(Permission has been granted by Mrs. Egenberger to quote Chapter Two of her book, "Journey Into Faith")
"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see."
From the Hymn Amazing Grace by John Newton
In my spiritual conversion which soon followed my finding Divine Truth, I remember no single soul shaking moment of grand revelation or sudden awareness of sublimity. At those times however--and there have been many--when I've been blessed by the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer with an inflowing into my soul of the Father's Divine Love, something supremely stirring and all consuming took place within me. My simple words can never impart to another the full scope of each experience. Both physical and mental, of both body and soul, it is always emotional. I can think only of God, how I love and worship Him and how totally He now has charge over my life; how blessed I am.
These are indeed the most profound and private times I have ever known. Only another who has received into his or her soul some of the Divine Essence of Love--the Substance which brings us into the at-onement with God--can understand what transpires. I will relate what has occurred for me but others must construe what they may from my description of events and my reactions to each one.
In the words of a friend who was blessed by the Holy Spirit, "Can one really describe an ecstasy of the soul?" This particular happening has no counterpart; it is unmatched among human events. But once it occurs, one knows beyond any doubt what the "new heart" really is. There is no mistaking it for anything else.
Because each episode stems directly from the Father, it actually results only from communion in prayer of a human soul with the Divine Oversoul. I see the one way to understand it: reception of the blessing of Divine Love. For me it is an unprecedented life occurrence and there is nothing to which I can compare it.
We humans tend to be critical or afraid of things we can't comprehend; events outside our experience. For those who have never received a Divine Love Blessing, this Divine Enfoldment remains a mystery. To them it is something unknown and knowing it is beyond the workings of finite minds with which are formed human hypotheses. Nor can the emotions involved and reactions to the inflow be explained completely.
My own soul enrichment began with the first inflowing of the Father's Love into my soul many years ago. Before this occurred, I had to develop more love for God and more faith in Him. I put confusion and doubt aside, replacing them with hope and firmer belief in His Goodness. I really talked to myself about this and I prayed a lot, too. I found my past reading and studying helped in this.
With the discovery of Divine Truth, frequent prayer to know God and to understand what He wanted for me as His child moved me, in time, out of ignorance. I entered into new belief and absolute faith--that undeniable inner knowing.
The longing to become better acquainted with the Father struck at some strange times--during the day at work, while performing my household tasks, shopping for groceries, in conversation with people and during the night when I awakened from sleep. When it came, I always responded with an intense prayer to know God better and to be shown the way to true spirituality--much more than just the human concept of morality. Some of these prayers were very brief, but they were there--in my heart and soul.
Prayer didn't come easily at first. I felt awkward: It required practice for the words to come smoothly. It took weeks but in time I realized some results. They were dramatic ones. I prayed more and more often for the Love of God to flow into my soul. I sensed His Love to be an infinitely rare treasure. I also felt physically, as well as emotionally, its effects and was idiotically happy once I began to receive it. My heart sang and a beautiful wonderment filled my waking hours.
You see, by then I knew God exists and I knew beyond any doubt He answers prayer. I can describe it only as my having a marvelous feeling of happiness and excitement coupled with anticipation and inner peace. And I wanted more, much more.
Though I had with my first inflow of Divine Love begun my rebirth process, not all of my weaknesses were strengthened right away or even in hours. Nor were my undesirable habits of thinking, acting and reacting changed overnight. Oh, no! But I knew my spiritual beginning had arrived--in an unexplainable way I felt that only one thing could restrict my reception of the boundless blessings in store for me--my failure to ask and receive.
I realized quickly: Failure to continue my prayers for at-onement with God through receiving His Divine Love would certainly constitute the unforgivable oversight on my part. Truly a sin of omission. God never forces upon anyone His Substance of Divine Love. It comes only in answer to sincere prayer and extreme soul longing to be closer to Him.
Having once tasted Divinity, I knew I would forever crave its increased inflow. It was now the indissoluble bond forever linking me with the Father. I wanted more because I enjoyed so much the new feeling of dependence on something greater than myself--something divine--through a direct line.
It came to mind finally that I was taking leave of the old; a new me was starting to form. Slowly, bit by bit, it would replace the former self. In evidence of this I began to sense subtle changes in my attitudes, values and priorities. Some of these changes surprised even me. Today they continue and I expect they will as long as I remain on earth. And they come so easily with relatively little effort on my part. It is so different than using my will power to change as I have often tried in the past.
In the beginning of this inner changing, there came to me a soothing feeling of spiritual security, impossible to describe. I was sure that no matter how difficult things might become for me, I now had a new way of coping, far superior to my former natural or human resources.
