Minister’s forum: Sharing a prayer can help healing process
August 31, 2005
The Unity Church, like many other faith-based organizations, places great emphasis on the power of prayer.
In keeping with our beliefs, Unity at the Lake recently trained and dedicated a group of us to be chaplains for our church and our larger community in South Lake Tahoe. In this article I would like to share my understanding of what prayer is from a Unity perspective.
First of all, let me share what prayer from a Unity perspective is not. To begin with, it is not fear-based. I’m sure many of us remember going to sleep as a child with the prayer that ends, “If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” It’s a wonder any of us were able to sleep at all with that scary thought on our minds! Unity prayer does not focus on the potential “negative” outcome. We believe in the power of thought to create reality. We choose not to contribute mental energy to the outcomes we most fear. Instead we focus on the greatest good that God has for us. We affirm in prayer what we most want to manifest in our lives: perfect health, harmonious relationships, freedom from fear and anger, the greatest good for ourselves and our loved ones.
We do not believe in using prayer as a “bartering system” with God (“Oh God, if you only make me well, I will never treat my body poorly again”). The God we believe in wants only the best for us and accepts us perfectly just where we are. We do not need to supplicate ourselves, ask forgiveness for perceived “sins,” or feel guilty when we pray. We do not need to beg God to find us worthy of answering our prayers. Rather, we pray with the knowledge that we are worthy and that our prayers are already being answered. We believe, as Jesus said, “And everything you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22). Accordingly, we pray from a place of gratitude, giving thanks to God for all that is and all that will be.
Many of us have grown up praying for a specific outcome. We ask God to cure our cancer, give us the promotion we want, keep our troubled marriage together, all host of solutions to the human conditions we face. While it is certainly understandable that we should want a given outcome to a challenge and even ask God to provide us with our most desired solution, this is not the Unity way. In Unity, we know that all is in “divine order.” “Divine order” differs from “human order” in that what we humans most want is not always for our highest good, although it may seem so at the time. With every challenge there is a blessing, if only we will see it. In prayer we can ask to see the blessing in our struggle, to be open to the path that God has for us, to release to God our human need to control, to hear God’s voice with radiant clarity and faith.
My life has been greatly enriched by my chaplain experience of praying with others. I find that praying with another gives us both an opportunity to open our hearts and to truly feel the presence of God. It never ceases to amaze me how the simple act of prayer brings to us opportunities for greater abundance, healing, and peace of mind. In my own spiritual life I start each day with a prayer that begins, “Dear God, Thank you for another day. May I use it for your highest good, being ever mindful that you are always with me, working through me.” At the end of the day, I give thanks for all the blessings I received throughout the day (even those that were “blessings in disguise”). The more I share my feelings and wishes with God, the more I am reminded that I am never alone; that none of us are ever alone. The truth for me is in the words of the Unity prayer of protection, “Wherever we are, God is.”
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Unity at the Lake is a sacred community where all faiths are honored. We hold services every Sunday at the Lake Tahoe Senior Center, 3050 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Our meditation service is held at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m. we hold our celebration service, which includes our youth empowerment program. We have a prayer circle at the Unity office (3053 Harrison Ave., Suite 205) every Wednesday from 12:15-1 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 8 is Unity World Day of Prayer. We will be holding silent prayer in our office from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. All are welcome. Individual prayer is also available by leaving a message on our Unity line at (530) 544-2266. For further information, please call Unity at the Lake or visit our Web site, http://www.unityatthelake.org.
– Janice Eastburn is the chaplain coordinator at Unity at the Lake.