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 As it was said in the beginning of the meeting, our theme for the night is “Give thanks” where we are going to present and study the act of prayer based on the “Gospel According to Spiritism”, chapter XXVII,  The Spirits’ book’s,  4th part , Chapter I, The Law of adoration. These 2 books are part of the Spiritist codification by Allan Kardec, The New Testament and other secondary Spiritist works. 

Once the group decides the theme of the lecture, the person responsible to present it has to do a research for material in books, messages, magazines, interviews and articles related to the topic, so he/ she can read study and prepare the Spiritist lecture. We can find a vast list of material on the topic and we can only come to the conclusion that the act of prayer is an extremely important subject to Spiritism

 

Amongst everything I read, one of the sentences that caught my attention I found in the book “Enriching moments” written by Joanna de Angelis thru the psychography of Divaldo Franco.

 

“Valuable resource for all time of need, a prayer is available to those who want peace and fulfillment by changing for the better, understanding the factors that bring progress in life and provide great development.”

“Enriching Moments - Therapy of prayer. Joanna de Angelis

 

The prayer is available to everyone in all time of need…Nevertheless sometimes we forget to use this valuable resource. Many of us don’t know the details about the matter or what is required on a prayer; Maybe some of us don’t understand how it can be efficient and how important it is in our lives. In the light of Spiritist literature we can find many explanations and instructions about prayer. In fact, a prayer is the first step in every meeting, lecture or work in a Spiritist Centre or group. Most Spiritist Centers offer many courses, seminars and workshops. When we have a new beginners group, before we start the lesson we always ask if anyone feels inspired to do the opening prayer and we can hear the “sound of silence”.  It’s very normal to feel shy, awkward and insecure to do a prayer in public at the beginning, but the process becomes easier  when we start to understand that a prayer doesn’t need to follow a formula or a script; it doesn’t need to be long nor repetitive and most importantly it doesn’t need to be a ritual. The most important requirement is this: It needs to come from the heart.

 

In an attempt to study the act of prayer, we should ask ourselves a few questions:

 

Why is the act of prayer so important?  In which way is it efficient? Why should we pray?

 

  • What is the general character of prayer?

     

    “Prayer is an act of adoration, an act of worship. To pray to God is to think of Him; to elevate our thoughts towards Him, to draw nearer to Him, to put ourselves in communication with Him. When we pray, we may propose three things: to praise, to ask and to thank.” The Spirits’ book.  Question 659.

     

    Worshiping is part of natural law and that’s why it is the result of a sentiment innate in men, we are born with this feeling. It can be found among all peoples, under many different forms.

 

To understand the current process of worship, we must recognize that it follows human evolution. Since we evolve intellectually and morally, the way we understand God and the way we worship Him and connect with Him also improves.

 

It’s important to note that the word god had a very broad meaning. To early civilization, it was a term which gave incorporeal beings (Spirits) that act as power of nature the name of gods.  The God of thunder, the goddess of the sea, the god of the wind, there are many mythologies around the world that used this method.

In the Old Testament, we see the polytheism becomes obsolete and we are presented with a new revelation by Moses, when he received the Ten Commandments in the Mount Sinai as in Exodus 20 with the first Commandment: “I am the Lord your God, You shall have no other gods before me”

In the New Testament we learn from Jesus, a different side of God, more loving and caring with maxims like, Love God above all and your neighbor as yourself”, Matthew, 22: 34-40 and give us the most complete example of a prayer in (Our Lord) Matthew, 6: 9-13.

 

Even nowadays, when we live in very technologically and scientifically evolved society. Because this feeling is inside our consciousness, there still remains the importance of the belief in God and the need to worship Him, according to the possibilities and understanding of each one.

 

According to Spiritism, Prayer is an invocation through our thoughts, a way that we enter in communication with the being to whom we direct our thoughts. Prayer is the expression of a feeling that always reaches God when dictated by the heart of the person who prays. 

We can say that prayer is a projection of thought, from which we establish a fluidic connection and the intensity of this prayer depends on the prayer’s vibration. This intensity and quality of vibration determines its power and extension, because of this fluidic relationship we attract to ourselves the help of the High Spirits to inspire us with good thoughts.

 Why thoughts? Because thoughts are the source of almost all of our actions. (First we think and then we act.) 
Spiritism brings understanding to the action of prayer by explaining the process of transmission of thought: whether when a spiritual being come to our call or when our thoughts go to him. 


To understand what happens in this process, let us consider that all beings, both incarnated and disincarnated, are immersed in the same universal fluid that occupies the space on this planet. Like a big ocean of fluid that we cannot perceive with our senses. A great comparison could be the transmission of sound.  The sound waves travel thru air and it is confined to the atmosphere in planet Earth, while the universal fluid extends to infinity.So once our thought is directed to any being on Earth or in space, both incarnated and disincarnated or vice versa, a fluid stream or a channel is established from one to another, sending thoughts as the air transmits sound. The energy level of this chain or channel depends on the energy of the thought and the thinker’s will and faith. This kind of prayer is heard by the spirits wherever they are, they communicate with each other, they send us their inspirations. This is the scientific view. 

 

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  (Mark 11: 24).

 

                Some people question the effectiveness of prayer on the grounds that, as God knows all our needs, it is useless to tell Him what they are. Those who think this, say that seeing that everything in the Universe is linked together by eternal laws, then our desires cannot change God's laws. There is no doubt there are natural and immutable laws which cannot be broken by the simple wish of each individual;

That reminds me of a film that some of you might have seen it. Bruce Almighty. A comedy where God (played by Morgan Freeman) give his powers to a normal man (Jim Carrrey) and The man grants everybody’s wishes and everything becomes a mess.

