Good Morning Beloved!
A blind man walks into a gay women’s bar by mistake. He feels his way to a stool and asks for a bourbon. After sipping awhile, he says, “Hey, anybody here want to hear a blonde joke?”
The whole place goes totally silent.
In a husky, deep voice, a woman says, “Before you tell that joke, Bub, you should know a few things.
One, the bartender is a blonde.
Two, so is the very large bouncer.
Three, I’m a blonde professional wrestler.
Four, The lady sitting next to me is a blonde champion kickboxer.
Five, the woman to your left is a tall, 200 pound weightlifter, also blonde.
So consider it carefully, Mister. Do you really want to tell that blonde joke?”
The blind man thinks for a minute, then shakes his head and says,
“Nah, not if I’m gonna have to explain it five times.”
Welcome to September! Our Power this month is ZEAL! What is zeal? It’s enthusiasm. It’s passion! Charles Fillmore, at age 94, wrote “I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me.”
Get the idea? Let’s say this month’s affirmations together….
This week we want to talk a bit about the World Day of Prayer. World Day of Prayer is one more way we can all help to make a difference in the world, one person at a time. So on Thursday, September 10th, please take a few moments during your day to BE, to be silent and let the power of prayer take over in your heart and mind. Maybe bring to mind the names you submitted to Big Unity for prayer. Maybe bring to mind an affirmation you are using at the moment. Maybe just be quiet and BREATHE!
The theme for this year’s World Day of Prayer is Pray Up Your Life, Pray Up the World. You can feel some ZEAL in that affirmation, can’t you? The affirmation for World Day of Prayer is: As I pray, I connect my highest thoughts with my deepest faith.
Let’s say that together…
Prayer in its simplest form is any conscious attempt to experience the presence of whatever you name that energy or vibration that is ALL,— God, Spirit, Universe, Goddess, Christ, Buddha…, you get the picture. You enter the word you are using to identify with that energy. We all know there is NO word that can truly identify IT. In fact, maybe THAT is why the Israelites didn’t say the name at all….
Prayer can be a deliberate activity—one of seeking to recognize our oneness with God, of opening ourselves to the power of that Divine Spirit as it moves through us in new and wonderful ways.
Once this happens, however, prayer becomes something even more. As our awareness of the presence of God expands, prayer becomes the experience of being part of that Oneness, of centering ourselves directly in the creative flow of the universe, of perceiving things not with human eyes or human ears or human minds but from the divinity within us. We pray not to God or for God, as something separate from us, but from that sacred presence which is our very essence.
And so we come to see that the purpose of prayer is not to fill an earthly need—new car, better relationship, healing—but to satisfy the natural longing in our souls not only to experience our Creator but actually to live from that experience.
“God is in the yearning” as my one mentor would say. And every cell in your body is in THAT yearning.
Even if we pray for specific things, the underlying need is really the need to experience our spirituality, to feel our oneness with our Creator, to sense the comfort and the guidance and the healing that rise up out of opening ourselves to that Energy.
Can “things” ever really satisfy our souls? Sooner or later we realize that true satisfaction comes only from finding that connection. As Charles Fillmore declared, “The real search of all people is for God. They may think they are looking for other things, but they must eventually admit that it is God they seek.”
While historically we may have prayed to a Higher Power outside ourselves, imploring for things and outer changes in our lives, we are now discovering that this Power is omnipresent and dwells within each of us.
As a separated drop of ocean water eventually makes its way back to the sea, we are inexorably drawn back into the awareness of our oneness with God. The drop of water may evaporate and be drawn into the clouds to be blown by wind and fall as snow on the highest mountain. Eventually the snow will melt and the drop will become part of a trickle and then a stream and then a river until finally it returns to the sea.
If we could suspend reason for a moment, it might seem that at various points in its journey, the drop may pray to melt or to be part of the trickle, or it may pray to join a stream or a river. But what it really “wants” is to find the ocean again.
Again I say, God is in the yearning…can you imagine yourself, for a moment, that drop of ocean as it travels back to its source?
Our prayers are to find God again—to be lifted by Spirit as It speaks and thinks and acts as us.
