Message of Faith – The Lord’s Prayer—Love God

This weeks Message of Faith submitted by Rev. Joanne Rowden

Rev. Joanne Rowden
Rev. Joanne Rowden

People can become enraged. Prayer has been removed from our schools. Prayer has been removed from our sporting events. Prayer has been removed from our civic activities. The world is encroaching and taking away my opportunity to pray!

I am reminded of Jesus’ statements about prayer which he offers in Matthew 5:5-6, “When you pray you are not to be like the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Prayer has nothing to do with being allowed to speak words out loud in any setting. Prayer is a shift in consciousness from the problem to the possibility. This can be accomplished wherever you or I find ourselves. No one can take away our ability to pray no matter what the setting or situation.
Prayer begins with a turning within.

Young girl praying

What exactly does this mean? When you are confronted with outer circumstances that are challenging, the first step is to take your attention off of those outer circumstances and return to an awareness of God’s power and presence in this moment. For me, that turning within is a closing of my eyes which helps to shift my focus. It also involves taking a deep breath as I remember the Holy Spirit is the very breath of God. As I breathe in, I surrender to the Spirit of God that guides the way, inspiring diving ideas and affirmative action. For some, that turning within may be placing your attention on your heart as you remember the power of love that harmonizes all situations. The purpose of the turning within is to refocus on the Absolute Truth in that moment. I can make that choice to focus on God no matter what is occurring around me. Others nearby may not even know in that moment that I am praying. It is an inner shift in consciousness.

The foundation of every prayer is God. It is not surprising, then, that the first line in the Lord’s Prayer brings us first to that foundation of God. In the ancient Aramaic language that Jesus likely spoke, the word translated as Our Father was Abwoon. Even from the ancient Aramaic there are many ways this phrase can be translated. Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz has translated it as, “O Birther of the Cosmos, focus your light within us—make it useful.” Other translations given by Neil Douglas-Klotz include “O Thou! Breathing Life of all, Creator of the Shimmering Sound that touches us.” Anyone who has learned a foreign language knows it can be difficult to directly translate certain phrases. What I know for sure is that Jesus did not stand before the crowds proclaiming, “Our Father Who Art in Heaven!”

As we get too attached to the words, or to spaces and places we can pray, we miss the point. If the point of prayer is to shift my consciousness, then the first place to begin is in God, the very breath of life animating all. This life force that is available in full in every moment, is the foundation and Source of all that is. It is this foundation in which I place my faith. It is here that I choose to perceive through eyes that are fixed on Truth. It is the beginning of loving God.

As I focus my attention here, I know I can surrender to this power and presence that I am reminded is holy. The foundation of all life is Good, as Unity teaches. There is no need to fear. Take a breath. Place your faith in your God. Surrender to the power of that living spirit within. Pay no attention to what is occurring around you. All that matters is what is occurring within you!
Our spiritual practice this week involves taking time daily to be still, to go apart, to turn within. In that time of stillness, contemplate your oneness with God, with all life. Consider how you can carry this awareness of God’s presence with you through your day. How can you honor the oneness with your family, in your work, as you drive, as you clean and shop, as you pay your bills? Knowing the answer comes, wait with great expectation for Divine ideas to guide your way this week. Honor the ones of all life in every thought, word and action.

Abundant peace and blessings… Rev. Joanne

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Rev. Joanne Rowden
Rev. Joanne Rowden

Rev. Joanne Rowden is the senior minister at Unity Spiritual Center in Westlake, OH. She served as the minister at Unity in Edinboro for 13 years before taking on this new position on November 1, 2014. She lives in Hinckley, OH with her husband.

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