Guest Speaker: Carol Borsello, May 1, 2016
Having locked her keys inside her car, the woman prayed to God for assistance. Just then a man walking by saw the situation and got her car door opened in nothing flat.
“Thank you God for sending me this nice man to help,” she exclaimed.
The man replied, “I’m not nice. I just got out of jail for auto theft.”
“Thank you, God!” the woman shouted to the sky, “You even sent me a professional!”
A Roadmap to Prayer
First, let me stress to you that in Unity you are always enfolded in prayer; Unity was established as a prayer ministry. It’s what we do!
What is it about prayer, anyway? What’s the attraction? Who here would like to give me a reason why they pray?
What about the ability of prayer to take you to you to the state of mind where possibility opens up on all horizons? Prayer is the chosen route to God; it’s also the road no one else can travel for you.
You have all seen reproductions of the famous Sistine Chapel painting “The Creation of Adam.” It’s the one where God is this great muscle-bound bearded fellow reclining one cloud while a great muscle-bound Adam reclines on another. They laconically stretch hands across the gulf, each with one finger extended. It strikes me how casual their poses are, how literally “laid-back” Adam even looks a little bored, like “yeah, God, wanna fist-bump?”
I wonder about how much Michaelangelo knew when he painted their nonchalant positions. But what if this is how our relationship with God is supposed to be? Easy-going, intimate as wearing only a loincloth can be, informally reclining on clouds, taking in the view.
So is there a right way or wrong way to pray? Does memorizing a prayer make it more effective? Not really. At the PC training in Virginia Beach, Rev. Ginny said, “There are no prayer police!”
What are some of the things you do when you like someone? You keep in touch, right? You tell them what you’re thinking. You share what’s happening & how you feel about events. If you wanted a close relationship with someone & proceeded to ignore them, never call, keep all your thoughts to yourself when you’re around them, that’s not much of a relationship. Jesus whole approach to living life was to live it in prayer. He knew how to keep God in the loop all the time. And because he kept the relationship real-time, constant, and ongoing,
Jesus was an ordinary guy with the extraordinary ability to incorporate the divine into every thought, action, word and deed.
He kept things real. And the real key to effective prayer is an awareness of what’s going on in your life.
Prayer isn’t some magical vibration, some woo-woo exercise where we exert ourselves outwardly to make changes. The work takes place inside of us. The third principle of Unity’s five is “We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.” So Unity was sharing The Secret long before it came out in a book or morphed into Law of Attraction. It’s a very powerful tool indeed.
Of course all of us have had someone say wisely, “You create your own reality.” And the usually say it when we’re in the midst of life crisis at the time we least want to hear it. We look around to ask, “And I created this, why?”
But there are a lot of moving parts to that well-oiled machine. Much more to it than what we hear on the surface. Don’t you get annoyed that for some it sounds so easy, so simple and effective? “Creating your own reality” can be a tool that, used rightly, gives us proficiency in building a more fulfilling life. Here’s the rub: Can you focus on every single detail of what you want? What about what others want? Might that crisscross our intentions? Do you remember to check your connection to God with every breath? Does it help you remember this if I remind you God is the air you breathe?
The four ways are these:
- Conversational prayer – prayers of asking & authenticity
The Serenity Prayer is a prayer of asking. “God grant me acceptance, courage, wisdom.:
At times, He said exactly what he felt and feeling upset didn’t stop Him. He prayed with his whole heart for “the cup to pass away.” That was a prayer of authenticity. He could see through the timestream. He lived as a Master, so this was His gift – to see all the ways time would work situations out. He knew what He prayed today would outwork tomorrow. Now we might think we cannot do this, but we can see cause & effect all over the place. We can always pray “God grant us the vision to see tomorrow resulting from what I do today.”
- Uplifting prayers
He taught uplifting prayers of gratitude, praise, love and affirmation. That’s the Our Father. He blessed the holy name, for starters, then made several affirmative statements showcasing his easy understanding of God.
- Affirmative prayer
Jesus prayed for and with others; He healed the Centurion’s servant from afar, He healed the woman who just touched the hem of His garment. How did He even know she was there? How’d He know she had touched His clothing? He had to be so in tune that the slightest disturbance of another’s energetic field onto His own registered immediately. Talk about mindfulness! He asked forgiveness for those who didn’t know any better.
- Contemplative prayer
Jesus practiced contemplative prayers – prayers of being present, surrender, finding the sacred in everyday life and entering the Silence. To rephrase an old commercial, He kept a tiger in His tank! He kept God available & on tap. He moved heaven & earth to His will with a breath in the name of God.
And I don’t want to see you politely cough behind your hand when I tell you that you can do it too. Cause on account of He said so. And He offered us the potential of doing even more in the next breath. He’s not the only child of God in this room, but He’s the one who understood what that meant in totality.
You can ask Him for help or you can go directly to Source with your prayer. Take responsibility for what you have created. Know that even if it didn’t come out for what you think best, it was likely the best you had in you in the moment. Release that. Examine the next thought. Begin again with a better choice.
Are there things happening in your life now that draw you into wanting something different? Of course, otherwise you wouldn’t be wondering about your prayer practice. How many of you accept that what is happening now started in the past? For any of you, is what’s happening now something that began, say, ten minutes ago? Probably not. Maybe ten years ago. Maybe someplace we cannot now even envision b/c it’s so lost in that past the roots are invisible, even as the fruit of it is now manifesting. Many masters have talked about today being our thoughts of yesterday, while our future becomes what we think today.