Since the beginning of time, people of all civilizations have prayed. From prayer beads to prayer wheels, from solemn Gregorian chants to foot-stomping gospel music, from the fervent worshipers flogging their backs with ropes to the seeker quietly sitting cross-legged atop a mountain, from the people at the Universal Dances to those sitting here today, there are as many ways of praying as there are people who pray.
And so, how does Unity say to pray? We say to pray Affirmative Prayers.
Affirmative…it means asserting the truth, validity, or fact of something; positive; not negative.
So when we go into a time of prayer, we do so in a positive frame of mind. We keep our thoughts positive.
When most people think of prayer, they think of asking God for something. Not so in Unity.
With “affirmative prayer,” rather than begging or beseeching God, we connect with the spirit of our Higher Self within and assert positive beliefs about the desired outcome. Affirmative prayer is the same method of prayer Jesus taught when he said, “So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).
It is also the Lord’s Prayer…which is really a set of affirmations.
If, for example, one were to pray traditionally, one might say: “Please God, help me find a job.” By contrast, an affirmative prayer might be: “I am now guided to my right and perfect employment.”
Affirmative prayer reflects the certainty that we are each being led to our highest good, despite any temporary appearances.
Metaphysicians believe that thoughts transmit energy and this energy attracts other energy of the same frequency. Whether you are conscious of it or not, your thoughts are transmitting energy that is attracting more of the same. When you remain focused on your intentions, you will draw those things into your life.
On our way home from Service last Sunday, Barbara, Emma and I stopped at the Seafood Place along route 1. As Emma and I sat in the car waiting for Barbara to return with her choice for our meals, I thought, “I hope she gets scallops or salmon. Or even better both!” We waited for more minutes than I thought were needed but we were fine in the air conditioned vehicle. When she finally returned, I asked, “What did you get?” And she said “Scallops and salmon.”
Thoughts create your world!!!!
Rosemary Ellen Guiley, author of Prayer Works, states that affirmative prayer “sets into motion the forces that enable us to manifest what we pray for.”
She adds, “Prayer is ineffective when it is accompanied or followed by negative thinking, or the endless repeating of affirmations. We have to put power and intensity into our thought, change our thought, and believe in the guidance we are receiving. If we spend energy on negative beliefs and feelings, we will get negative results, even if we and others pray daily for us. For example, if you pray for a job and then complain to others that you have no job or can’t find one, you are undermining your prayer.”
“In Unity, we believe that all things work together for our highest good,” says Lynne Brown, vice president of Silent Unity. “We pray to align ourselves with God and to allow ourselves to be inwardly guided to that good. Through affirmative prayer, we help co-create the good that is possible in our lives. This is 125th anniversary year of Silent, Unity, and we continue to pray and celebrate the power of prayer expressing in individual’s lives and in the world.”
By using an affirmative prayer approach, we can visualize and plan for the future with faith that the power of the Divine Universe is continually blessing our lives with unlimited possibilities. Affirmative prayer leads to an awakening of our spiritual selves. In faith, we pray giving thanks in advance that the Universe is meeting our every need.
And we trust that our prayers come to fruition, so, ‘asking’ again and again for something will not help bring it to you, by repeating your request, you are showing little faith in what you are attempting to manifest.
But what Is Prayer?
Virtually every religion embraces some form of prayer, and followers of each religion are told to pray. But seldom are they taught how to pray, so most people are troubled by doubts about whether they have been praying correctly.
Since the purpose of prayer is to know God, the highest use of prayer, then, is to announce our intention of opening ourselves to the presence of God. It is our endeavor to merge with and accept all the qualities of the Divine—a heartfelt invitation to allow that Spirit to be lived through us.
Therefore, we don’t have to pray specifically to change people or circumstances. Our prayers are for the purpose of knowing God. Yet, interestingly, when we pray to experience God, the people and circumstances in our lives do change! Why? Because prayer has changed us. Centered in God’s presence, we then deal with the people and the circumstances of our lives in more loving ways. Prayer—seeking more of an awareness of God—changes us, and in changing us, changes all aspects of our lives. It’s been said that prayer doesn’t change things; prayer changes people, and people change things. And this is so.