All at once I had found hope, assurance of God's love and comfort never before imagined. Troubles once looming large now seemed almost inconsequential. I recall discussing this with a friend, both of us marveling over it. She and I belonged to the same spiritual study group and told each other about our new experiences concerning prayer for Divine Love and its rewards.
My spiritual perception assures me now that people are wrong who think the music of life here on earth is meant to be a dirge accompanying our ponderous trek to the grave. Or who believe we must at times suffer a joyless or hopeless existence. I know instead we may thrill to the beauty of Spirit's song. In spite of woes in the human condition we can cultivate joyful appreciation for our Father if we let Him lead us with His Love. We have only to find and respond to a close relationship with God through prayer for Divine Love and allow nothing to break that bond, even temporarily. Anyone can learn to fill every human need in some way without exception through the power of divinity.
The bond of having Divine Love in our souls can weaken somewhat in its activation if we fail to refer our needs to God, praying for His Help in all difficulties and believing He will give it unstintingly.
The spiritual ills--the moral collapse--of mankind are self-inflicted. Through my own experience however, I proved that anyone can leave the cocoon of self-indenture, deep in spiritual imperfection, and become a new being--reborn. I know because I did it. And I found that doing so requires no particular station in life nor any special material surroundings. This rebirth is for anyone who seeks it, anytime, anywhere. Heartfelt prayer is the only prerequisite.
There is something else important: I know with certainty that nothing can come between a spiritually aspiring soul and its Maker. Only the aspirant himself can put aside the Gift of Love once it is prayed for and is being received, if he fails to use it as often as he can in all that he does. Only he can fail to translate hope into spiritual faith and trust. Yes, if he fails in these, his failures will indeed come between his God and himself, at least to some degree.
Those who move forward spiritually on earth--fortified with the Father's Divine Love growing in their souls--who make relevant progress--will have put out the necessary calls for God's Help. They will have made continuing efforts in sincere and loving prayers of need and affirmation, then stood by to receive the rewards that ensued.
I will say this at the onset, the truth I found set my spiritual compass needle at true north. At last I knew I was heading in the right direction. The Bible statement, "Fear not, little flock, for it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom," (Luke 12:32) became meaningful and is a thought I have cherished ever since. It summarizes my new life.
(1) I believe firmly in God's existence.
(2) I trust this loving God.
(3) Through prayer, I continue to cultivate a deeper need to know Him better--to have a living soul-relationship with Him.
(4) I pray ardently to receive His Holy Gift of Divine Love.
I sense the inflow periodically of this Love and realize each time more of its benefits. You can do the same. No restrictions are ever placed on any person who seeks God's Divine Love.
PRAYER FOR DIVINE LOVE*
Our Father, who art in heaven, we recognize that Thou art all Holy and loving and merciful, and that we are Thy children, and not the subservient, sinful and depraved creatures that our false teachers would have us believe. That we are the greatest of Thy creation, and the most wonderful of all Thy handiworks, and the objects of Thy great soul's love and tenderest care.
That Thy will is, that we become At-one with Thee and partake of Thy great love which Thou hast bestowed upon us through Thy mercy and desire that we become, in Truth, Thy children, through love, and not through the sacrifice and death of any one of Thy creatures.
We pray that Thou will open up our souls to the inflowing of Thy love, and that then may come Thy Holy Spirit to bring into our souls this, Thy love, in great abundance, until our souls shall be transformed into the very essence of Thyself; and that there may come to us faith-such faith as will cause us to realize that we are truly Thy children and one with Thee in very substance and not in image only.
Let us have such faith as will cause us to know that Thou art our Father, and the bestower of every good and perfect gift, and that only we, ourselves, can prevent Thy love changing us from the mortal to the immortal.
Let us never cease to realize that Thy love is waiting for each and all of us, and that when we come to Thee, in faith and earnest aspiration, Thy love will never be withholden from us.
Keep us in the shadow of Thy love every hour and moment of our lives, and help us to overcome all temptations of the flesh, and the influence of the powers of the evil ones, which so constantly surround us and endeavor to turn our thoughts away from Thee to the pleasures and allurements of this world.
We thank Thee for Thy love and the privilege of receiving it, and we believe that Thou art our Father-the loving Father who smiles upon us in our weakness, and is always ready to help us and take us to Thy arms of love.
We pray thus with all the earnestness and longings of our souls, and trusting in Thy love, give Thee all the glory and honor and love that our finite souls can give.
* From Volume I of TRUE GOSPEL REVEALED ANEW BY JESUS; reprinted with the permission of the Foundation Church of the New Birth.