Chapter Eight: The Journey Back
XI. The Answer to Prayer
107 Everyone who has ever tried to use prayer to request something has experienced what appears to be failure. This is not only true in connection with specific things which might be harmful but also in connection with requests which are strictly in line with this course. The latter, in particular, might be incorrectly interpreted as "proof" that the course does not mean what it says. You must remember, however, that the course does state, and repeatedly, that its purpose is the escape from fear.
108 Let us suppose, then, that what you request of the Holy Spirit is what you really want, but you are still afraid of it. Should this be the case, your attainment of it would no longer be what you want, even if it is. This accounts for why certain specific forms of healing are not achieved, even though the state of healing is. It frequently happens that an individual asks for physical healing because he is fearful of bodily harm. At the same time, however, if he were healed physically, the threat to his thought system would be considerably more fearful to him than its physical expression. In this case he is not really asking for release from fear but for the removal of a symptom which he has selected. This request is, therefore, not for healing at all.
109 The Bible emphasizes that all prayers are answered, and this must be true if no effort is wasted. The very fact that one has asked the Holy Spirit for anything will ensure a response. Yet it is equally certain that no response given by the Holy Spirit will ever be one which would increase fear. It is possible that His answer will not be heard at all. It is impossible, however, that it will be lost. There are many answers which you have already received but have not yet heard. I assure you that they are waiting for you. It is indeed true that no effort is wasted.
110 If you would know your prayers are answered, never doubt a Son of God. Do not question him and do not confound him, for your faith in him is your faith in yourself. If you would know God and His Answer, believe in me whose faith in you cannot be shaken. Can you ask of the Holy Spirit truly and doubt your brother? Believe his words are true because of the truth which is in him. You will unite with the truth in him, and his words will be true. As you hear him, you will hear me. Listening to truth is the only way you can hear it now and finally know it.
111 The message your brother gives you is up to you. What does he say to you? What would you have him say? Your decision about him determines the message you receive. Remember that the Holy Spirit is in him, and His Voice speaks to you through him. What can so holy a brother tell you except truth? But are you listening to it? Your brother may not know who he is, but there is a light in his mind which does know. This light can shine into yours, making his words true and making you able to hear them. His words are the Holy Spirit's answer to you. Is your faith in him strong enough to let you hear?
112 Salvation is of your brother. The Holy Spirit extends from your mind to his and answers you. You cannot hear the Voice for God in yourself alone because you are not alone. And His answer is only for what you are. You will not know the trust I have in you unless you extend it. You will not trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit or believe that it is for you unless you hear it in others. It must be for your brother because it is for you. Would God have created a Voice for you alone? Could you hear His answer except as He answers all of God's Sons? Hear of your brother what you would have me hear of you, for you would not want me to be deceived.
113 I love you for the truth in you, as God does. Your deceptions may deceive you, but they cannot deceive me. Knowing what you are, I cannot doubt you. I hear only the Holy Spirit in you, Who speaks to me through you. If you would hear me, hear my brothers in whom God's Voice speaks. The answer to all prayers lies in them. You will be answered as you hear the answer in everyone. Do not listen to anything else, or you will not hear truth.
114 Believe in your brothers because I believe in you, and you will learn that my belief in you is justified. Believe in me by believing in them for the sake of what God gave them. They will answer you if you learn to ask truth of them. Do not ask for blessings without blessing them, for only in this way can you learn how blessed you are. By following this way, you are looking for the truth in you. This is not going beyond yourself but toward yourself. Hear only God's Answer in His Sons, and you are answered.
115 To disbelieve is to side against or to attack. To believe is to accept and to side with. To believe is not to be credulous but to accept and appreciate. What you do not believe, you do not appreciate, and you cannot be grateful for what you do not value. There is a price you will pay for judgment because judgment is the setting of a price. And as you set it, you will pay it.
116 If paying is equated with getting, you will set the price low but demand a high return. You will have forgotten, however, that [to price is to value, so] your return is in proportion to your judgment of worth. If paying is associated with giving, it cannot be perceived as loss, and the reciprocal relationship of giving and receiving will be recognized. The price will then be set high because of the value of the return. The price for getting is to lose sight of value, making it inevitable that you will not value what you receive. Valuing it little, you will not appreciate it and will not want it.
117 Never forget, then, that you have set the value on what you receive and have priced it by what you give. To believe that it is possible to get much for little is to believe that you can bargain with God. God's laws are always fair and perfectly consistent. By giving you receive. But to receive is to accept, not to get. It is impossible not to have, but it is possible not to know you have. The recognition of having is the willingness for giving, and only by this willingness can you recognize what you have. What you give is therefore the value you put on what you have, being the exact measure of the value you put upon it. And this, in turn, is the measure of how much you want it.
118 You can ask of the Holy Spirit, then, only by giving to Him, and you can give to Him only where you see Him. If you see Him in everyone, consider how much you will be asking of Him and how much you will receive. He will deny you nothing because you have denied Him nothing, and so you can share everything. This is the way, and the only way, to have His answer because His answer is all you can ask for and want. Say, then, to everyone,