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PRAYER

Rev. Mary Louise Ruffner

The spiritual path may become a wearisome one for the faint of heart. It takes great courage to set out on a journey of uncharted territory, depending upon the discipline of prayer as the one essential and dependable companion.

Regardless of our religious persuasion, the fundamental beliefs we entertain about God, the universe or our individual relationship to it all; we each turn to prayer when faced with circumstances and desires that seem beyond our personal control.

Sometimes the prayers we pray are not called prayers at all. Nonetheless, their purpose is always the same – to move us from where we are to where we want to be.

Prayer is the power that realigns us with our true nature. Once in touch with the nature of who we are, there is a realization of our innate ability to rise above any adversity which is nothing more than an erroneous thought-force. Erroneous thoughts have no sustaining energy and are dissipated by their replacement with Truth-thoughts that are an irresistible force for good.

There are many forms of prayer, and all are applied faith. After all, to engage in prayer at all there is an expectancy of change. However, the acceptance of the change is always the next step. Acceptance means to follow the guidance received from prayer. It’s been said, “Faith without works is dead.” When describing effective prayer, Ernest Holmes puts it simply, saying it is the combination of “faith and acceptance.”

Like me, you may have discarded the prayer you memorized by heart as a child, as well as the image of God that you prayed to; neither being acceptable any longer. A more mature form of prayer I often practice is Contemplative Meditation. Here I set aside some alone time pondering what “I” believe to be so about existence; i.e., life, living, and the cause behind it all, asking, what is my idea of God, really?  This process of prayer always leaves me with a perception of Omnipotence, Omnipresence, and Omniscience. 

I continue in this prayerful mode, contemplating, my personal existence, who am I, really?  This process of prayer always leaves me with a perception of being born of this One Creative Spirit, fully endowed with all of its nature. I perceive Perfect God, Perfect Man, Perfect Being.

Another form of prayer is one of The Prayer of Affirmation. Here I tell myself the spiritual truth about myself and the desired good I embrace, regardless of what is appearing as my present experience. This supports me with a clear vision for my life.   

All this I reason out through the consciousness of the following prayer, first printed in the 1898 issue of Wee Wisdom, the Unity monthly magazine for children, and memorized by many. 

“God is my help in every need; God does my every hunger feed; God walks beside me, guides my way, Through every moment of this day. ~ I now am wise, I now am true, Patient and kind, and loving, too; All things I am, can do, and be, Through Christ the Truth, that is in me. ~ God is my health, I can’t be sick; God is my strength, unfailing, quick; God is my all, I know no fear, Since God and Love and Truth are here.” (Hannah More Kohaus)

With these words deeply embedded in consciousness, we may slip into the Prayer of Silence. Here we simply surrender to what is, knowing all is well. 


This Week’s Affirmation

As I contemplate my prayer, I perceive Perfect God, Perfect Man, Perfect Being.

By Mary Jane LaBonte, RScP

GOD’S WILL: My Free Will

Rev. Mary Louise Ruffner

I notice that the idea of “God’s Will” keeps coming to the surface of my consciousness, demanding my attention and greater clarity while I navigate a life of conscious living. I find that I must continue to explain to myself what I really mean when I use or hear this term.

~ ~ ~ ~

In my formative years, I heard things that implied that God’s will and my will were separate. For example, it was a common belief that the experiences of sickness, death, tornados, and such were God’s will, all serving a purpose in some great cosmic plan. Or, they were God’s way of punishing humankind for some mis-take they had made along the way. On the other hand, my will was selfish, desiring material things and physical experiences that would bring me personal pleasure, and this displeased God. At least, this is what I think I heard.

All this kind of thinking precipitates the idea of God being an anthropomorphic being; i.e., one having human characteristics – moody, unpredictable, revengeful, and secretive. 

Today, these kind of thoughts about God are so removed from my conscious mind that it seems ridiculous to even mention them. Yet, they bring me to the place of asking myself, “So, what do I mean when I say “God’s Will?”

~ ~ ~ ~

I now know that The Creator of all things, God, is Love and Law.  It is God’s Will, I tell myself, to express Itself. “Love points the way – Law makes the way possible.” (Ernest Holmes) 

This Undeniable Force is always taking place within me.

Love is always First Cause, the invisible idea of good entertained in one’s mind, while “Law is a blind force, and whatever goes into the subjective state of our thought tends to return again as some condition.” (Science of Mind)

For example, when ideas of perfect health, financial sufficiency, the ideal home, or any life-enhancing human experience is desired; it is the consciousness of Love that is pointing the way; the Law sets forth to bring about the specific good, according to one’s mental acceptance.

