Prayer – Put feet to your prayers
One of our congregants asked that I do a Lesson on prayer. I probably would have done one anyway, seeing as this week our Nation was to celebrate National Day of Prayer, May 4th.
The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked “to turn to God in prayer and meditation”. Each year since its inception, the president has signed a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.
That’s easy for us to do, Unity believes in the power of prayer. Our 4th Principle is: Through affirmative prayer and meditation, we connect with God and bring out the good in our world.
The word prayer means setting your mind like a trap so you can catch the thoughts of God. It means to focus, tune in; and prepare our minds and hearts to receive God’s guidance, love, peace, and divine energy.
The purpose of affirmative prayer is not to change God, but to change us.
Five-Step Prayer Process
Prayer is connecting with God. In prayer, we create a sacred space in which we commune with God. We can use Unity’s Five-Step Prayer Process to deepen our connection with God, to heighten our awareness of God within us. To experience the power of prayer. Let’s try it: First, Relax Begin by relaxing your body and opening your mind to an awareness of God. Breathe deeply, knowing that you are in the presence of God and the presence of God is within you. Let go of your concerns and know that all is well. Now, Concentrate As you close your eyes and release any thought of the world around you, begin to think about God … about God’s presence in your life. Focus your mind on a single thought or idea or scripture that resonates with you. I use Peace. Repeat this idea over and over, lets do it silently, since we are more than one until it becomes your only thought. Now Meditate Allow this focused state of mind to move you into a deeper awareness of God. “Be still … and know that I am God.” Be still as you connect with this divine presence within you. Realize From the depth of your being, know that you are one with God. This knowing, this realization as you experience God’s holy presence is “silent soul communion.” In this receptive state of mind and heart, listen for the inspiration of God, the answers to your prayers. Give Thanks; as you’re ready to come back to this place and time, Let gratitude be your heart’s joyous response to this experience of communion with God and with God’s infinite goodness. Give thanks for blessings to come, ready to receive your good.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”.—1 Thessalonians 5:18
Nice, wasn’t it?
But there’s another step in our connection with God…Unity’s Principle #5: Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.
“Spirituality must be lived, not just studied. All the books in the world will not help us if we do not live what we learn.”
And that is where putting feet to our prayers comes in…we must put action into our Journey…play our part, be an active partner in the connection.
Following a naval battle between Athens and Sparta during the Peloponnesian War, many ships were sinking and hundreds of sailors where floundering in the sea. One man was praying loudly to the goddess Athena to save him, but he was obviously drowning.
A shipmate, clinging to a nearby piece of wreckage, saw his plight and shouted, “Pray to Athena, but move your arms at the same time!”
See, the action part isn’t really that hard. While researching for this Lesson, I found many sayings from many Masters letting us know ways we can put feet to our prayers.
Here’s one from Lao Tzu: “If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”
We have the power to choose the thoughts that define the activities of our life.
This says a lot about our self-responsibility. Something I personally have been working on with my Coaches.
Here’s another: “Choices, Chances, Changes. You must make a Choice to take a Chance or your life will never Change.”
What are these messages telling us?
Remember that part of our opening Affirmation..’when we choose that which is ours to do”…
We get to choose..that’s the free will part of God’s gift to us.
Here’s another thought from Elizabeth Gilbert: “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way your select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.’
In 1 Theolagians 5:17 we are told to “pray without ceasing.” Every thought is a prayer. Every thought we put into the ethers is ‘heard.’ It’s filled with energy.
Everything is energy. Your thought begins it, your emotion amplifies it and your action increases the momentum.
Metaphysicians believe that thoughts transmit magnetic 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.
So, you understand why we say to ‘watch your thoughts.’ And this is why we work to be more aware, more awakened. So we are aware of our thoughts and become more conscious, so our unconscious thoughts are more Spiritual, more positive. The positive thoughts become automatic, eliminating any negative ones.
This consciousness is what Matthew 21:22 is all about: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
So, if we are praying and do not feel as if the prayer in being answered, we must ask if WE are doing our part?
What does that mean? Are we putting feet to our prayers? Are we doing the work to clear out the past hurts that we carry? Do we forgive – ourselves as well as others? 70 times 7? Have we asked the tough questions of ourselves? As Dr. Phil says, “being brutally honest”.
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.”
We can ask ourselves…
1) What am I not giving?
2) Who am I not forgiving?
3) What gift am I failing to receive?
It’s hard. And it takes time. And sometimes it takes work with other trained coaches and teachers.
Keep in mind Spiritual time is not necessarily mortal time. Prayers are answered, but sometimes not in the way we thought they would come to us and often not in the timeline we were thinking too.
Here’s a story from Samuel Smith all about the Spiritual timeline:
My wife, Laurel, and I were remodeling a building for our new book-printing business. We needed an additional $5,000. In prayer, I asked for guidance and affirmed God would provide the money at the right and perfect time.
A few days later, we had a torrential rain. I heard a tremendous crash and thought lightning had struck a tree. When the storm passed, I walked outside and discovered that an unneeded aluminum structure attached to our building had collapsed. Three days later, our insurance agent handed me a check for $5,300—and my brother, who was building a shed for his boat—hauled off the scrap metal.
By the time our shop was up and running—with employees and a weekly payroll—prayer was still at the center of operations. It occurred to me that more commercial printing jobs would help cash flow as we acquired book-printing customers. I asked God to show me where this business would come from—if this were, in fact, the divine solution.
The next morning a friend called with surprising news about another printer. He said, “Jerry’s shop got hit by lightning last night and burned to the ground.” I was shocked. “I am sorry to hear that,” I said.
My friend replied, “Well, he’s not too upset, because he is ready to retire. He’s looking for someone to take over his commercial accounts.”
I drove out to meet Jerry at the charred remains of his shop. I could see where lightning had hit a tree and jumped to the corner of his building. He didn’t want any cash, only a percentage of sales from his accounts for two years, which proved to be a mutually beneficial arrangement.
These experiences taught me prayer is not only for times when we find ourselves wounded or broken; it is also a practical skill for everyday life. Your answers may not come in lightning bolts, but during every stormy challenge or sunny opportunity, prayer can renew your mind and transform your world.”
So, we just do not know what Spirit has in store for us….just look a me!
So when it gets hard or seems to not be working, keep working. There’s a Sufi saying: “There are two rules on the Spiritual Path: Begin and Continue.”
And you have friends and family here to aid and support you.
When everything seems to go wrong, just P.U.S.H.!
When the job gets you down, just P.U.S.H.!
When your money is tight and the bills are due, just P.U.S.H.!
When you’re afraid and want to cry, just P.U.S.H!
P.U.S.H! P.U.S.H! P.U.S.H!
P.U.S.H = Pray Until Something Happens!!!!!