It is in prayer that we come to know the Truth of our being. We come to know ourselves. We come to know our real Self. And we come to know God, the source of our life.
God is the only power. If you don’t get anything else, get that! God is the only power. There are not two powers; there is only one power. It’s up to us to connect in consciousness, consciously, to that One Presence and One Power.
God, the only power, is transcendent and immanent; transcendent in that God is everywhere present, and immanent in realizing that God dwells within you and your connection with God is found within you.
In the realization of God transcendent we say there is only One Presence and One Power in all the Universe, God, the good, omnipotent.
Then we bring it down to ourselves, and we can say in Truth there is only One Presence and One Power in my life, God, the good, omnipotent.
Then we begin to turn to that sense of God immanent within us, to realize the Truth of that Presence. As we come to know that Truth, as we take time to know that Truth, then our lives change. And they change for the better, because we begin to operate from a different consciousness and to serve humanity; we begin to live our purpose in life, we become “on purpose” rather than just living randomly and we live with intention.
It’s important that we look within to realize the Truth of God’s Presence. I think it was St. Augustine who said, “We must turn within, for Truth dwells within man.” He said we are all too eager to look abroad for great wonders, but the greatest wonder of all lies within us – the Truth of God’s Presence.
George Fox, in 17th Century England, experienced his life turn around when he realized that same Truth, that there was a dynamic spiritual presence that lived within him. He began to focus on that to such an extent that his followers began to quake and tremble when he came into their presence, and they became to be called the “Quakers” of the Society of Friends.
There are many levels of prayer and we are all individuals. All prayer is good, but we must realize that we grow in degrees or levels of prayer as we train ourselves to focus in terms of living a spiritual life, living from a God-centeredness, living from within-out.
St. Teresa, many years ago in the 16th Century or so, wrote some beautiful words in a treatise called “The Interior Castle.” She said it’s as though we live in a house of many rooms, that there are many rooms within us, many levels of being. And it’s those prayer levels which are the many levels of being. As we deepen our spiritual life, we move through all of those rooms of our being.
Sometimes we want to start at a different level, but in a very real sense I think we are all beginners, and we need to remember that we can always turn back to the beginning, to the fundamentals of prayer. And every one of us has the ability to grow to the heights of prayer so that we live in the fullness of prayer, not just prayer now and again but living from that consciousness of oneness with God.
It’s a spiritual journey; it takes time and some gentle effort, but all of us can do it. And the time to begin is now. If you’ve put it off, the time to begin is now; if you’ve been practicing prayer for some times and then fallen away from it, the time to begin again is now. If you’ve been practicing prayer over a long period of time, still the place to begin is now and the time to begin is now.
So in this fullness of prayer I’d like to look at the steps that we enumerate in Unity, realizing that they fall within the parameters of the stages of prayer which the mystics have taught for ages upon ages. Basically there are three stages of the prayer life.
The first stage is Purification, or Purgation as it is sometimes called. Most of us stay in that level of prayer and don’t move beyond it, or we go back and forth.
The next stage is Illumination or Enlightenment; proficiency in prayer is in that stage.
In the next stage we come to Union, union with God or true contemplation where we practice the Presence of God at all times.
But within those three stages, I have identified seven steps that I will share with you in Part 2 of this article next week. And those seven steps are repeated time and time again.
Just remember, God is Blessing You, Right Now!
Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham
Rev. Alan A. Rowbotham, a Unity minister for over forty years, invites you to subscribe to his free inspirational newsletter, Spiritual Solutions, at www.spiritualsolutionsblog.com, and/or to his free weekday inspirational quotes, Rich Words, in a link on the same blog site.
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