Prayer Power

On October 28, 2018, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

Prayer Power Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins Let us dwell together in peace, and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen. When I was young, a priest told me, “To try to pray is to pray.” I believe […]

Prayer Power
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins

Let us dwell together in peace, and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen.

When I was young, a priest told me, “To try to pray is to pray.” I believe that still. Any effort to turn godward is an act of prayer. Any loving thought, any positive wish, any feeling of gratitude, any intentional effort to consciously experience a deeper reality, any affirmation of possibilities is, in fact, prayer.

There are lots of forms of prayer. Lots of techniques and formulas.

There is centering prayer (which is sitting in the Silence simply focusing on the divine presence)…it’s one of my favorite forms.
There is Lectio Divina, which is a way of meditating on scripture.
There are mantras, repeating sacred texts and phrases over and over.
There are prayers we read or have learned by heart.

There is chanting, and there are the prayers we sing.
There is praise and thanksgiving.
There is visualization where we imagine things as they could be, and trust that God can make our vision become a reality.

There are many ways to pray…
But the most effective prayers tend to share some things in common, and that’s what Jesus is teaching us today in the gospel.

He isn’t saying we have to pray these exact phrases, or that we have to abandon any other form of prayer…he’s saying, when you pray, however you pray, keep a few things in mind.

1. Acknowledge the divine presence.
“There’s not a spot where God is not.” God is the all-in-all.
God is the Life living through us,
the Wisdom that guides us,
the Love that connects us,
the Power that energizes us,
and the very Substance from which we are made.
God as omnipresence must be right here. So right now is the perfect time to pray.

The first step is to acknowledge the presence of a power.
Dear God.
Abba.
Father-Mother God.
Spirit of Life.
Holy One.
Universal Presence.
Higher Power.
Inward Light.
God of many names, mystery beyond our naming.

Pick a name. It can be Alice or Bozo or Dippity-Do…but let it resonate in your heart, something that speaks to possibilities and love and hope and joy.
Because if you can at least imagine that there is a power, and that the power is always near, THEN you can plug into the power and let it flow in your life. Acknowledge the divine presence.

2. Trust that the divine presence is good.
It’s great for there to be a power or a presence, but it’s really only good news if the power is good.

Abba, hallowed be your name is really saying, “God, not only are you here with me, but I know you are all good.”

To refer to someone’s name in scripture is to say something about the person’s nature.
To pray in the name of Jesus is to pray in the nature of Jesus (which he’s showing us how to do today).
To do something in the name of God is to do it in the nature of God.

To say hallowed is your name means, “Your nature is good, and you always act according to your nature.”

There is only one Presence and one Power in the universe, God the Good omnipotent.

So far, Jesus has told us:
God is.
God is present.
And God is good.

Jesus tells us to start our prayers with the awareness that God is,
And that if God is, then God is everywhere fully present (omnipresent),
And that’s good news because God is all good and only good.

He isn’t telling us what to say so much as he is helping us develop the consciousness that will make any kind of prayer more impactful.

3. Ask for what is highest and best.
If God is, and God is good, then when we ask God for our good we are asking for God’s own goodness to be manifest in our experience. And God’s goodness must be what is highest and best.

Your kingdom come, your kin-dom come, your realm come.
What is God’s realm? Heaven.
Where is heaven? It’s where God is.
Where is God? EVERYWHERE.

So, wherever I am, God is.
Wherever God is, is heaven.
And Heaven is infinite goodness.

Jesus said God’s realm was at hand…it’s in our hands. Prayer helps us see and seize the good that has always been meant for us, the good that is even now at hand.

When we ask for something good, and we are open to it or to something even better, we are saying,
May God’s heaven show up in and as my life.

Heaven is joy. Heaven is peace. Heaven is harmony. Heaven is sufficiency and supply. Heaven is highest and best.

Your realm come…Your Good be made manifest in my life.
What could be better than that?

4. It’s not all about you.
What we wish for ourselves, we should wish for all people.
That is, we want to be happy, healthy, loved, safe, fulfilled, prosperous.
And we ought to want those same blessings for everyone.
Justice is never for just-us.

And so, our prayers aren’t to just have a genie grant our desires or to have Santa bring us our wished for goodies…rather, prayer is how we plug into the omnipresence, the one power, and let it flow through us to bless us and others.

We want everyone to enjoy every freedom, every right, every opportunity, every miracle that we have dared to hope for ourselves.
Give us our daily bread. Not just me…everyone.
Forgive us when we miss the mark. Not just me…all of us. We’ve all fallen short of our highest ideals; heal us all. Help us all be our best.
Save us from trying times…not just me…everyone. Save me from being slandered, and save her from unemployment, and save him from domestic abuse, and save them from the violence they are fleeing, save everyone who needs medical care, and save us all from bigotry, hatred, and irrational fears.
It’s not just about you, or me…it’s about us…ALL of us.

Dear God,
You are everywhere present and you are all Good.
And so I ask for your goodness to be made manifest in my life, and not just mine, but in every life.

Jesus connected with God intimately, directly. He knew God was closer than his next breath, and so he could commune with God fully, instantly.
He was so plugged into God that he could remain calm during a storm.
He could try to feed people when there wasn’t really much food.
He could encourage the physically and mentally ill.
He could forgive his tormentors.
He could speak truth to power.
He could affirm the sacred value of all people.

How could he do that? How could he be that plugged into God?
Probably, his prayer life had something to do with it.

So, his disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray the way you pray.”
And Jesus answered:
Acknowledge the divine presence.
Trust its goodness.
Ask for what is highest and best.
And also want the best for everyone.

A short phrase that covers those bases might be: God is all and all is well.

But sometimes, we need to get there. We need a few steps.
So, Jesus modeled prayer by saying:
Abba, hallowed is your name. Your realm come. Give us all each day our daily bread. And forgive us all for missing the mark, and help us be forgiving when others make mistakes. And save us all from times of trial. Amen.

I hope when we pray that same prayer later in the service, you hear it more deeply, you feel it more deeply, you find yourself connecting with God more profoundly. I hope that using the words of the song, your consciousness hears, “God is all, and all is well.”

And so it is. And this is the good news.

Dear God,
You are everywhere present,
and you are all Good.
And so I ask for your goodness …
to be made manifest in my life,
and not just mine, but in every life.
Amen.

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