Greetings and good morning brothers and sisters This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series
where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years,
the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them
with you. This morning we seek to understand the guidance in prayer.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Guidance In Prayer
Jesus said, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the
flesh is weak." Matthew, Chapter 26, Verse 41.
Brothers and sisters, in today's broadcast, we shall consider the guidance in prayer. We know that
prayer is a function of the spiritual nature of man, though this function may not be recognized by the
material mind, whose encounter with material reality has become hard pressed such that it cries out
for help. In order to understand how prayer guides, we must understand the function of prayer and
the nature of spiritual guidance and leading. To help us in our understanding we will again resort to
our old but dependable material analogies to help our material minds grasp these spiritual meanings
that we are desirous of capturing.
A material family consists of parents and children. Now these children come into the world devoid
of knowledge of how to find their way in this world. A relatively long period of time is consumed
before they are competent to take their place in adult society. During this process, a tremendous
amount of information must be imparted and absorbed. The child’’s goal is to become a responsible
and productive member of society. In order for the growing child to accomplish this, there must be
an example set, and instructions given as to how to follow the example. The example is the standard
and represents leadership, as the growing child becomes more and more capable of pursuing the
standard. The instruction given for reaching the standard is the guidance.
Therefore, it becomes apparent that the roles parents play in this process are critical, for they must
provide the standard as well as the instruction for reaching the standard. As the child begins to
progress, the child gradually grasps more and more of the standard as well as acquiring the skill and
the ability to reach the standard. When this process is working correctly the child makes consistent
progress towards the goal until that day when he assumes his place in adult society. We are assuming
that the child desires to cooperate with the program of living. But not all children arrive at adulthood
with the correct training. Some of them arrive ill prepared to assume the responsibilities and ill
prepared to be productive citizens of society. There has been some sort of failure in their training.
Either the goal was not properly set, or the guidance was not correctly given. In a few cases, the child
may be incapable of following the leading and guidance of his parents.
Another material example demonstrating guidance and leading is the case of a car following another
car to a destination that the car following may not know. And we are all familiar with this example.
The car that is leading knows the way to the destination. It has all the necessary information that it
requires. It is familiar with the way to the destination having traveled there before and in some cases
many times. The car following is guided by following the leading car. And it does this by paying
strict attention to the route that the leading car is taking. It makes notes of all the turns and stops. It
makes sure that it does not get ahead of the leading car. It must do what the leading car does. When
the leading car stops for a break, it must stop for a break also. When the leading car resumes the trip,
it must resume also. It must adjust its speed so that the lead car does not get to far ahead, least he
lose sight of it.
Now we come to the spiritual guidance of prayer. Prayer is the instrument that guides the soul along
the pathway of divine perfection. The values and meanings of this journey are made available
through the guidance of prayer. The Father's spirit is leading the souls up through the progressive
values and meanings. The soul, just beginning its journey, must follow these leadings and acquire
the values and meanings of the journey. Prayer is the soul's expression of its unutterable longings
and desires. Someday it too must take its place in the spiritual universe as a perfected spirit, with its
supreme responsibility to the Father.
But prayer as it is realized by the material mind consists of requests, and initially these requests are
material and selfish. As the soul continues to develop and grow, the nature of these prayers gradually
changes as the material mind becomes spiritualized. These petitions change from a selfish and
materialistic nature to an unselfish and spiritual nature. As the soul continues its growth into the
depths of the Father's values, these increasing explorations of infinite values begin to yield
increasingly spiritual meanings in the mind. And as you might imagine, as the soul follows these
leadings, it needs guidance, which is furnished by the Spirit of Truth.
This Spirit of Truth guides the soul into the values of the Father, away from evil and error. Such a
process is recognized in the mind because the nature of prayer changes. We all know this from
experience. As we continue to pray, we realize that regardless of whether we receive an answer to
our petitions, our prayers gradually shifted away from selfish and material pursuits to that which is
unselfish and spiritual. This is a process that continues until we cross the spirit threshold in our souls
whereby our prayers take on the nature of requests for spiritual values as we interact with our
brothers and sisters: prayers are now realized in our minds as petitions for moral and spiritual
growth. We seek to represent the Father to our brothers and sisters through His Spirit of truth. This
Spirit of Truth reveals conduct that is acceptable to the Father. Ultimately the function of prayer is
to teach the soul how to do the Father's will, how to become godlike. And as the soul matures, it
moves away from its material environment of its conception, the environment of evil, and moves
toward the spiritual nature of its creator, the environment of goodness.
In the praying spiritualized mind, the meanings of the divine values continue to accumulate, and the
mind is filled with faith, trust, and hope. These are the qualities that the Father imparts to provide
comfort through the struggle. Thus we also see that prayer is sustaining. It prevents the self from
sinking into despair. No matter what depths the material self descends on the elevator of suffering
and pain, the praying mind will always be found to have faith, trust, and hope. This raises the spirit
of the soul so that it knows that it will one day transcend the material vehicle of its inception. The
self knows that one day it will be delivered from the afflictions of material life. Until then every
effort is made to comprehend the divine values and meanings that are concealed even in this
Finally, we must never allow the circumstances life to derail us; rather should we go bravely through
them, extracting those values and meanings that will spiritually deliver us. We should always
continue to pray the way Jesus recommended:
". . . Men ought always to pray and not become discouraged." The Father has not forgotten us, nor
is he powerless. In due time, the growth of the soul under the guidance of prayer will aid us in
comprehending the values of love, patience, mercy and forgiveness, and then will the satisfying and
justifying meanings of these now recognized values emerge in the material mind. Those who look
upon the suffering soul and who comprehend such things will be astounded at the spectacle of his
ever-increasing display of the fruits of the spirit. And this counsel of prayer will sooner or later guide
us through the material life and will one day deposit us into the very presence of the heavenly Father
on Paradise. What a glorious and unending happy day that will be.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the guidance of prayer. We hope
you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.