World Day of Prayer
With all that has been happening as the years go by, I’m guessing that many of you have been praying a lot; no matter how you do that. From the simple prayer we said as children preparing for bed, to the Lord’s Prayer, taught to the disciples by Jesus; prayers are varied and mean lots of different things to different people.
As we prepare for World Day of Prayer this Thursday, I ask you to consider what you pray for and how you go about it.
Many people of different faiths engage in the practice of prayer. Whatever the individual belief, prayer helps settle the body and open the heart and mind to a deeper awareness of God. All people who pray are part of a powerful circle of prayer
In my former days, and when my knees were in better shape!; kneeling with hands clasped was accepted. My Mother was Catholic, and in my search for where I belonged, I tried it. The rituals were interesting, making one feel a part of something sacred. The message didn’t fit for me and so, even though I went back several times, I couldn’t stay.
I grew up in the United Methodists church, before I started yearning for something more. Even though we were told as children that God and Jesus loved us, we were also told we were sinners and going to hell.
Now you can understand why I was searching for a place to belong.
There were many years when I had no special spiritual place. Though I did have spiritual experiences, mostly in the conversations I was having with people I came across in my teaching and especially, coaching. And my time with nature, beach and forest, of course. As wonderful as that was, it still was not what I needed.
Thankfully, I was doing the work that we must do to get to know who we truly are. That’s what the search is all about. I stripped off layers of scars, lessons, errors, everything I needed to do to connect with my Inner Christ, to connect with God. Still working on it!
And finally I was introduced to Unity. I often say Unity saved me. At least I believe that. It turned me in the direction I was seeking but couldn’t quite find.
What does all this have to do with World Day of Prayer? Everything. We all must take those steps to find who we are. We must dig through and connect with our God…the God of our understanding, by whatever name we use.
The name does not matter because no name is enough. The God of my understanding cannot be held within a word. My God is much bigger that I can imagine. I suspect yours is like that too. We do tend to think of God as small, limited by our minds. Spirit is not small at all.
This is why, when Unity teaches prayer, we ask you to relax and clear your mind first. We cannot get in touch with our Higher Being if we are concerned about what to make for dinner or where that last bit of money we need will come from. So, we relax, breathe deeply and let go of any and all outer concerns.
We ask ourselves to concentrate on God, Spirit within. And then open our mind and heart to the presence of Spirit. Be receptive to that Spirit in mind & heart. Remember, the heart is truly smarter than the brain! “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
As we embrace the silence, we connect with our Higher Self. We allow that peace and blessing to fill our body and soul.
And when we are ready to conclude our time with God, we always give thanks. We are grateful for our gifts received from our Creator.
But we also know that prayer does not just have to be a time set aside for talking with our Higher Self. A simple Thank You is a powerful prayer. I say it a lot through my day. It’s thanking that Higher Power for the insight given, maybe direction we were seeking or just reminding us to slow down and flitter away with a beautiful butterfly.
Another way to be more conscious through your day is to do everything mindfully. Yes, learn to do everything wholeheartedly no matter how ordinary or mundane a job it may be. When you learn to do this, everything you do will be done with real joy and all the grind will be taken out of it, and you will see life as it really is, filled with God, for you recognize our Creator in everything.
So, be more conscious when you are doing the laundry, mowing the lawn and making dinner. And ESPECIALLY, be mindful when eating your meals. Grateful for what you have before you and all the hands and lives that helped to get it to your table.
And maybe even more important, wholeheartedness when we interact with each other, no matter who the other person is; this will help to spread peace and love through our world.
This, I believe, is one of the important actions that is missing between many peoples; between friends and families. Communities and nations.
Ask yourself what energy you are placing in the world. Peace? Love? Compassion? Or hate, anger and pain?
We’ve asked these questions many times before, and we must continue to ask them to do our part in this world.
And it always starts with you….
Myrtle Fillmore said, –“So get busy using the Truth you know … Bring forth your own joyous world of love, friendship, beauty, and plenty. God is giving everything required to build such a world. There is within you the God-given intelligence to build such a world. Get at it!”
So, let’s put the Unity prayer method into practice and go into the quiet:
Close your eyes. Relax, breathe deeply, and let go of outer concerns.
Quiet your mind. Begin to focus your thoughts on the spirit of God within you.
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).
4. Embrace the Silence
In the silence of your soul, know that you are one with God. Allow this realization to permeate your being.
5. Give Thanks
“For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” –Isaiah 56:7