Because my nature is a projection of God’s nature, I have free will, the freedom to choose my own thoughts and follow my own paths. With this freedom comes the corollary— accountability for the outcomes of the choices I make. For example, ideas of lack, limitation, fear, etc. result in the image and likeness of those particular embodied thoughts. However, it is still Love operating on my behalf because Love only knows Love; and the Law executes my will with exact precision. 

The good news is, each one of us may choose what we are thinking and when we are not satisfied with what is showing up, we may change our thinking and change our lives, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.”  (1 Corinthians: 9, 10)

It is from this awareness that I navigate the waters of life, turning to the Indwelling God time and time to deliver me safely from where I am to where I desire to be.


This Week’s Affirmation

 “I have to believe it, to see it”

By Keith Childers

DIY SPIRITUALITY: Shifting Your Own Gears

Rev. Mary Louise Ruffner

Dr. Robert Schuller taught, “If it’s going to be it’s up to me.” Matthew Fox, translating the works of the 14th Century mystic, Meister Eckhart, said: “And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace and if I am not also full of grace?”  In both instances, these gentlemen are speaking to the idea of practical spirituality.

Spirituality, in the context of applying definite universal principles as a way of life, has become a widespread concept. The Soul of those who “catch” this idea, leaps for joy, arousing sweet memories that have been lying dormant.

In many ways the awakening is like stepping onto the next rung of the ever-expanding, upward-spiraling journey of life. In many instances, it is religion, a disciplined practice of reading and studying the lives of enlightened ones who have performed seeming miracles and influenced the masses, that leads one to this point of self-realization.

Like all new adventures, there is much to be learned while becoming familiar with the terrain of self-reliance. For example, while spirituality is the common thread running through all religions as well as the fundamental foundation of them all; it transcends the practice itself. 

Spirituality is awakening to the Indwelling Presence of one’s own being. It is the aligning oneself with the self- governing power within us that is ready to be unleashed as Peace, Love, Wholeness, Harmony, Wisdom, Joy and Unlimited Supply. However, we have to shift our own gears from limited thinking to possibility thinking.  

In a very real sense, the nature of spirituality is scientific; inasmuch as it is absolute and infallible, therefore reliable and dependable. It goes without saying that in order to experience the benefits of any science, we must first obey its principles. Mystics of all time have made it plain, that ultimately, the universe does not play favorites; i.e., “What It’s done for others, It will do for you.” 

When old limiting beliefs began to shift to a new way of seeing things, it is a result of our own efforts. No one else can do that for us; yet they can teach us that it is through changing our thinking that our life begins to change. 

 How wonderful it is to find ourselves in a community where we can turn to the spiritual leader and practitioners to support us as we learn to apply spiritual principles in our lives. Their expertise in this field of study, based on the data they have accumulated, tested, and proved firsthand, is truly a blessing.

However, in the final analysis, it is always your very own acceptance of the good/the healing declared on your behalf that sets in motion the Perfect Law of Life. Ultimately, no matter how you slice it, the path of conscious spirituality is always a Do It Yourself endeavor.  

Spirituality is a mental atmosphere of one’s awareness of its unity with the Divine. I love contemplating the far-reaching implication in the declaration: “I AM the way, the truth, and the life.”


This Week’s Affirmation

My eyes have seen the Glory within, and I consciously direct, celebrate, and give thanks for life’s possibilities for good.

By Angela “Chris” Beam


A Tribute for Paula

The blink of an eye. Often that’s how change appears to happen – particularly to others. Yet the blink may take months, even years.

 I can still hear Paula complaining about everything – whether it flew, it crawled, it laid there or it walked. In the blink of an eye, I heard her express care, concern and gratitude for the people, places and things that came her way. 

As she went from project to project there were hiccups but she had learned to express appreciation for what worked…. thereby opening the doors to the abundance that was hers to claim. 

What a beautiful butterfly Paula Clancy morphed into. She spread her wings and her colors shone brightly. Now she has flown away in the blink of an eye. 

~ submitted by Clarice Martin 8/31/2021 ~


RADICAL FAITH

Rev. Mary Louise Ruffner

“I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. 

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.”

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer ~

The phrase “I have absolutely no choice in the matter,” is not an uncommon one. This false belief arises during those times in life when it seems as though there are little to no options regarding a particular situation. Or, when the foreseeable possibilities come with such unfavorable consequences that it’s not worth the risk. 

