Read CHAPTER XXIII of The Right Knock A Story , free online book, by Helen Van-Anderson, on ReadCentral.com.

“More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day,
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round world is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.”

Tennyson.

“MARLOW, September, .

“Dear Husband:

“Your letter was so full of interest. How glad, oh how rejoiced I am that we are privileged to know this beautiful truth. Don’t you ever feel like stopping in the midst of your work and giving thanks that you were born in this age? As my eyes open more and more to God’s goodness and love and power, I am so full of thanks, there is no room for petitions; indeed, I should feel as though I were begging, to ask God for what He has already given me, and of course He gives every child alike, being ‘no respecter of persons.’ Just think of it: ’Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.’ Negative thought, carnal mind can not know these things, but as we are cleansed and purified, the new baptism ‘creates in us a new heart,’ the loving child’s heart turned to its father, and love shall teach us more and more to read the signs of love.

“Oh, divine mystery of childhood, of parenthood, that brings us into closer and sweeter knowledge of our Father whose love is infinite. Out of the deep silence around us, filled as it is with the all-abiding presence of God, may we ask for a manifestation of whatever gift we choose to have. These thoughts filled my mind as I went to class this afternoon, and what was my surprise and pleasure to find the lesson to be on the subject of prayer.

“There is no theme or word so constantly in the mind and on the lips of the Christ follower as prayer. The oft-repeated injunction of Jesus was, ‘watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation.’ ‘Pray without ceasing.’ As we study more closely into the life of the Master, we find him on all occasions communing with the Father in prayer. Thus we find that this is the most sacred and necessary of all branches of our daily work.

“Prayer is the natural turning of the better self to God, in the attitude of thankfulness, praise, supplication or voiceless desire. ’It must be the spontaneous and almost irrepressible outpouring of the thoughts and feelings of the soul into the listening ear of a present God,’ said an earnest thinker.

“To what wonderful depths and heights our prayers lead us when they are thus spontaneous and irrepressible! How well David has expressed the gratitude, the holy trust and majestic praise common to every devout child of God. ‘The Lord is my shepherd,’ is blessed affirmation of supreme trust, the naming of God’s glorious gifts, the gratitude for peace, life, love, protection, friendship, all the heavenly blessings of God’s presence in God’s house. In this wonderful psalm we find, no doubt, no thought of waiting for future blessings, but a grand outpouring of thankfulness for the present. There are no petitions, no supplications, no reserves of praise, but simply the glad recognition and appreciation of the omnipresence and omnipotence of Good.

“It was the same feeling, tempered with a deeper solemnity, that prompted Jesus to say ‘Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me,’ as he was about to perform the mighty miracle of raising Lazarus.

“Thanks signify the accomplishment of the desire. His request of the Father was granted before he had even preferred it, for he knew the law and realized it that God is life and knows not death but the form of words was observed because that makes the law a visible fact.

“Father is the human naming for this divine Love that ever waits for the spoken word in order to be revealed. To Jesus it was the dearest and best name of all by which to address or speak to the one great Helper, Guide, Friend. ‘Father, I thank thee,’ was often on his lips, and it was to the ‘Father who seeth in secret’ that he bade his disciples pray.

“In the secret consciousness of oneness with the Father there may be no reservations, no concealments, no hypocritical bigotry, no thought of self, only a glad going out with all our heart and soul to the Father, a trustful acknowledgment of the Good. This is the attitude of true prayer.

“The devout soul is always praying, because it consciously lives with God. There are times of praise, adoration, extolment, when thankfulness is more exuberant, runs over into bursting joy, and times when longing desire carries us into the very bosom of God. We long for comfort, for love, for peace, with an unutterable agony of longing, and are met with an unutterable joy of satisfaction, if we but turn to Him and acknowledge, but an indispensable preliminary to prayer is fasting. The power of accomplishment in fasting and prayer equals a decree.