There is no need to beg God for anything, because we already have access to all that She is. So prayer becomes the way to express our thanks for life and its blessings—those we already have and those still to come. This is “affirmative prayer.” It acknowledges the truth that God is present in us and in every situation, and therefore the potential for us is beyond anything we can humanly imagine.
Thus, if we are praying specifically for more money, for instance, we may attain it simply because we are focusing our energy on that and making it a priority in our lives. Such attention may yield the results we are looking for. But that is opening ourselves to only part of what there is for us to experience. We have limited ourselves and may not be fully open to all the true prosperity – health, love, joy, peace and the teeming font of absolute soul satisfaction that is available simply because we are filled with the presence of the Divine.
What exactly is the right method of prayer? There are as many “right” methods of praying as there are people who pray! You must pray the way it feels comfortable for you.
More important than the method of praying is the reason for praying. Again – Prayers are not to change the Divine. They are to change us—to lift us into the experience of the presence of God. The Creator cares about, sustains, maintains and expresses Itself through the created. God is waiting for us to open ourselves to the sacred Presence being lived through us. God is waiting for us to express our willingness to be guided and nurtured. Therefore, one of our prayers might be to express this willingness: “Here I am, God. Live Your life through me”.
One of our opening songs by Clauell County is such a prayer, “Here I am God, Use me, guide me, fill me, take me, lead me by Your will. Here I am Lord ready to follow, to serve You, to love You, to be You in this world. …
Next time we use this song as our ‘settling’ music, follow the words in your Song Book. Allow them to center you into that peaceful place that is your Christ Center.
By opening our hearts to the love already there, by expressing our willingness to let the sacred Presence live through us, we take a big step in getting into a prayer mode. We each will do this in our own unique ways, of course, but a helpful means of preparing for our prayer experience is to relax the body, breathe easily and turn the attention inward.
What kinds of words to say? Whatever is in our hearts. Praying is a very simple activity and requires no special words—only the willingness, the hunger, to know God. Whatever phrases, in any language, that help move us into the place deep within our souls where we can begin to feel our oneness with ALL that IS—these are prayers.
Eventually, however, we move beyond words—beyond thoughts—into the vaster realm of pure Spirit. This is what is sometimes called “the silence.” During our times of prayer, we discover what is waiting in the silence to be discovered. We dip into the eternal wellspring of divine life that exists within us. And there, in the absolute stillness, we simply rest in the exquisite sense of the presence of God.
During our times of prayer, we want to let go of any preconceived ideas, any doubts, any desired outcomes, and surrender ourselves completely to God. If we find a parade of thoughts marching by as we sit in the stillness, we can merely become indifferent to them. We can just allow them to pass through and then gently bring our focus back to the inner silence. Nonresistance is the key here, (resistance is FUTILE!), so that we remain tranquil and able to savor the experience.
A few moments in utter stillness will quickly bring us back to the realization that we are part of our Creator, part of the universe, and that truly we are not alone.
There are numerous opportunities every day to still the body and quiet the mind, allowing us to slip between the cracks of our outer world and into the inner one of silence. It might be in the quiet of the early morning or during some wordless moments of a prayer service or even during those brief times when we sit in noisy traffic waiting for the light to turn green! The stillness, in other words, is always available.
Prayer is a holy time within our hearts—a time of worship, joy and thanksgiving deep inside ourselves. It is a time of lying down in green pastures, being led beside the still waters and having our souls restored. We come away from prayer renewed in body and mind and at peace with ourselves and our world.
Taking time to pray is the highest blessing we can give ourselves and others.
Rosemary Fillmore Rhea, the daughter of Rickert Fillmore and granddaughter of Unity founders Charles and Myrtle Fillmore said this in an interview;
“I learned about prayer from my grandfather. He would come to our home every weekend. I spent a lot of time with him. No child could have had a better grandfather. He enjoyed doing things kids liked to do. At least once a week, we went to a movie and had a soda afterward.
