Affirmative Prayer & More About Principle

Midweek Faith Lift

June 5, 2024

Affirmative Prayer & More About Principle

Rev. Deb Hill-Davis


Spiritual Passages

May 27, 2024


          I needed some supplies from a Sunday school cupboard that was seldom used and was secured with a lock. I didn't know the combination, but our minister offered to give it a try. Rev. Lorie placed her fingers on the lock's dial, raised her eyes heavenward, and stayed in that posture for a long moment. I felt her connection to a higher Mind. Then, with confidence, she spun the dial and opened the lock. Seeing how impressed I was with her openness to Universal Intelligence, she smiled and confided, "The combination is written on the ceiling."


          "By practicing without 'shoulds,' we gradually discover our wakefulness and our confidence. Gradually, without any agenda except to be honest and kind, we assume responsibility for being here in the unpredictable world, this unique moment, in this precious human body." - Pema Chodron


           Affirmative Prayer for today: Living, loving Presence of Goodness, in this now moment I embrace all the energy of my Divine/Human experience to unfold more of what is good, true and beautiful in this hurting and confused world. Amen.


We continue our journey into the nature and energy of affirmative prayer today with some self-deprecating humor!  I just love the opening story, because it is so typical of folks in Unity to begin to ascribe all kinds of miraculous wonders to the process of using affirmative prayer.  Both Eric Butterworth, in The Universe is Calling and Revs. Linda and DeeAnn in Discover Your Divinity, debunk those magical beliefs and immature patterns of prayer among Unity folks.  Praying for an external God to intervene to create a divine rescue or cause your team to win, or to miraculously heal a serious illness or even open a combination to a padlock is NOT affirmative prayer. 


As Rev. Butterworth notes with affirmative prayer, “There can be no violation of natural law.”  Gravity is always in effect such that if I step off a cliff I will fall.  I may survive which is a whole different energy process, but prayer does not undo gravity.  The whole energy of prayer is to work with Divine Principles as a disciplined spiritual practice, not a quick recitation of affirmations when in need.  Those are useful to remind us to connect with our Divine energy, but they are not incantations to get things to work out as we want them to work out.  There are mental and spiritual laws governing affirmative prayer and our challenge is to understand and work with those laws to manifest more Goodness in our world and our lives.  When that happens it can seem like a miracle, but it is truly the outworking of the nature of God, Spirit, Oneness.


Let us return for a moment to a review of the “Omnis” which is where we left off last Sunday.  These are important principles, which flow from the Prime Principle of Oneness or God and are keys to our deeper understanding of the flow of affirmative prayer.  “Omnipresence is pervasiveness, indicating spiritual power is not centralized in a single location but is everywhere.” Discover Your Divinity, p. 25.   We often hear that in Unity as “Wherever I am, God is!” as in the Prayer for Protection.  (Omni)Presence is the “everywhereness” of God, which means we are not limited by our human form to experiencing this truth. 


Omniscience is the capacity of knowingness, a spiritual power whereby we “know” without understanding how it is that we know.  We would call this intuition, or this experience of inner knowing that is grounded in spiritual truth.  And Omnipotence is the capacity of powerfulness, which is a limitless spiritual power.  We have an innate ability and capacity to be powerful, to speak up, to take action and find the strength to accomplish what is ours to do.  All three Omnis are nouns, not adjectives, and are part and parcel of the Oneness of God.


Now let’s pause to consider a few thoughts about the word Good or God, to help clarify what we are identifying as principle.  As we noted before, there is no opposing force to God for that would imply duality or separation, which is not possible.  When we state that there is only one Presence and One Power, God the Good, Omnipotence, we are reminding ourselves of this spiritual truth. God is not a Being, God is Beingness itself and we are part of that Beingness of God. 


It is worth noting that using the word “Good” in our language brings up the notion of “Bad” as a contrast, as though we are indentifying good specifically in contrast to bad but that is not the case.  Rev. Linda suggests using the word “Goodness” instead so that we are clearer about the meaning.  When we say that God, or Divine Mind, is goodness, we do not claim that everything that we see in the relative, human world is good.  What we do mean is that goodness, and all the qualities and principles that arise from goodness such as harmony, peace, order and so on are available and accessible at all times. 


