Jesus.
- Jesus will join you in it, so that rather than praying to Jesus for this person, both you and Jesus say your prayer directly to this person.
- It’s basically a prayer of persuasion—you are trying to bring the person over to the perspective that you believe will heal her. For this reason, it’s ideal to get a sense from Jesus of exactly what that perspective is. Each sick belief has a particular key that will open its lock. You don’t want to just impose your own unguided ideas on this person.
- The prayer should ideally be earnest and even intense. One nice thing about this kind of prayer is that you get to say to the person the very things you would love to say verbally but probably can’t. This allows you to unleash all the love and desire for healing that is really there inside you.
- You can address unconscious beliefs that are hurting this person but that he would deny on a conscious level. Louis didn’t believe in past lives, and so if Helen had asked him to his face to stop punishing himself over whatever he did to the Alexandrian library, he wouldn’t have known what she was talking about.
- Apparently, it’s best to do this when the other person is sleeping, for the person will be more receptive to your prayer then. Helen mentions this in relation to Dave and Jesus mentions this in relation to Louis. Dave’s mind will apparently be more receptive to uniting with Christ while asleep, and Louis’ mind will apparently be more receptive to Helen’s message while asleep.
- However, sometimes, as in Joe’s case, timing is crucial. As the Psychotherapy supplement says (in a paragraph that seems to be about this very kind of telepathic psychotherapy), “They need you…at the instant they are sent.”
- Finally, Psychotherapy also says that we need to trust that the “joining [between our mind and theirs] is in the hands of the Holy Spirit. It cannot fail to be accomplished.”