Remember those “WWJD” bracelets? They were intended to help us ask ourselves “What Would Jesus Do in this situation?” As we all know, a teacher’s actions speak much louder than his or her words. Memories about Jesus recorded decades after his ministry reveal that Jesus instilled an effective, positive, practical teaching about prayer.
Today, on Unity’s World Day of Prayer, the theme is “Pray Up!” As I visualize people across the nation gathering in their spiritual centers to pray together, I think of our Way-Shower Jesus “praying up!” How did Jesus pray?
Based on what the ancient writings, Jesus probably prayed quietly. But quiet can be powerful! “Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6) I see Jesus sitting quietly, kind of like the Buddha statue on my shelf, meditating upon the perfection of the All That Is and knowing his Oneness with It, in It, as It. He addressed the God-of-his-understanding as “Father,” implying that he had a very personal understanding of The Divine. He talked about the Father who is in secret. Not because The Divine is a secret, but because It is within, in the secret place of his consciousness; the constant, internal Source of all “in whom we live and move and have out being.” (check this out: the writer of Acts 17:28 has the apostle Paul quoting from a semi-mythical 7th century BCE Greek wisdom teacher Epimenides[i]). The act of tuning out egoic thought and tapping in to Source is a powerful tool of Jesus’ compelling ministry.
Jesus taught us to forgive when we entered into that sacred chamber within. “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25) Letting go of that yucky, irritated, hurt, P-O’ed, or devastated feeling against someone is a huge, essential step in our prayer practice. What does it mean that the writer of Mark wrote, “so that your Father may also forgive you?” The “Father” is the Christ Consciousness, the True Self, the I Am of you. How can we come into a consciousness of Oneness with All That Is if we have angst about someone else? Thomas Merton said “The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image.” The willingness to let people be who they are is forgiveness.
Today, I see myself and my friends forgiving all who seem to be against us. For no one and nothing is against me. I am One with All That Is.
Jesus gave thanks in advance. “… he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute.” (Matthew 15:36) As Way-Shower, Jesus teaches us to expect the blessing when we ask. He gave thanks before it even happened because he had no doubt that it would come forth, is coming forth. “Ask and it will be given you.” (Matthew 7:7) Simple, No doubt, No worries about if it will come or when it will come. Jesus knew it was so. We like to end our prayers with “And so it is.” It’s a way to release the request. We don’t beg for it. We claim it. We expect it or something even more appropriate. It is so. That’s what Jesus knew, too, so he gave thanks before his desire was spoken. He knew that when he asked he would receive.
Unity uses an affirmative prayer process based on Jesus teaching: Relax and go within, know the Oneness, give thanks, claim and realize your good, then release any doubt and know it is so. It is a powerful, practical tool for positive living. We use that form of prayer at Unity’s 24/7 prayer line Silent Unity and in our Sunday services and classes.
Today, I join my friends in all places and give thanks, knowing that what we need, desire, ask and imagine is so. And so we let it be.
This year, Silent Unity’s World Day of Prayer’s theme is “Pray Up.” I get what it means to “pray up!” My ministry as a Prayer Associate at Silent Unity taught me the depth of that phrase. My experience there, while in Seminary at Unity Institute, was unforgettable and indescribable. (If you have any theological questions about prayer, believe me, they will come up while at that job and give you a chance to work through them!) Every prayer I spoke affected me, too, of course. Does the Oneness know separation? I would climb the stairs to the prayer room sometimes tired, sometimes distracted, sometimes agitated that I had to stop working on a term paper to go to work. Then I would open the doors to the prayer room and immediately feel the amazing grace that was in that place. In that space made sacred by prayer action, associates are in prayer 365/24/7! Entering the room would immediately lift my spirits. I would find my place and, after centering, would begin answering calls.
“Silent Unity. How may we pray with you?” Minute by minute, hour after hour, every prayer I spoke lifted my consciousness higher and higher. So that when I finished my shift I was elevated, renewed, inspired, reinvigorated to go back to my room and continue my studies.
So, yeah, I know what it means to “Pray Up.” It means get your batteries charged up, to raise your vibrational level, become energized by the “highest form of mind-action” one can do. (That’s a Charles Fillmore quote) It was indubitably the most effective activity I could do before I entered the Licensing & Ordination interviews!
You and I don’t need to work at Silent Unity to benefit from that energy. We can enjoy it anytime with a 5-minute phone call to 1-800-NOW-PRAY (669-7729) Or you can learn to create a Unity affirmative prayer for yourself, and practice, practice, practice. The more you pray affirmatively, the more vivid your understanding of the Oneness, and the more energized your body, mind and spirit will be. Join our Unity Prayer course in the virtual classroom beginning October 1.