So it’s definitely a good thing that the divine laws cannot be broken by individual needs, but from this fact to the belief that all circumstances in life are submitted to fatality is a long step.

 If it was like that, then Man would be a passive instrument without free-will or initiative. In this hypothesis it would only remain for Man to bowdown his head in submission before everything that happens, without making any effort to avoid them, and not even try to escape from danger. God did not give us reason and intelligence for us not to use them;He did not give us willpower for us not to desire things, or gave us activity for us to remain inactive. As we are free to act one way or the other, for ourselves and towards others, the consequences depend on what we do or what we don’t do.  God can accede to certain petitions without destroying the immunity of those laws which govern the whole, as consent is always dependent on His Will.

 

                An easy way to start to understand the action played by prayer is this: Prayers do not remove the wrong from us, but turn us away from our bad thoughts which cause us harm. The prayers in no way do not prevent the fulfilling of God's laws, nor do they suspend the course of the laws of Nature. Our spiritual guides stop us from infringing these laws by guiding our free will. Yet they act by default, in an imperceptible manner, so as not to suppress

 our freewill.

                We find ourselves in the position of someone who asks for good counsel and then puts it into action; but we are always free to follow the advice or not. God desires it to be like this, so that we can have responsibility for our actions, thereby leaving us the merit of the choice between good and evil.This is what we can always be sure of obtaining if we asks fervently, and this is the kind of situation where, above all, the words "Ask and it shall be given" can be applied.Could not the effects of prayer bring immense results? It has been reserved for Spiritism to prove its action through the revelation of the relationship existing between the physical and spiritual worlds. Prayer is recommended by all the Spirits. To quit it is to ignore the benevolence of God; it is to reject His assistance for us and for others the good that we can do. So the ultimately, the responsibility rests in our hands.

 “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

 

Prayer is always acceptable to God when dictated by the heart, because intention is everything in His eyes; and the prayer of the heart is preferable to one read from a book, however beautiful it may be, if read with the lips rather than with the thought. Prayer is acceptable to God when it is offered with faith, fervour, and sincerity; Jesus said, “Believe that you have received it, and it will be yours”

 

We may pray for ourselves or for others, for the living or for the dead. Prayers addressed to God are heard by those Spirits who are charged with the execution of His will. All those addressed to good Spirits are referred to God. When someone prays to beings other than God, these are serving as mediators or intercessors, because nothing can happen without God's wishes.

 

                The prayers of a Christian, of a Spiritist, or of whatever cult, must be made as soon as they wake up, this prayer should humble and profound, in an impulse of gratitude for all the many benefits received till that day; for the night just past during which it was permitted, although without knowing, to get close to friends and guides so as to be able to absorb new strength and more perseverance through this contact. You should lift yourself up humbly to the feet of the Lord, so as to offer up your weaknesses, plead for help, indulgence and mercy. This prayer should be profound, because it is your soul that should raise itself up to the Creator. Your prayer should include a request for His blessings for all those things you really need. Therefore it is useless to ask the Lord to shorten your tests and trials, or to give you happiness and riches. Preferably ask for more precious items, such as patience, resignation and faith. Do not say,as many do, "It is not worth praying because God does not answer my prayers." In most cases what do you ask Him for?

               

 

You should pray constantly without seeking your chapel or falling on your knees in public.

Daily prayer is the fulfillment of your duty without any exception of any kind whatsoever. Is it not an act of love towards God when you help your brothers and sisters in any moral or physical need? It is an act of gratitude to lift up your thoughts to Him when something happy occurs, when you avoid an accident, or even when some simple triviality grazes our soul. So do not forget to say:

 

Blessed be my Father in Heaven! Is it not an act of repentance to humble yourself before the

Supreme Judge when you feel yourself weakening, even if only by means of a short thought, so as to say: Forgive me, Father, for l have sinned (from pride, selfishness or lack of charity); give me the strength not to fail again and courage to make reparation for my fault!

 

                This is quite apart from regular morning and evening prayer and those for sacred days. As you see, prayer can be for all moments without interrupting your activities. On the contrary, in this manner it sanctifies them. You can be sure that just one of these thoughts, if sent from the heart, is listened to by our Celestial Father even more than those long repetitious prayers said out of habit and almost always without any determined motive behind them only because the habitual hour is calling mechanically - V. MONOD (Bordeaux, 1862).

1 Thessalonians 5:18 

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

                I would like to finish my presentation by telling you a story narrated by Divaldo Franco on his last visit to New Zealand in October last year

Divaldo is one of the most renowned Spiritists mediums, disseminators and public speaker.  Before he finished his lecture he shared his experience in a congress in Berlin a few years ago. Although he presented a lecture with polemic topic to a very skeptical audience it went really well and he was very grateful, so grateful that he started to pray. At that moment his Spiritual guide, Joanna de Angelis, asked him:  “-Are you happy my child? “ And he said:

“- Yes. I am so happy and I am thanking God for the good thing that just happened.”

 - Very good. From now one you should also remember pray for the bad things that do not happen to you. Joanna said.

One year later, in a different occasion in London, Divaldo told the story to the audience at the end of a lecture.

During the autograph signing session, a Scottish lady approached Divaldo and said:

“-Mr. Franco, when I pray , I pray for the good things that happened, the bad things that didn’t happened and the bad things that happened.”

“- Oh really?”  He said.

She replied: “-yes, because the bad things that happen to me are the ones that I deserve so I thank God for them because they make me grow and evolve.”

So from then on Divaldo says he thanks God for the good things that happen, the bad things that don’t happen and for the bad things that do happen, because life is an amazing experience, and the our biggest challenge as human beings is overcoming our own imperfections.”

 

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