As humans we are called to activate our Divine energy, our Christ energy to manifest these qualities in constructive ways.  Remember, like gravity, the principle of Oneness, of Goodness, is value neutral and in effect just like gravity, whether we choose to work constructively with it or not. We are frequently not conscious or aware of whether the choices we make are constructive or destructive.  We may only see that in the fullness of time, as we gain greater spiritual and emotional maturity.  Our intentional practice is to consciously align our thoughts with the highest expression of spiritual law rather than get caught up in the “human story” of unfairness, duality, and separation.


Metaphysical teacher and founder of Religious Science, Ernest Holmes, says it in Science of Mind this way:


          We must instill into the mind the fundamental proposition that good is without bounds...  We must get this concept, rather than continuing to think there is a power of evil as opposed to the power of Good.  We experience good and evil because we perceive a presence of duality rather than unity.


When we begin to work with this essential principle, then while we still experience suffering, pain, loss and all the human experiences, we no longer ultimately see ourselves as victims even when in the human context and experience we feel that we are.  We cultivate spiritual tools to be with our experiences in a new way.


What is that new way, and what is it like for us as human beings? Well, the “new way” is to embrace our experiences from the perspective of our Divine Identity as we discern what that is actually like.  We have heard it described that humans are related to God like a drop of water is to the ocean, but that is not quite accurate.  A drop of water can be removed from the ocean and exist separately from the ocean. 


However, a wave is the action of the ocean and cannot exist separately as it is an inherent part of the ocean.  As Rev. Linda describes it, “The wave is the action of the ocean.  You are the ocean in motion.  All that the ocean is, you are.” P. 28 Discover Your Divine Identity.  You are part of the action of the ocean, but you are not ALL of the ocean, or God. The question is how that action of the ocean is showing up in you right now.   The adventure is to discover what aspects of Goodness are you claiming and desiring to manifest right now in your divine/human experience. 


Remember last week we talked about the Flow of Affirmative Prayer?  I open to new possibilities; I recognize God is; I integrate I AM.  When we integrate I Am, we are claiming some aspect of our Divine Identity.  Being Divine, claiming our Divine Identity does NOT mean we are no longer human, no longer our human selves.  It does NOT mean we are now perfect, no longer impatient or irritable or tired or anxious, afraid and so on.  It means that we recognize and claim the spiritual quality that takes us out of our “only human” limitations and expands us to a larger expression of our Christ self, our God self, our Higher Self.  We practice this process of claiming our higher nature just as we practice the process of affirmative prayer. 


We are a prayer in process and we take this understanding of our true Divine nature in small bites allowing us to see ourselves from that God perspective, a higher point of view, the “top of the mountain” or the whole of the ocean vantage point.  When we do this, affirmative prayer as a process becomes our life process.  “Not I, but the Christ within that does this work,” becomes our affirmation.  This manifests in multiple ways, big and small as it works through us to change how we show up.


During one of our first trips to Florida, in 2014, we were seeking an entry point to the beach and an elusive parking spot!  Our human response was to initially feel really frustrated. I was driving and I began to pray out loud saying aloud to the ocean that we did NOT come all the way to Bonita Beach, Florida to just drive around seeking a parking spot.  As I expressed our need, I felt a shift from frustration to actual seeing what was right there, before us.  That changed how I was looking, and instead of watching for open spaces, I started looking for people around cars who might be leaving and vacating a space.  It took several trips around the lot, but my new prayer was to truly see and respond and low and behold our prayer was answered quickly!


We pray to manifest the Divine expression of patience, and as in the opening story we DON’T claim Divine Wisdom when we are just looking at the ceiling for the combination, as tempting as that might be.  We are learning in the flow of affirmative prayer as our Divine/human selves!


Blessings on the Path,
Rev. Deb