“How do you pray, and do you think prayer changes reality?
Rev. Chris Jackson, Senior Minister
I have prayed nearly every prayer there is to pray. For me, they are categorized in three ways; prayers of despair, prayers for repairs, and prayers to be aware. The prayer of despair says, “Help me, oh God, in my moment of need and desperation.” The prayer for repair says, “Dear God, please fix me, I’m broken,” or better yet, “Please fix him or her – obviously they need repair!” The prayer to be aware says, “Dear God, let me aware of your presence in all people and circumstances.
More and more I find that a continuous prayer to be aware is more rewarding that periodic prayers of despair or repair. Every prayer is heard and worthy of praying yet, when I am holding a vigil of seeing God’s presence in all people and circumstances, I am not inclined to see myself or others as desperate or in need of fixing.
The prayer of awareness has few if any words and only one request. Joel Goldsmith suggests the use of two words, “Reveal Thyself.”
I have come to the place of hardly ever walking out the door in the morning without at least thirty minutes of still silence, typically introduced by the words “Reveal Thyself” or simply “Thank you.” I speak those words in response to any thought of despair or repair that comes to me until eventually I find myself resting in a conscious awareness of God’s presence as the only presence that is.
In these moments, I feel as though my conscious awareness is being saturated with an awareness of God and, since my consciousness is the lens through which I experience reality, my reality changes as my consciousness changes. Experiences of despair and brokenness gradually transform into experiences of God. In this way, prayer is a reconditioning of consciousness and a reconditioned consciousness must result in a reconditioned reality.
I suppose I will always have moments when the prayer of despair or repair rises up, yet my ultimate goal is to hold a consciousness of God steadily, in such a way as to more regularly experience the presence of God as my only reality.
Rev. Elizabeth Longo, Associate Minister
Prayer is communion with God. It changes our consciousness. Once we have had a shift in perception then we begin to see things from a different view and thus our experience of reality changes. I do not believe there is a right or wrong way to pray. A sincere, heart felt prayer, has the power to connect us to our divine nature. Prayer can be in silence, spoken, with or without prayer beads, sitting or moving.
Personally, I believe that my whole life is a prayer. Every breath can serve as a reminder of my union with the beloved. Every step a prayer to the divine mother that nourishes my soul. When I look up to the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, they are a reminder of how I am part of the whole. How I exist in God and God in me. And as Meister Eckhart, the thirteen century mystic, reminded us, “the greatest prayer is a thank you.”