Isn’t it then more logical to see what is happening now as a consequence of what went before? This is, in fact, the nature of the world. We live in a milieu of cause & effect. Consequences are always going to be what’s happening as the now.
When I take time to remember the effect, there’s my chance to change my thinking in my now so the NEXT consequence can be favorable. Right? Isn’t it the cause & effect domino sequence unfolding? If the next consequence is one where I want to have a healing, or get an answer, or make the jump into a new job, or begin a relationship, I need to change my idea, perception, word choices – change my thinking so these consequences can manifest. I have to be about the eleventh person to say to you (if not the hundred and eleventh): Change your thinking; change your life.
My mom said I started to grow up when I bought her chocolate-covered cherries for her birthday. I really dislike chocolate-covered cherries – all that gooey stuff happening after you bite the chocolate. We grow up when we start making decisions that aren’t immediately favorable in return for the long-term good they will bring about.
We must take responsibility for our actions, even if the actions are thoughts about actions. I was married to a man who never took responsibility if there was the slightest chance he could get out of a consequence. It was always the government, the doctors, the neighbors. He would cuss out the lottery winner for winning when he never bought a ticket. I spent a lifetime of years trying to gently explain that if he’d made a different choice, he’d have had a better result. And after we mutually divorced, I was still trying to explain things to him. I had to make a completely separate choice by realizing I needed to stop trying to live his life for him and make my own way.
It was the adult choice. He couldn’t change from the infantile choice, the kindergarten choice that outside circumstances choked him off. His God had secrets, his God had many rules that, if broken, merited poor life circumstances. My God listened to me, helped me to change, showed me new highways to drive if I wanted new destinations. And I gave my God everything I had b/c I didn’t trust myself to do the best thing sometimes. So I handed it all over.
When God said stop doing something that was hurting me, I stopped. When I took an adult view of God – that God was not responsible for my life – & wasn’t going to show up alongside me with an extra parachute after I jumped out of the plane…I understood it was up to me to learn how to pack a parachute. Or where to buy a really great insurance policy!
When things happen which seem beyond your control in any way, the person nearest you might mumble something about how you create your reality. When what’s been created is a mess, when your reality collided with a few others out there in the works at the same time, that’s the last thing you want to hear! It’s an exquisite torture to be told that phrase.
But, if we can understand it as a reminder to become conscious when we re-create the events next time, to remain mindful of our thoughts, both what we think & HOW we think them, it can be just a little string someone ties around our finger.
We can stop what we are doing & do it better. We can stop questioning what happened, and start fashioning effective answers.
It is, as Rabbi Jesus said, the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom, but we need to find the kingdom inside and work it out from there – in more ways than one. When you improve your life, guess what happens? MY life gets better, so does all of ours, so does everyone’s and so it goes.
We can’t create a problem & stand back with a great prayer asking God to solve it. God’s probably going to say, “Hmm, interesting that. What’re you going to do about it?”
God’s kingdom is the gift within to make different, powerful, juicy choices. God’s kingdom comes about when we step up to the situation and start to work it out.
We had a game in Girl Scouts called the Human Knot. We’d all put arms in, take hold of hands & then have to try to undo ins and outs of coming back into circle without dislocating body parts. We had to consider where each other person was in order to know whether to move up or sideways. We had to stop and think about each move we made, where it would take us, and whether it would solve the problem we’d so gleefully created.
If we have created a Human Knot of gargantuan proportions, it will take much thought & attention to undo it. Let us start here & now in our prayer practice to succeed in simplifying that future, pushing here & pulling there to reframe the whole picture. We work towards peace in society by working for it first in ourselves. We learn to pray in the way that best serves us and the entire world as we come here week after week. As we enfold ourselves in Unity prayer, we find we can do this!
It’s only partly about learning how to construct a prayer we feel powerful in using. It’s our privilege & responsibility to react to challenge with prayer. It’s our kingdom and we can be the kings and queens, the princes and princesses in it,
The Prayer Workshop today is about the four ways Jesus prayed. What did Jesus know that we have yet to find out? Jesus is the fully-recognized human, the fully-realized man. He relished the divine presence within. He loved nothing more than to wander off the everyday trails to sit in Silence to commune with it. He listened for what came up and trusted that it emanated from His divinity. He nourished the co-creative power of man and God. He united them, married them, and effortlessly performed miracles with them.
Where did this ability come from? He didn’t go out into the silence of the desert or the stillness of the mountain, dig up a cellphone & dial G.O.D. He settled somewhere in the beautiful untamed wilderness & prayed. When He achieved Silence, he waited for whatever communication God wanted to share with him.
When he did this, the great knowingness of the Cosmos whispered secrets and ideas. He was refreshed by an upward consciousness. He made contact. He closed His eyes so He could see visions. Think on that: He closed His eyes to see!
I’m pretty sure He talked out loud to Himself at times. He came from an expressive culture, so He probably waved His hands around a little. His humanity would come through with thoughts like, “Maybe I could have handled that one a little better.” Or, “God, I nailed that one, didn’t I!” And there would be that whisper from His heart offering inspiration, new ideas, loving thoughts. I’ll bet He couldn’t wait to get back to the gang & share these.
Jesus was simply unable to see imperfection. Therefore, all He perceived became perfect. That’s the secret behind performing miracles.