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Are All Prayers Answered?: Summary of a Class Presentation

[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]

In yesterday’s class, I opened by going through some of the at least eighteen passages in the Course which say that God hears and answers all prayers. The justification given for this is that God is a loving Father and we are His Son. If that is true, then of course He always hears and of course He always answers.

I then asked us to try to suspend our disbelief for a moment and imagine that this really is true. How would life be different for us?

But of course, experience has seemingly taught us that it isn’t true. I therefore launched into a number of explanations the Course gives for unanswered prayer. The chief ones were that either we were asking for things of the ego that deep-down we didn’t really want, or that we were asking for things in line with the Course that, not quite as deep-down, we were afraid of. Either way, we had a conflict of desire. An underlying lack of desire canceled out the more conscious desire behind the prayer. We, in other words, are canceling out our own prayers, undermining the wholeheartedness of the requests. They therefore become double requests, in which we say, “Please (no, don’t).”

This is actually very good news, because it explains away the apparent evidence against the principle that all prayers are answered. If that evidence can be successfully explained away, then that principle stands.

What these explanations in the Course open up for us is the possibility that God really does always hear and really does always answer.

So at the end of class, I asked us to, in the spirit of Lesson 327, test out this promise, in the hopes that our resulting experience will teach us that this principle is true. I asked us to pick a request that is “in line with this course” (T-9.I.1), like answers you need, peace, forgiveness, learning to meditate, experiencing God, healing in a relationship, being helpful to someone, healing an old wound in your mind, healing something in your body (though the Course wants you to ask for the healing of the mental roots of the illness as well).

And then I invited us to share on the blog what happens! So, please, let’s do that. I look forward to seeing what you share.

COURSE PASSAGES THAT SAY THAT GOD HEARS AND ANSWERS OUR CALLS

  1. He has never failed to answer this request….Those who call truly are always answered. (T‑4.III.6:4‑5)
  2. And as your hymns of praise and gladness rise to your Creator, He will return your thanks in His clear Answer to your call. |s4 For it can never be that His Son called upon Him and remained unanswered. (T-13.VI. 9:3-4)
  3. Yet he will ask because desire is a request, an asking for, and made by one whom God Himself will never fail to answer. (T‑21.VIII. 3:4‑6)
  4. Have confidence in your Father today, and be certain that He has heard you and answered you. (W‑pI.69.8:1)
  5. Call to your Father, certain that His Voice will answer. He Himself has promised this. (W‑pI.127. 9:1‑2)
  6. Thus do we give an invitation which cannot be refused. And God will come, and answer it Himself. Think not He hears the little prayers of those who call on Him with names of idols cherished by the world. (W-pI.183.7:1-3)
  7. We have called on Him, and He has promised that His Son will not remain unanswered when he calls His Name. (W‑pII.IN.3:3‑4)
  8. I come to hear Your Voice…sure You will hear my call and answer me. (W‑pII.221.1:5)
  9. You have remained with me, and always will be there to hear my call to You and answer me. (W‑pII.232.1:3)
  10. You cannot fail to hear me, Father. (W‑pII.290.2:2)
  11. I need but call and You will answer me. (W-pII.327.Heading)
  12. God has promised He will hear my call and answer me Himself. (W-327.1:2)
  13. Father, You promised You would never fail to answer any call Your Son might make to You. (W‑pII.356.1:1)
  14. No call to God can be unheard nor left unanswered. (W-pII.358.Heading)
  15. And He has guaranteed that He will hear and answer them in truth. (P‑2.V.4:5)
  16. Your prayer has risen up and called to God, Who hears and answers. (S‑3.IV.4:2)
  17. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for god my Father and His holy Son. (W-FL.361-365.1:5)
  18. Each heartbeat calls His Name, and every one is answered by His Voice, assuring me I am at home in Him. (W-pII.267.1:7)