Prayer is like the propeller that drives the ship, giving the rudder the ability to steer — without the forward motion, the rudder is helpless. Likewise, we must be persistent in prayer to maintain a forward spiritual movement. We don’t pray to change effects; they are all temporary. And, we don’t pray to change God, for God does not change. Just as we keep on breathing, eating, bathing, etc., to live, so must we pray persistently, diligently – to change our consciousness and raise us into harmony with principle. Jesus knew this “secret;” knew his relationship with God, and people called his works miracles. He said, “Follow me.” In so doing, we WILL do the same works which He did – and greater than these! This was His promise to us!
Our Unity Way Church congregation has shown itself to be a VERY giving group of people! In addition to the outreach programs in which we participate, every month, people find it in themselves to volunteer – some on several teams! So, the question arises, since today we are honoring our volunteers, “Why DO we volunteer?” There are a myriad of reasons, only a few of which are: To help; to make friends; for a sense of belonging; to feel good; and, because we can! Eugene Bertin, in Chicken Soup for the Volunteer’s Soul, states “It’s when we forget ourselves that we do things that are remembered.” When we volunteer, we are giving of ourselves – our very consciousness – and we are living PRINCIPLE! We are living the truth of who we were created to be!
Unity Co-founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore healed themselves through prayer. But how? What did they know that enabled them? Their stories tell that they chose to follow Jesus, as He had been the “One” who, above all others, demonstrated! Charles and Myrtle proved to themselves the principles Jesus had taught and were therefore able to speak and teach and heal from their own authority – a living faith being the cornerstone of their message; a faith that lived in every word, every thought, every action! We are, this day, invited to LIVE that same faith!
The door to our past has closed – there’s no going back! Yet the door to our future is not yet open! We are “in the hallway!” We may experience this as painful, scary, boring or maybe even as a release from something negative! The question often is: “What, now?” Or, “Where am I going? What am I supposed to DO?” The answers to these question lie in the very hallway where we find ourselves! It can be a time of spiritual growth; a redefining or our hopes and dreams, of our very selves! It can be a time of great creative inspiration! This week, we are invited to make that decision.
What does peace mean to us, individually? To many, it is the absence of worldly challenges – financial, health, relationships, etc. However, Jesus spoke of a peace that is independent of, and higher than, conditions – the peace above worldly understanding. He was speaking of Spiritual peace, which indwells us all, accessible at all times. When we understand that we are one with the ONE all-providing, all-loving, all-healing Presence; when we are willing to surrender to that Absolute Good, we become that peace which we seek! We are told, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” It already IS in us – we simply need to surrender to it.
“I move in the direction and at the speed of Spirit.” (–Rev. Pam, during her employment interview, thirteen years ago.) Change is seldom easy, seldom welcome and often messy. However, it is an inevitable part of life. Unity way church has grown in many ways in the past 13 years, and the congregation here has taken “ownership,” of this church on all levels! We have studied and prayed and learned, together, the Truths that Unity teaches. Now, it is time for us to LIVE those eternal Truths, as we go through yet another change, as we love and bless Rev. Pam on to new adventures in life as she moves in the direction and at the speed of Spirit.
It’s very easy to put God first on Sunday morning, sitting in church! The music, the readings, the talk; all support us in being mindful of the Divine Presence. But, what happens when we get up on Monday morning to go to work, when we are driving down the freeway, when we are faced with an unexpected bill? It is at these times when our first reaction tends to be fear-based rather than one of faith. We are told to give God the first of EVERYTHING! This is usually implied to mean financially – in our tithing and love offerings. But, “everything” means just that – EVERYTHING! We are to remember that we are always in God’s presence, always in His care. Today we are invited to give everything: our thoughts, our desires – yes, our fears – to God, first! It is through faith that we are healed, prospered and blessed in every way! “Give us this day” is a statement of Truth: God ALWAYS gives – according to our willingness to receive.
If we are to benefit from the teachings of Truth, we must come as children – with open minds and receptive hearts, hungry for spiritual nourishment. We must be willing to see from a new perspective – through the eyes of innocence and trust. We must also be willing to release those things that drain us of our child-like enthusiasm: things like fear, anger, jealousy and stubbornness. We are here to awaken to the Truth of our Being, as children of the Most High.
When prayers are not answered (according to our desires) it is because we “pray amiss.” There are three components to effective prayer: 1. DESIRE – including ALL that we want, (be careful, here!) 2. ACTION – including ALL that we think, say and do, and 3. BELIEF – including those deeply held beliefs, of which we may not even be aware. If we are to have our prayers answered IN THE WAY THAT WE WANT, we must be in alignment with the LAW that governs their manifestation, in all three of these components: desire, action and belief!
There are only three things we get to keep in life: 1. Experiences, 2. True friends, and 3. what we grow inside. This week, we are invited to look at those things we are growing inside. The universe is always listening and responding, unquestioningly, to our thoughts, feelings and attitudes with experience of corresponding energy. Brother David Stendle-Rast reminds us that “It’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” If we plant and grow gratitude, we will experience ever increasing reasons for being grateful.