Prayer is talking to God and waiting for His reply in silence.
When most people pray, they talk to God but don’t wait for a reply. The old-fashioned way of prayer is to tell God what to do, what not to do, how he should run his creation or what he should do for you. The answer is not important for you, so long as you have said your bit. Valid prayer is where you talk to God, but the next stage is that you have to remain in silence and wait for a response, and that is the real part of prayer.
First of all, the Being of Light is a replica of the God-self within you and is the point of your Divine contact with the universal God-being; you can pray to God by invoking the Being of Light within you.
When you pray with understanding, it immediately brings the energy of the Light inside you; it’s like a connecting formula and you connect to the Being of Light within you, because all prayer is addressed to the Being of Light and that is what responds. The God-self within you will respond to your prayer, provided that it’s right, correct and understood.
Pray to the Being of Light within you, in silence and in secret and then sit still and wait for the reply, which is an impression, and try to register that impression. The Being of Light will hear your prayer and you will receive a reply but you need to develop receptivity in silence. Registering an impression as a response from the Being of Light is the most difficult part for most people because you have to switch from your mind into the Heart. Actually, all prayer should be done in the Heart because from there you receive the impression of the response.
When people pray they don’t realize that they are setting forth into motion, tremendous cosmic realities. When you pray you are expressing how your mind is relating to the whole Cosmos and you can use that intelligent faculty to get a proper reply. If you wait for that reply within the Heart you will receive an answer to your prayer that will tell you the truth of it.
Prayer ideally should only be for spiritual things, not for material things, but it does not mean that you cannot pray for material things, although you must know that spiritual things liberate you and material things bind you. Prayer is a very powerful tool of getting things but you should know how to pray, to whom to pray and what to pray for. It’s not just enough to pray and leave it at that because you’re invoking some tremendous cosmic forces when you pray, so, you have to pray scientifically and intelligently.
You have to be intelligent enough to know that any material condition you pray for you can receive, but it can mean further bondage. Prayer must be intelligent. First decide what you want to pray for; do you want to be further bound by material conditions and worldly life, or do you want to be free from them? Are you going to work for your liberation or your bondage?
If you’re intelligent you have to know whom to pray to, what to pray for and how to pray. The ideal condition is to pray to the Being of Light within you and only pray for holy things which will liberate you, such as truth, love, wisdom, understanding and greater expansion of your life — in other words that which will develop you spiritually, not take you further down. Obviously you should pray for something which is of a progressive nature and the most pure way of prayer is to ask for nothing personal but that you are one with the Divine, that you understand the Divine Nature and Essence.
Even if you pray for the wrong things, sometimes the Being of Light will give you an impression that it is the wrong thing, but other times the Being of Light will give it to you and then you will learn from that lesson that it was the wrong thing.
The real essence of prayer is in the reply because you only learn from the reply. If you’re not prepared to listen to the Being of Light within you, or God, then you shouldn’t pray at all because you’re not learning anything and it’s a waste of time.
If you pray centred in your Heart, most of the time you will be on the right track, because the Heart is a cleaning, clearing process and already knows what’s right for you. The highest form of prayer is Heart-action, something which comes out of your Heart, not even words, but a feeling, a movement in the Heart, radiating out towards Divine Consciousness. It’s an act of pure love, adoration, devotion, joy, ecstasy; you suddenly feel an incredible thanksgiving or flood of love coming from your Heart towards the Divine Nature, the fact that God exists.
So, the highest form of prayer is not verbal prayer, not mental prayer, but simply an action of the Heart, and when you learn to pray like that you always pray ecstatically, silently and invisibly.
You don’t have to have outward symbolic gestures of bowing your head, getting on your knees, being upside down or in any strange postures; those are just external shows. This Heart Prayer can happen in any condition, invisibly, inside you.
It just goes on inside you. You may be walking, sitting or talking, and nobody will know that you are praying inside because it’s a non-verbal, silent, Heart-action. That is the highest form of prayer, of course, and not many people are capable of it because you have to go beyond the mind, and beyond asking and demanding things.
It’s simply an outpouring of gratitude inside the Heart and that form of prayer gives intense joy, elevation and inner radiation.
Excerpt from 1561 NZ 1993 Retreat – Western Mysteries