Questions and Answers from Joel

Many of us enjoy the classes in which Joel answers questions from students.  Sometimes the question is one that we ourselves might have asked.  Other times it is one that might not have occurred to us, but which we find interesting, and we are curious about how Joel will answer it.

On this page of our website, on the first and third Saturdays of the month, we will post a new question and answer from one of Joel’s classes or books.  We trust that you will find these interesting, helpful, and sometimes an answer to just what is on your mind.

You can access previously posted questions by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.

To download or print this Q and A, click here.

Posted on 8/1/20:

This excerpt is from The Contemplative Life, Chapter 10, “Meditation on a Life by Grace.” It is posted with kind permission from Acropolis Books.

Q:  If God is present; if God already knows my need; if it is God’s good pleasure to give me the Kingdom; then why am I not experiencing it?

A:  The only answer to that question is that instead of recognizing that God is; that God is present where you are; that God already knows your need; and that it is His good pleasure to give you the Kingdom, you have perhaps gone way off somewhere trying to find God, trying to get God-power, trying to discover what you can do to bring God into your experience.  You have been looking in the wrong direction. You have been looking where God is not; that is, where God is not as far as your immediate demonstration of harmony is concerned.

Moreover, you are perhaps expecting God to give you health, supply, companionship, or home, and if you are, you are praying amiss.  The Master is very clear on that point: “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.[1] . . . If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”[2]  Abide in what words?  The word that God is, and that God is where you are; that God does know your need and gives it to you freely, and that your function is to relax and to be a beholder, letting God’s grace unfold.

Being infinite, God cannot give you anything but Himself, and when you pray for something other than God, you are praying amiss.  When you pray to God for health, for peace on earth, for supply, for home, or for companionship, you are praying like the pagans who began this whole practice of that kind of petitionary prayer thousands of years ago.

There is only one legitimate thing for which to pray to God and that is for the realization of God’s presence and God’s power.  It is legitimate to ask God to give you Himself, but nothing else.  As a matter of fact, there is nothing else anyone could need or want.  When you have attained the realization of God’s Self, you will recognize how wise and true was the Master’s statement, “All these things shall be added unto you.”[3]  Only be sure that you are not taking thought for these things, and that your whole desire is for the understanding of God:

Where I am, God is; and God knows all about me.  He knows my need before I do, and it is His good pleasure to give me the Kingdom.  I will relax and rest in His word; I will not seek to use a God-power, nor will I seek to influence God.

As you go through the day, discords will most likely present themselves to you, and oftentimes they will be in the form of erroneous persons.  If so, you will be called upon to realize that in the presence of God, there is only the person of God’s creating.  At other times, evil may present itself to you as some kind of a negative law: a law of matter, weather, or climate, and it will be necessary for you to know that inasmuch as God is Spirit and infinite, the only law must be spiritual law.

When your prayer is a complete relaxing in the Word, you are fulfilling the requirements of prayer, the prayer which is a realization of God’s presence and power.

[1] Matthew 6:25
[2] John 15:7
[3] Matthew 6:33

Previously Posted Questions and Answers

7/18/20: What is the difference, if any, between realization and illumination?

7/4/20: Please explain the term “the Christ” as it is used in our work.

6/20/20: How do we specifically annul the belief of heredity?

6/6/20:  How can I truly believe in medicines and [other] cures, and continue to [use them], secretly having a belief that they will ease and cure aches and pains?

5/16/20: Are trials proof of God’s care?

5/2/20: Please explain your statement “Realization is demonstration.”

4/18/20: Why do so many people who never think seriously of God or spiritual things find success and happiness and very often experience few or no problems?

4/4/20: Why is there so much sin, disease, death, and war on earth if there is such a God as is taught in the churches? Why are there crippled or stillborn children? 

3/21/20: Why should a person be “on the mountain top,” and then down in the depths?

3/7/20: Do we lose our identity when we return to God? 

2/15/20: Why is it that I have been studying for so long and achieved so little result? 

2/1/20: Please tell us something about the Transfiguration.

1/18/20: When we turn to God, when we are seeking divine guidance in our daily affairs, how do we know whether or not it is divine guidance?

1/4/20: Would you please explain in your own words this statement: “When we can look at a problem without running from it or struggling against it, this very problem ceases to exist”?

To view questions and answers posted in 2019, click here.
To view questions and answers posted in 2018, click here.
To view questions and answers posted in 2017, click here.
To view questions and answers posted in 2016, click here.