One of my favourite Christians is Frank Laubach, whose literacy program “Each One Teach One” taught 60 million people to read. I cannot speak too highly of his little book, “Prayer, the Mightiest Force in the World.”
Here is his account of his transforming mystical experience–and its aftermath. Note how God blesses him all at once with the gift of words.
Note too how simple this experience is–how replicatable by anyone who seeks God.
From Letters by a Modern Mystic.
May 24th, 1930 This has been a week of wonders. God is at work everywhere preparing the way for his work in Lanao. I shall tell you some of the wonders presently.
But just at this moment you must hear more of this sacred evening. The day had been rich but strenuous, so I climbed “Signal Hill” back of my house talking and listening to God all the way up, all the way back, all the lovely half hour on the top.
And God talked back! I let my tongue go loose and from it there flowed poetry far more beautiful than any I ever composed. It flowed without pausing and without ever a failing syllable for a half hour. I listened astonished and full of joy and gratitude. I wanted a Dictaphone for I knew that I should not be able to remember it–and now I cannot.
“Why,” someone may ask, “did God waste his poetry on you alone, when you could not carry it home.” You will have to ask God that question. I only know He did and I am happy in the memory.
Below me lay the rice fields and as I looked across them I heard my tongue saying aloud, “Child, just as the rice needs the sunshine every day, and could not grow if it had sun only once a week or one hour a day, so you need me all day of every day. People over all the world are withering because they are open toward God only rarely. Every waking minute is not too much.”
A few months ago I was trying to write a chapter on the “discovering of God.” Now that I have discovered Him I find that it is a continuous discovery. Every day is rich with new aspects of Him and His working. As one makes new discoveries about his friends by being with them, so one discovers the “individuality” of God if one entertains him continuously.
One thing I have seen this week is that God loves beauty. Everything he makes is lovely. The clouds, the tumbling river, the waving lake, the soaring eagle, the slender blade of grass, the whispering of the wind, the fluttering butterfly, this graceful transparent nameless child of the lake which clings to my window for an hour and vanishes for ever. Beautiful craft of God!
And I know that He makes my thought–life beautiful when I am open all the day to Him. If I throw these mind–windows apart and say to God, “what shall we think of now?” he answers always in some graceful, tender dream.
And I know that God is love hungry, for he is constantly pointing me to some dull, dead soul which he has never reached and wistfully urges me to help Him reach that stolid, tight shut mind. Oh God, how I long to help you with these Moros. And with these Americans! And with these Filipinos! All day I see souls dead to God look sadly Out of hungry eyes. I want them to know my discovery! That any minute can be paradise, that any place can be heaven! That any man can have God! That every man does have God the moment he speaks to God, or listens for him!
As I analyse myself I find several things happening to me as a result of these two months of strenuous effort to keep God in mind every minute. This concentration upon God is strenuous, but everything else has ceased to be so.
I think more clearly, I forget less frequently. Things which I did with a strain before, I now do easily and with no effort whatever. I worry about nothing, and lose no sleep. I walk on air a good part of the time. Even the mirror reveals a new light in my eyes and face. I no longer feel in a hurry about anything. Everything goes right. Each minute I meet calmly as though it were not important. Nothing can go wrong excepting one thing. That is that God may slip from my mind if I do not keep on my guard. If He is there, the universe is with me. My task is simple and clear.
And I witness to the way in which the world reacts. Take Lanao and the Moros for illustration. Their responsiveness is to me a continuous source of amazement. I do nothing that I can see excepting to pray for them, and to walk among them thinking of God. They know I am a Protestant. Yet two of the leading Moslem priests have gone around the province telling everybody that I would help the people to know God.