The imagined risks quite often involve the fear that certain choices will damage a meaningful relationship. For example, one might say:  I cannot accept that promotion because my co-worker … I cannot go on that luxury trip because my family … I cannot engage in certain healing modalities because my spouse believes … I cannot change my mind because it will disappoint … I cannot associate with that community because my friends will judge … etc., etc., etc. 

~ ~ ~ ~

There is a natural inclination to be mindful of one another; and, of course, there are times when it is appropriate to seek counsel of our loved ones. However, I have noticed that whenever I make an honest assessment, moving through all my own emotional reactions, and finally arrive at what I know is truly my highest good in any given situation, the choices I make for my life are always the highest good for everyone concerned. This is a process anchored in, and perfectly aligned with, an unwavering faith in spiritual principle.

~ ~ ~ ~

Faith is more than simply saying, “There is only One Life; that Life is God, and that Life is my life right now.” It is accepting, believing, sensing, and feeling the statement to the degree that even in the face of seeming duality; there is no longer a subjective belief of “them and us” that has a tendency to pull one off course.

Faith anchors itself in a consciousness within one’s own self, that says spiritual principle does not contradict itself. It is a conclusion based on what makes perfect sense. Otherwise, according to the wise adage, “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.”

~ ~ ~ ~

Radical faith is believing in one’s soul to lead, guide, and direct all conscious choices.

Radical faith is an inherent awareness that the choices that are truly for your highest good, are spontaneously and simultaneously the highest good for everyone involved. This conclusion is a result of knowing there is only One Life… One Presence, One Soul living through all.

Radical faith is being fully alive, awake, and active in the world, while at the same time being acutely aware of not being of the world; that the true Self is always living in a vibration of Love and Light. 

Radical faith is a soul-searching and complete surrender that God’s Will (the highest idea of good imaginable) is taking place in all individual life and in concert with the one collective life.

Radical faith is loving one’s neighbor as one’s self. It is affirming that all life-enhancing choices create a world that works for everyone.


This Week’s Affirmation

“Perfect God. Perfect Man. Perfect Being.”
~ Ernest Holmes ~ 

FEELING THE FEELINGS

Rev. Mary Louise Ruffner

“I believe that the Universal Spirit, which is God, operates through a Universal Mind, which is the Law of God; and that I am surrounded by this Creative Mind which receives the direct impress of my thought and acts upon it.” ~ Ernest Holmes ~

~ ~ ~ ~

Back in the day, George Burns and Gracie Allen were a radio comedy team that entertained America. At the end of their routine, Burns would say to Allen: “Say Goodnight, Gracie” and she would think he was telling her what specifically to say, so she would repeat, “Goodnight Gracie!” This joke always left us laughing.

Recalling this made me think how often the words we hear are subject to interpretation and context because of the complexity of language in general. After all, every culture has its own idioms; i.e., slang, sayings, and jargon. Often, metaphors, analogies, and parables are used in an effort to say what is trying to be said. 

 Even sounds, such as the tone of the voice, or the humming of a tune or the clearing of the throat may suggest a certain mood; all born out of feelings, that intimate part of ourselves that translate into thoughts and words.

Sometimes there is a play on words, simply to ignite a sense of humor, like “Goodnight Gracie!”

~ ~ ~ ~

In addition to all the subtle nuances of the words we speak, there is a common belief that if we simply say specific words, they accomplish certain results. This may or may not always be the case.

Learning to say life-affirming phrases is a great practice when teaching one’s self how to think. However, it is not until the feeling behind the words spoken take root that we may demonstrate the power of the creative mind that Holmes speaks about. The key is to keep practicing until we actually feel the true meaning of the words we speak. The feeling is sure to ignite the law of creative mind.

~ ~ ~ ~

There is something within every one of us that knows, along with Emma Curtis Hopkins: “There is good for me and I ought to have it.” Yet, finding the words to describe this innermost conviction is sometimes difficult to articulate. However, when feelings of health, wealth, loving relationships, and creativity become encoded on the soul, the world of form reveals the likeness of this spontaneous prayer. The world we live in becomes our very own self-expression. 

It is important to find time to become still and just be with the silence of the soul; a time when there are no words spoken; a time of simply letting the feelings of one’s divine birthright saturate the entire being.

It is in such moments, when the self is completely unified with the Self, that this holy communion, this mystical marriage, this divine encounter becomes the healing balm that is needed at the particular time … a moment that reveals the magnificence of The One. 


This Week’s Affirmation

“I live in my truth, I communicate my truth, I am the truth.”

https://www.thepathprovides.com/blog/10-powerful-throat-chakra-affirmations-for-balancing-your-fifth-chakra