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!