He was different from other grandfathers; when he was not involved in conversation or activities, he went into “the Silence” (meditated). It was so much a part of him that I assumed all grandfathers meditated. However, one Saturday some school friends came to play and they noticed my grandfather sitting with his eyes closed, but not sleeping. When we went outside, they asked me why my grandfather just sat with his eyes closed. I replied, “He is in the Silence, of course. Doesn’t your grandfather sit in the Silence?” They assured me that their grandfathers didn’t and wondered about the Silence. I explained he was praying.
My grandfather taught me that we do not need a special place to pray. Wherever we are, whenever we have the time, we can meditate. If we are waiting in an airport or doctor’s office, riding a subway or bus, or just sitting in the park, if we really listen, we will be guided and inspired.”
Charles has said, “Affirmative prayer is the highest form of creative thought. It includes the release of counterproductive, negative thoughts, as well as holding in mind statements of spiritual truth. Through meditation, we experience the presence of God. Prayer and meditation heighten our awareness and thereby transform our lives.”
Affirmative prayer is a useful tool for focusing our thoughts on the truth that we are spiritual beings, filled with vibrant energy and renewing life. We, too, can use this tool in our daily lives. When we pray affirmatively about a health challenge, or opportunity as I rather call it, we are recognizing the life of God within.
As you pray, remember that you were created to be healthy and strong. Affirm this truth, become aware of your oneness with God, and be enthusiastic about the healing that is taking place within your mind and body.
So this, then, is how Unity suggests you pray. There are 5 steps.
- Relax – Close your eyes. Relax, breathe deeply, and let go of outer concerns.
- Concentrate – Quiet your mind. Begin to focus your thoughts on the spirit of God, the Christ within you.
- Meditate – With an open mind and a receptive heart, feel the peace of God’s presence. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 RSV).
- Embrace the Silence – In the silence of your soul, know that you are one with God. Allow this realization to permeate your being.
- Give Thanks – always be grateful for what you have.
So, with that, let’s take these words into prayer. I ask that you get comfortable and relax. Focus on the Spirit of Good, of Love, of all that IS within you. Now the Silence…………………
AS we come out of the silence,
GOD BLESS ALL THOSE WHO SERVE WITH LOVE.
GOD bless all those who labor with their hands, who tend the loom and cultivate the sod; merchants and miners, cobblers, cooks, and all whose hands, by proxy, are the hands of God. And bless all those who labor with the mind: But most of all, bless those who serve with love! No matter if the task be great or small, A kindness done to one or meant for all! Head, hearts and hands- all three are instruments of our Creator who made the world and found it good,
(R. H. Grenville, in part)
And as we close, some simple examples of Affirmative Prayer…
Thank You, God, for Your ever-present sanctuary of love and joy and peace within my heart. My only need is to savor Your sweet presence in my life. I trust—truly trust—that I am in Your care and that all is well. Thank You, God.
Thank You, God, for Your living truth as it speaks to me in unmistakable ways. I still my body. I still my mind. I relax completely. I surrender myself to You, God. Fill me with Your presence as I listen in the silence.
Holy Presence within me, I am willing to release all feelings of hurt and anger and resentment. Help me know true forgiveness and see each person as part of You. Let my words and my actions serve only to glorify You. May they heal and comfort and harmonize my life and the lives of those around me. Thank You, God.
Great Spirit of this universe, how glorious are Your ways. My human mind cannot fully grasp the magnitude of all You are, yet I know I am Yours. Thank You for the safety of Your guiding presence—wherever I am, whatever I do.
Thank You, God, for the growing awareness of who I am. You have created me to express You. I make the commitment today to be Your hands, Your voice, Your heart. Live Your life through me—fully and completely.
The cells of my body shout for joy as they resurrect into new life! Thank You, God, for Your powerful healing presence as it touches every atom of my body, calling forth a radiant wholeness.
I choose this day to serve You, God—to let my love radiate to all people and to be an inspiration to help lift others. My only prayer is to know You. Aware of Your sacred presence within me, I am a blessing to all whose lives I touch.
Gentle Spirit, I have heard Your call. I feel You drawing me closer to the realization of Your presence in my life. I hunger to know You more. I want to love You more and serve You more. I am willing to let You take charge of my life. Show me Your way, God, for I am ready.
And we Say Thank you and Amen, and So It IS.