How to Pray without Talking to God – Part 2

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

A shout out to Rev Elizabeth Peterson for organizing the Unity talent show after the service on Sunday. It was the BEST! The talent varied from original poetry to great singing and an original guitar selection. We laughed and had moments that were jaw-dropping because the performance was so incredible. The common comment that I heard was I didn’t realize how much talent we had within our community. Thank you to all the performers, we love and appreciate you!

The message on Sunday was Part 2 from the book How to Pray Without Talking to God written by Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett. The focus was on denials and affirmations.

Rev Sharon Connors, author of Adventures in Prayer: Praying Your Way to a God You Can Trust (Kindle Edition) says: Denial erases, dissolves and releases. Affirmation claims, plants and builds.

Spiritual denial is disidentification with, renunciation of, and elimination of thoughts and beliefs that we realize are contrary to spiritual truth. Spiritual denial is not the same as psychological denial. Psychological denial is when the ego is in denial of facts and avoids any feelings. Psychological denial leads to self-delusion as well as unconscious action and inaction.

An affirmation is a positive statement of Truth. By the use of affirmations we claim and appropriate that which is ours in Truth. An affirmation is the “yes” action of the mind; the act of affirming; the declaring of Truth; the mental movement that asserts confidently and persistently the Truth of Being in the face of all appearances to the contrary.

Denials and affirmations are “handles to power.”

Apply denials and affirmations in any situation where you notice you are having a feeling you do not want. You deny that it has any power over you and you then claim a realized Truth and affirm it both in thought and in feeling.

Here is an example of a denial and affirmation:

The denial is: This anxiety, confusion or fear is powerless to take or keep my good from you.

The affirmation is: Divine love now dissolves and dissipates all anxious, confused, or fearful thoughts, and I am peaceful in Mind and heart.

I use the analogy of a garden to explain denials and affirmations.

Next week will be the final talk, Part 3, which will include the practice of daily prayer and meditation and realize wholeness through prayer.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

When God Calls, Say Yes

Rod Chelberg, MD

Rod Chelberg, MD

Sunday message by Rod Chelberg, M.D. (audio)

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey:

It’s good to be home! I am sure you can relate to this if you do any traveling. Rev LeRoy and I went to Maryland and Virginia and had a wonderful time visiting with friends and I did a couple of board trainings with Unity ministries in those areas.

I am grateful to have excellent speakers to step in when I am gone. This time it was Rev. Barbara Kowalska, Rev. Matt Purinton and Dr. Rod Chelberg. To listen to Barbara or Rod’s talk visit our website and scroll down on the home page and you will find them.

I have always seen November as gratitude month and this year is no different. I have already expressed gratitude for the speakers, however, there is more that I am grateful for. I am grateful that the months of August and September we ended in the positive column for our Ministry Funding Plan (budget). It looks like October will end up in the positive column as well. I tell you this because we had been running in a deficit for the first seven months of the year and with these three positive months, we are making our way closer to positive territory.

On Sunday mornings if you attend the 10 a.m. service you hear testimonies from folks during “Sharing the Good News” how working the Unity principles in their lives has dramatically improved the quality of their life. It isn’t uncommon to hear that a family relationship has been restored and it is attributed to prayer, meditation and knowing that everyone is inherently good. That a situation they had no idea would be resolved was because God is everywhere present and when they were willing to surrender, let go and let God out of the blue the solution was made visible.

I am so grateful for our children and our teachers. It warms my heart when the little people come in and share with us what they learned in their time together. When their lesson was to go outdoors and find paper cups upside down and uncover a light under them and know that the light is within them and not to hide it.

I am grateful for our dedicated folks in the kitchen who prepare a banquet for us each week. I heard one of them say I love cooking here because I get instant feedback and love for what I enjoy doing. I praise the kitchen crew because they make it possible for many in our community to sit down to a meal with other people and engage in great conversation. Many of you eat your meals alone all week and look forward to breaking bread with others on Sunday.

I think you have a sense of the importance that Unity Center for Spiritual Growth has in the lives of so many. My role and that of the Board of Trustees is to ensure that it is well funded so it continues to be a beacon of light for all who are seeking a spiritual community in which they can foster relationships and deepen their own spiritual walk.

Here is where I am going to ask you to help ensure this…there are several ways you can do this. You can set up automatic giving where you tell us how much you want to give on a weekly or monthly basis and provide us with a credit card and it will be automatically charged according to your direction (cards for this are in the seatback pockets).

Most banks have a free bill pay program where you tell them who to send a check to, how much and how often and it gets taken care of by your bank. This is the option that Rev. LeRoy and I use.

You can give by using your phone. Download the app for QR Reader and you will find in the seatback pockets a laminated card for giving and it has a QR Code on it. Just scan it to your phone and it will automatically take you to our donate button on our website. If you don’t have a QR Reader and don’t want to bother downloading it then just go to our website www.unitygreaterportland.org and click on the donate button and you can do your transaction there.