“The conditions upon which hinge our use of the divine power are, first,’putting away iniquity’ fasting; second, turning to God prayer. Then comes the power to decree; then we see the truth of Jesus’ promise: ’All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them.’ Then we look into the face of the Almighty and reflect the same power, are able to do a like work, make visible the things of His creation by speaking the word of acknowledgment, that they are already established.

“It was this kind of prayer that enabled the disciples to heal the sick, cast out demons and do all the wonderful works. Failure was simply a sign of unfaithfulness in prayer. ‘Oh, ye of little faith!’ was the Master’s explanatory exclamation.

“Here was a most essential requisite faith in the Father, who alone is the power; faith and trust in the invisible All. Why do we pray so much with no answer to even our most devout aspirations? Because, like the disciples, we have too little faith.

“The heart-weary mother has prayed for her son, and he still goes the ‘broad way that leadeth to destruction,’ as she thinks; but for her heart-weariness, which is but lack of faith, he might have been turned into ‘paths of righteousness.’ With her mind continually burdened with fear, dire forebodings and anxious doubts, she has asked, begged, beseeched the mighty Ruler of destinies to soften the heart of her wayward boy. Thankfulness that God has given to her child the common inheritance to all possible blessings, a pure spiritual nature, the reflection of the All-Good, has never entered her thought to express. Her mind is divided between a conception of good and a conception of its opposite evil. The result is years of hopeless praying, years of hopeless waiting. ‘A house divided against itself can not stand.’

“‘Pray, believing that ye have received.’ Thus, ’I thank Thee, Father, for the perfect reflection of Thyself in my son. He is whole because he lives in and of Thy wholeness. I thank Thee that Thou hast already done more than I could ask. ‘It is finished.’ Into Thy hands I commend my all.’

“In this is the simple recognition of the All-Father, His love and His omnipotence. And after this, what? Trust unwavering, childlike trust. So the burden is truly ‘cast upon the Lord,’ evil is overcome, swallowed up in the Good.

“With such mighty faith, what a cleansing there would be! what a sincere, glad rejoicing that the true relation between God and man were proven, for faith is the bond between the invisible and the visible, a ‘basis of things hoped for, a conviction of things unseen.’

“With what devoutness, then, would we name the needs and aspirations? With what certainty would we assert that we have ‘already received?’ Not far off in the intangible somewhere, but here, there, everywhere may we find the Good, and ’he that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.’

“To dwell in the secret place, in the pure and righteous thought, is to be always under the protection of the Most High. To be able to say, ’He is my refuge and my fortress,’ is the grand privilege given to the heir of the King, the heir that has come to the full knowledge of his inheritance and thankfully uses it.

“‘The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,’ wrote the wise and righteous James. There is an infinite promise of the fulfillment of righteousness in these words. They contain the key to all accomplishment or all failure. The righteous man is one who ’walketh righteously, speaketh uprightly, stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, shutteth his eyes from seeing evil’ (prayer and fasting). The righteous man decrees magnificently and trusts infinitely. He does not approach God like a cringing servant, licking the dust at his master’s feet, but like a Prince who enters his Father’s presence with the simple statement of his wants, and knowing his Father’s will takes the glorious gift with thanksgiving and praise.

“Is it health he would have manifested for himself or his neighbor? He confidently acknowledges the health, even though he can not see it, the health with which all humanity is endowed, if it would claim its endowment. Is it peace, power, strength he desires, he again goes to the royal treasury. With the right word he climbs the stair of heaven; with the right faith he enters his Father’s house, where all things abound.

“The righteous man is of one mind, the divine Mind that works through him. Were all the praying world of one mind, think you a Lincoln would have been martyred, a Garfield sacrificed, or tender little children lost to our sight?

“God is the same forever. There is no inharmony to come from Harmony. Be of one mind; let the divine Mind work through you; acknowledge only the divine creation, and then all beliefs in the opposite of God will be destroyed. The immaculate Christ (Truth) destroys the works of the evil (error) to-day, even as in the far away centuries of the past, ’if so be you let the Mind that was in Christ Jesus be in you.’

“The practical naming of daily prayer is denial and affirmation, denying evil or undesirable conditions, and acknowledging the Good or absolute.

“’Being is the vast affirmative excluding negation, self-balanced and swallowing up all relations, parts and times within itself. Nature, truth, virtue, are the influx from thence,’ said Emerson, noting the absoluteness of that which is. To become one with this affirmative Allness, is to manifest the affirmative condition of Being.

“Paul says in Titus: ’The grace of God hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world;’ and in the next chapter, referring to the same subject: ’This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which hath believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.’

“There is no ceasing of this most necessary process. It is only by denying and affirming constantly that we fast and pray, thus fitting ourselves for the cleansing ministry. It is to ’be diligent in season and out of season,’ if we would gain the true reflection from Omnipotence.

What the sun is to the flower,
Thou to us art every hour;
Like the dew on lily’s breast
Fall all blessings from the Best.
Not alone in day would we
Turn our faces, Lord, to Thee,
But through lowering clouds of night
Would reflect Thy radiant light;
Thanking Thee for all Thy care,
May our lives be filled with prayer.

“What an outpouring there was in the silence after this. Such a flood of reverence and trustfulness filled my heart, and instantly it flashed upon me that God requires no outward forms or ceremonies of His children, except they be the spontaneous and involuntary expression of an overflowing heart.

“Kneeling in prayer was first prompted by reverence and not the servile form into which it has too much degenerated. A form is only a sign at best. If there is nothing to prompt the sign, what a mockery it is! Truly, ‘the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life.’

“Exactly how these thoughts came to me I can not tell, but after the silence I knew by a great and sudden wave of understanding, things that I had never thought of before, and to attempt to tell them would be like trying to catch the sunshine. The hint I have tried to give seems very far from the reality of my experience but what are words compared to thoughts, anyway!... My heart is too full. I know now what ‘inexpressible’ means.

“Good bye, with love to all.

“MARION.

“P. S. I had just finished my letter when Mrs. Dawn and Miss Singleton came in. They too, had something wonderful in the silence. It seems too sacred to tell, but to you three who are so earnestly seeking the way of Truth, I can say what might seem sacrilege to the thoughtless world. Miss Singleton had realized in those few moments the inexpressible meaning of the Lord’s prayer. ‘Why,’ she said, ’why, if we could realize what it means, there would be no more sickness, sin or death. It seemed to me the very heavens opened, and I looked upon a broad white shining light like a path, only it was broadened and broadened as I looked, till it became wide enough to cover the whole earth. This is to be wherever the kingdom has come upon earth. Wherever the thoughts are heavenly and pure there the Father is, there heaven, wholeness, health are, and I could realize that the light is here, but ignorance keeps it veiled, so that verily the ’light shineth in darkness but the darkness comprehendeth it not.’ Talk of sickness, trouble, sorrow, why, they are nothing! The light is here, the kingdom of heaven has come, and been here all the time. Jesus knew it, but he had to use language they could understand. He knew if they prayed faithfully in that spirit, bye and bye the spiritual meanings would flash upon them. Oh, how much, how much it means! I can never lose this, for it means unutterable things, and I know there is no reality in sickness for I am well!’

“Miss Singleton is, or has been troubled for years with heart disease and a slight curvature of the spine.

“It was not very light in the room, and I had not noticed her figure particularly, but as she spoke, her face fairly shone with a heavenly light (I can think of nothing else to describe it), and she was straight as any one! She declared over and over that she was well, but more than all else she appreciated the spiritual uplifting and knowledge that had come.

“Mrs. Dawn had no special revelation to-day, but she seems to be unfolding most beautifully. We talked a long time, and then sat in the silence. They have just gone. How I wish I could see you, but it is late and I must again close. Give my love to Grace and Kate. I am so glad Kate is getting into the light. I felt she would be all right after she begun. Of course, Kate, you will read this, but you will not care, I am sure.

“M. H.”