[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]
Last Thursday’s class was on how Helen prayed for others. I found three examples in the early Course dictation that demonstrated a way to pray for others that is different from the usual way of asking God or Jesus to help that person. That way, of course, is absolutely valid, but I find this to be a very helpful alternative.
First example: Helen and Bill praying for Joe
The new phase started one day when Bill and I were working on a research report and I was concentrating on the statistical treatment of the data. Suddenly and very unexpectedly I laid the papers down and said, with great urgency, “Quick, Bill! Joe, your friend from Chicago, is thinking about suicide. We must send him a message right away.” Bill sat down next to me as I “sent” an earnest mental message to Joe. The words I used were: “The answer is life, not death.” Afterwards, I said to Bill, “I bet there was nothing to it,” but I was wrong. Bill called his friend that evening to ask him if he was all right. Joe was glad he had called; he had been very depressed, and had actually picked up a gun that afternoon, but something held him back. He put the gun down. (Absence from Felicity, p. 118)
Here, the “prayer” is not addressed to God. Rather, it is “earnest mental message” addressed to Joe himself. It contains the perspective that Helen and Bill hope that Joe will adopt. And apparently he did.
Second example: Helen praying for Louis
Then I was told to go in and visit see visit with Jonathan [her husband Louis] and pray for him, particularly if he was asleep, which he was. It was the only time so far I prayed intensely for him. When that happens, I am strongly aware that I am not praying alone. We told Jonathan that he should forget about the Alexandrian library and all the rest [a reference to past-live “sins”], because it does not matter. He showed a lot of love this time [in this life], and should claim his forgiveness. He does not need to hurt himself and must stop those symptoms of disequilibrium [which seem to come from him unconsciously punishing himself for past-life transgressions] and establish his freedom. He woke up, and said he was feeling better but hungry. [Apparently, the prayer was successful.]
Third example: Helen praying for Dave Diamond
The cabdriver asked if I minded music and I thought maybe it would help me pray for Dave, so we started with a march and I thought, “Come on Dave, join us and we can all go marching together,” and then it was a ballet, and I thought “Come on, Dave, God has room for lighter moments too.”
Dave don’t give in—you have a real mission—don’t lose your chance—miracles are the natural law. Then I asked Christ to help Dave know He was there and to see him and know the truth so he could be free….”If any two come together in My name”—Dave, you must be that other—we need you—life heals, not death….
Maybe while Dave is sleeping our unconscious minds can reach Christ and He will unite us in prayer—“We can do it, Dave.”
Dave, listen to me now and let Christ help you—leave it to Him and rest. Don’t hurt Harry [Silver] again by walking out on him. Harry needs a miracle to teach him that the brain is not the seat of life but God is. He can learn this if you are willing to stay and teach him. Help save us all, Dave. Please cooperate. You once denied the truth to Harry Silver—please release him and yourself now. You taught him wrong Dave, but remember how good you always were in teaching the emotionally disturbed, and teach him right now.
Dear Dave, show Harry that the spirit does not live in the brain. Turn your statement the right way, and know that the spirit can heal the brain which it made. It is not the other way. Release the children this time, Dave—please for Christ’s sake. Amen.
Dave—remember your little girl—she was unmarked even though she was conceived by accident in a uterus that was supposed to be sterile because it was so damaged by fibroid tumors. They said it had to be removed. But it was still a temporary home for a perfect child, against all odds according to human medicine. Please, Dave, don’t identify with your brain. Know your own immortality and break the prison for Harry Silver. Listen please, Dave—you can destroy your enemies by making them your friends. You hurt Harry but he loves you. Thank God you can help him now—I am awed by your mission, and I pray I can help Christ to help you. Dave—sooner or later you will have to settle this, and you can save thousands of years right now. We must call the children back. Christ will give you the most now, if you will take it, because you have reduced yourself to the least. Take it for Him, who wants to give you all power in Heaven and Earth.
Dave, help Christ to reach your spirit and don’t depend on your brain. Help us, Dave, and hear Him….Dave, change your identity from Diamond to Pearl of Great Price, and claim your right to forgiveness now. Your spirit and mine can unite and then the two of us have come together in Christ’s name. Jesus promised to be there, Dave. Your brain does not matter if you will understand life as Jesus did. When He said “Father, into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit” He was referring to His resurrection, not His death. Remember and understand that because it can save you now. The anoxia of His death did not hurt his brain. Please, Dave—hear Him say “I am the resurrection and the life, and whosoever believeth in Me shall not perish.”
Dave, it means something that your names are Diamond and Silver. Remember where your real treasures are. Silver has the whole Neurological Institute watching you. But they all think life is brain. Help them, Dave—you are a teacher. Dave, you can still hear the call “Come forth”—Lazarus was already dead; you’re not.
Characteristics of this kind of prayer
1. It is silently said directly to the person, rather than to God or Jesus.
2. 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. (Jesus once told Helen to pray for Bill, saying, “I suggest to you that we pray for him.”)
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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 sleeping mind will apparently be more receptive to uniting with Christ and Louis’ sleeping mind will apparently be more receptive to what Helen is saying to him.
7. However, sometimes, as in Joe’s case, timing is crucial. As the Psychotherapy supplement says, “They need you…at the instant they are sent.”
8. 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.”