Of course, checks and cash still work as well. By taking one of the electronic options you are supporting this ministry with regular giving whether you are there every Sunday or not. The latest data on church attendance is that most people attend only twice a month. By enrolling in one of our automatic giving programs you can be sure you are seeding the future for those who are looking for a spiritual home and to find what you have found here already.

So please hold with me that before December 31, 2019 rolls around that we will have our deficit covered with extra to spare. If you have any questions you know I am always available, as are the Board members.

This Sunday I will be doing Part 2 from the book How to Pray to God Without Talking to God.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

How to Pray without Talking to God – Part 1

Sunday Message by Rev. Barbara Kowalska, Guest Speaker

This Sunday, at Rev. Pat’s request, I opened a series on Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett’s book, How to Pray Without Talking to God. This book is the basis of training and practice for our Prayer Partners.

How do you pray without talking to God? Martella-Whitsett begins by reminding us of the images of God we may have held since childhood. There was God, the invisible parent who could be loving and demanding as well; there was God, the bodyguard or protector. As we were introduced to the concept of God within, we could imagine God shrinking to fit inside us. All of these images were based on seeing God as something outside us.

In Unity, we embrace the omnipresence of God. Martella-Whitsett explains it like this: “Divine Omnipresence means God is within us, we are within God, and God is everywhere. Moreover, God is everywhere-ness, not a being who is everywhere but the pervasive essence of all.”

As reading Principle 1 and 2 each week supports, our true identity is divine. Martella-Whitsett reminds us:
“Our words and methods of prayer derive from our sense of identity. When we view ourselves as “only human,” we pray to God from a consciousness of powerlessness. When we realize our Divine Identity, we pray from the Divine Consciousness.”

As Rev. Pat reminds us often, we are not sinners. Often unconsciously, we have internalized negative ideas about ourselves from our childhood. We have allowed the Truth of us to be covered up.

Martella-Whitsett uses the analogy of an eagle’s egg. The protective shell protects the embryo as it matures. Then the eagle pecks away at the shell and emerges. Our shell is our external sense self. And to be the fullness of who we are, we, too, can peck away at the shell of our stories, our baggage, and release them to reveal our true selves. We do this through spiritual practices and meditation. She asserts that we mature spiritually by expressing our divine nature.

When you pray, what are you supposing about divinity or divine nature? About yourself?

As we grow in accepting our divine nature, our old form of praying may not be comfortable. Then we can begin learning affirmative prayer, praying from our God-consciousness instead of to God outside of us. This is a process that can be uncomfortable at first.

It may appear our prayers have not been answered when people die anyway, we continue to feel angry in our relationships or do not get instant relief from financial stress. However, the issue has never been whether prayer is answered — how we live is the issue and the answer. We are the answer to our prayers as we realize prayer is not a plea for a particular outcome but a calling upon ourselves to realize what we are to be in a circumstance.”

Affirmative prayer is not traditional prayer. Traditional prayer approaches the divine as a personality that is hesitant, capricious, withholding and must be persuaded or bargained with. Affirmative prayer cultivates our awareness of Oneness. As we pray affirmatively, identifying with our True Nature, the highest truth we can comprehend in the moment comes forth.

This is a learning, an uncovering, a remembering. When we forget, praying brings us back to Ourselves. Every time we bring ourselves back, we are spiritually stronger. We spiral higher and deeper in our awareness.

\As Thoreau said, “A single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”

It is a joy to share this journey with our beloved community!

Namaste!
Barbara Kowalska

The Spiral of the Call

Guest Speaker Marjory Zoet Bankson (audio)

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey: Sunday was a day for celebration… it was the one-year anniversary of the peace vigil that happens the third Sunday of the month. Trish Vogel, who was the one that got this started, shared this during sharing the Good News. Meeting at the rotary of 302 and 202, and reminding people that peace is possible with wonderful signs, between 12:15 and 12:45 p.m. is just one way we can get the message out for peace and non-violence.

On Sunday we also welcomed Marjory Zoet Bankson who spoke at the 10  a.m. service and then shared more in a workshop in the afternoon. Her topic was the spiral of call. She reminded us that over our lifetime we can have many calls. Most often we resist the call until we can no longer turn away from it. Moses is a great example. Remember Moses saw the burning bush and heard the voice of God telling him to go and free his people. Moses had many excuses, and don’t we do the same thing.

She also shared that we are called to let go of some things before we can receive the new call. I am reminded of when I got the call to ministry. I resisted for a long time and then when I finally said “yes” it meant I had to let go of my sense of responsibility to my mother and let go of my identity as race car driver, Joe Bessey’s mother, who was running his trucking business. Once I let some people know that I was going to apply for ministerial school, then the ball got rolling and I started the process. Marjory says it is important for us to let some know of our call so that we can be supported as we lean into it.

Each transition we go through gives us the chance to ask “who am I,” “what is my work” and “what is my unique gift.” Transition always begins with endings, moves on to a wilderness period, also known as the void, and only then do we reach the beginning of something new, remembering always that it is our true nature to be creative, to be always birthing new ways of sharing our planet together.

This Sunday (October 27), join Rev. Barbara Kowalska as she will be speaking on prayer.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey