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Sunday Message for April 15, 2018

THE SECOND SECRET OF ANSWERED PRAYER

We are focusing this month on the Power of Prayer. And on Unity's unique form of prayer.

Ernest Holmes in The Science of Mind, wrote: No class of people on earth believes more in prayer than we do. Our whole theory is based not only on the belief in Spirit, but in the availability of It - Its immediate response. We even go so far as to say in everyday language: "Pray right and God cannot help responding."a

These are powerful words, and yet they beg an important question - what does it mean to "pray right?" This little book - a novel -- called The Prayer Chest, offers an answer to that question in what it refers to as "The Three Secrets of the Prayer Chest." In fact, it offers this promise:
Slip 100 prayers into the chest
and do not use the secrets of the Prayer Chest
and all 100 shall go unanswered.
But slip 100 prayers into the chest
utilizing the secrets of the Prayer Chest
and every last one shall be answered . . . to the utmost.b

That's a pretty bold promise, but one that I like. I like it a lot because I know there is a lot of power in bold promises. And as I have read this simple, sweet novel and think about the three secrets it puts forth, they make a lot of sense to me and fit with what we teach in Unity.

Also, we have the book for you in our bookstore, along with some prayer chests. I have discounted the price on the book to an even $10 including tax. And as for the prayer chests, just make an offer on them that seems reasonable to you.

SECRET 2

So today we continue our journey through the novel The Prayer Chest, as we uncover the second secret to "praying right."

First a brief refresher. Our protagonist is a man named Joseph Hutchinson who is living a life of quiet desperation - a life he doesn't really want. He is running the family farm, when he is a carpenter at heart. His beloved wife dies, for which he feels completely responsible, leaving him with two small children. And the last straw is when the bank forecloses on the farm and he and the children must be out within a month. He has no money and nowhere to go.

He has a breakdown, which is shown through the metaphor of throwing out everything in the attic - heirlooms, family treasurers, junk, etc. -- representing clearing old beliefs (perhaps inherited from family) from the consciousness.

Once the attic was cleared out, he saw a false front wall that was always there, but which he'd never seen because of all the stuff in the attic, and behind it was a prayer chest and a notebook containing instructions and the 3 secrets.

It is after the breakdown that he was -- we are -- open to the breakthrough. We can see clearly enough for it. So the breakdown prepares us to receive the three secrets, and last week we discovered and discussed the first secret of the prayer chest. What was it?? Help, please? Yes, it was: "PRAYER IS ANSWERED THROUGH YOU."

Good, now to the second secret. Remember, Joseph is the father and his two young children are Daniel and Mary. (Introduce by reading from pp. 92 - 94.)

I love this idea from the prayer chest notebook: When you talk, you are a dam overflowing, but when you listen you are an open vessel ready to receive. Do not let your words spill over or be like a drum, banging your prayer into God's head in an effort to help God remember.c

There is a story of a professor who traveled a long way to visit a Zen master to learn of Zen teachings.

"Ah, very good!" said the Zen master. "Please come in." After they were seated, the Zen master began by speaking about the vital importance of ethical living in Zen.

"Yes, yes," interrupted the Professor. "Ethics is a fascinating topic, isn't it? I've studied several branches of it. In fact, I actually wrote a book on it," and he gathered speed and launched into a lecture on the various theories of ethics.

"Ah, I see," said the Zen master gently, when at last the professor stopped to draw a breath. "In Zen," he continued, "the correct motivation for saying or doing anything is very important and so we try to say only what is truly helpful."

"Well," said the Professor, "there are several theories which hold that view. However, I must say that I find each of them flawed," and he promptly delivered a long lecture on different theories of motivation.

"Hmm, I see," said the Zen master, when finally the professor paused for a moment. "Would you like some tea?" he said.

"Why, yes, thank you," replied the professor. The Zen master smiled and poured until the professor's cup was full, poured until the tea filled the saucer, and continued pouring while the tea ran over the table.

The professor, a man rarely lost for words, was stunned into silence. But when the hot tea started to pour in his lap, he leaped up yelling, "Stop! Can't you see the cup is full? It can't possibly take any more?"

"Why, yes, I can see that," smiled the Zen master. "And can't you see that when you are so filled with ideas that you must speak, you can't possibly HEAR new ones?"

This second secret of the prayer chest says we must stop talking, even stop praying and start listening! Listen and only listen!

I love the quote from Eva Bell Werber in her book Quiet Talks with the Master. She wrote: Watch, pray, listen! They shall be words of living power to you which shall break down all barriers and light every step of the way.d

Return to your work, do what you must do, but with a part of you ever-inclined toward listening. Know that God speaks to you continuously but that you cannot hear if you do not listen. Do not make God work so hard to get your attention. You will be surprised by how much you are able to hear in the silence.

Mary Manin Morrissey in Building Your Field of Dreams writes: Calmly, clearly and without judgment our inner voice is always ready to help us move toward our highest good any time we choose to listen. As we increasingly listen to and follow our inner guidance, we find ourselves navigated to our dream. You will be told, very specifically. Listen, and you will be led. Remember, God can do for us only what God can do through us. Willingly follow your voice of God, even if you would rather sit home and fret.e

Before going into more detail about this listening thing, I do want to address this idea of praying only once vs. praying over and over again. There was an ongoing debate between Vetura Papke (Holmes' practitioner) and Holmes. According to Vetura, treat once; according to Ernest Holmes, Science Of Mind: If it takes five minutes, five hours, five days or five years, the treatment must be kept up until a healing is accomplished. . . . Treat until you get results.f

But what if we experimented with the idea of praying, once and then choosing to realize that as the prayer is answered through us, we must be open to listening and then really hearing.

Some things can stand in the way of listening and really hearing. What stops us from hearing even if we are trying to listen? Any thoughts? Fear, Anger at others and self, victimhood...

Joseph played the victim very, very well. Yes, a lot of horrible stuff had happened to him, yes, it seemed as if life were unfair, yet, playing the victim kept him and keeps us stuck there and will not, will not, will not, allow our prayers to be answered.

There's a really, really easy way to spot victim consciousness. Whenever we ask questions such as:
"Why did this happen to me?"
"Why aren't my prayers being answered?"
"How could you do this to me?"
even . . "Why are your prayers being answered and mine aren't. Doesn't God like me?"
Those are victim questions.

So, we have stopped talking, are open to listening and can hear. How does the Voice of God come to us? Sometimes like a thunderbolt; sometimes in a still small voice.
Sometimes as only a feeling or a sense. But if you are consciously listening, it is there.
Sometimes through another person, something you read, see on a billboard or watch in a movie.
Sometimes it's a situation you find yourself in - just perfect for what you need.

Ernest Holmes discusses Jesus' communion with God saying his power was founded on his ability to listen and that we should all listen. Science Of Mind: We must learn to listen . . . . Call it conscience, intuition, or what we will, it is there. No one need go unguided through life, for all are divine at the center and all are Images of the Most High.g

You have an assignment this week. Let's begin to test the secrets of the prayer chest. What is on your heart?

Perhaps create a prayer chest at home. Or there are some in the bookstore. The one in the book is a simple, although beautifully hand crafted wood box with a gold lock, with the key thrown away. Create one. Write down a prayer. Place it in the box, not to pull it out - ever.

Begin practicing the secrets.
First, know that the answer must come through you; it is the only way it can.
Second, completely let it go and be consciously open to listening.

Set that intention daily. If you try to take the prayer back tell yourself that your job for this week is simple - all you need to do is listen.

Remember the bold promise of the prayer chest:
Slip 100 prayers into the chest
and do not use the secrets of the Prayer Chest
and all 100 shall go unanswered.
But slip 100 prayers into the chest
utilizing the secrets of the Prayer Chest
and every last one shall be answered . . . to the utmost.

And to that, I say AND SO IT IS!



aErnest Holmes The Science of Mind, p. 283
bThe Prayer Chest August Gold & Joel Fotinos
cThe Prayer Chest August Gold & Joel Fotinos
dEva Bell Werber Quiet Talks with the Master
eMary Manin Morrissey Building Your Field of Dreams
fErnest Holmes, Science Of Mind, p 225
gErnest Holmes, Science Of Mind p. 367



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