The Power Behind Prayer

YouTube: The Power Behind Prayer

While meditation is an infilling, the deeper realization that you are grounded in God, prayer is your means of expressing the life, love, power, and intelligence of God through specific areas of your life. You do this through the exercise of prayer, your ability to release the energy you have given to a negative appearance and redirect it toward the perfect outworking of your situation.

Once you grasp the relationship between meditation and prayer you no longer see prayer as a means of getting something from God. Rather you see it as a process of releasing those mental and emotional states that are blocking your good and affirming the truth that unfolds through your quiet times.

If you have a situation in your life that you want to address spiritually, you begin by taking your thoughts off the challenge and turning to God in meditation. When you close your eyes, you’ll be tempted to think only about the problem. With practice you will release your attachment to the negative appearance and experience an infilling of new inspiration. As you go about your day and the challenge presents itself to you, you release the negative energy you have invested in the challenge and allow yourself to experience it in a new and different way. You can speak words such as, “I now release the energy of this negative appearance. There is nothing to fear.” This is the denial or releasing side of prayer. You then follow up with statements that are true of your spiritual nature. “That which is in me is greater than that which is of the world. I am fearless. I am filled with the understanding of what I am to do and how I am to do it.”

Effective prayer asks nothing of God. You pray with the assumption that God has already given you all you need to meet the challenge at hand. Sometimes you are called to act and other times you are called to be still and know the Creative Life Force that is God is working through you in ways that allow your light to shine in beautiful ways. The power behind prayer is your understanding of your inseparable oneness with God, your unfailing source. 

The Meditative Process

YouTube: The Meditative Process

The practice of meditation is simple in terms of physical posture. A good position is to sit in a comfortable chair where the spine can be straight, feet flat on the floor, hands resting on your lap or on the arms of the chair. The object of the position is to stay awake while releasing all thought of the body. The goal of meditation is not the achievement of deep relaxation. Relaxation should be thought of as a byproduct. The goal of meditation is to acquaint yourself firsthand with the pure essence of life before it is colored by your own thinking.

Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths speaking quietly something like this: I now relax and let go. Release the tension in your body but make no attempt to force it out. Turn your attention to the inner depths of your consciousness. This may not appear to be a clear instruction because it is difficult to explain what it means. You will know you are making progress because your mind will begin to slow to a relaxing and clear pace. Do not make the mistake of trying to stop your thinking. Rather, redirect your natural tendency to think by making another statement: I now move deeper into the pure essence of Being. Focus your mind in the direction you wish it to move.

If you find you cannot stay focused at this point, do as Charles Fillmore suggested and get up and move about, stretching or taking a short walk. Return and start again.

These simple procedures may seem elementary, but stay with them until they begin to produce results. Feel your way through the process by trying different things, simple things that suit you. There is no quick or easy method of disciplining your mind. Reading more about how to do it will only complicate your approach. The truth is that opening your mind to the Infinite is a natural act that most of us have simply forgotten. In time you will begin to experience new and deeper feelings of freedom and inspiration that is not grounded in or tied to external events. These may come at unexpected times throughout your day. Do not look for such feelings, but acknowledge them when they come. Stay with your practice and the way within will become clear.

A Practical Guide to Meditation and Prayer

YouTube: A Practical Guide to Meditation and Prayer

Testimonials and Endorsements

On the path to spiritual understanding no practice is more important in terms of spiritual transformation than the practices of meditation and prayer.”

Because the terms meditation and prayer tend to evoke different meanings, we treat them as two completely separate practices. Meditation is often thought of as the art of listening to God while prayer is thought of as the act of talking to God, usually in the form of a request. In my book, I treat these practices as two halves of a single process. Meditation provides an infilling of inspiration from our inner resource and prayer is the act of directing this inspiration into specific areas of our experience.

Let’s say you have a healing challenge. In meditation you still your mind, releasing all images of yourself as incomplete. You pull your thoughts from the appearance of illness and open your mind and heart to your spiritual wholeness. This opening process is not a blind groping for something you do not have but a receptivity to your spiritual reality. Regardless of the condition of your body you are whole and complete right now. You invite this wholeness to come forth, to become part of your conscious reality.

Thus inspired, you engage in prayer by releasing all negative energy around this appearance and then directing affirmative statements to your body, particularly to the affected area. Think of meditation as an inhaling and prayer as the exhaling of divine energy, two parts to the single activity we call breathing.

The basis of this approach is the understanding that as a spiritual being you are already whole and that you are right now fully immersed in the presence of God. You don’t ask God to make you whole, you acknowledge your wholeness. You don’t ask God to act as your healer, you acknowledge that God as your source is your wholeness. You are aligning yourself with the presence and action of God in and as you.

In the following weeks we will further explore both aspects of this spiritually aligning process.         

A New Beginning

YouTube: A New Beginning

Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” Romans 12:2

Our new year celebration, like most holidays, calls our attention to an important spiritual principle which Paul highlights in the above passage. It is our ability to experience transformation by letting go of the old and opening our mind to the new. From the spiritual perspective, we do not limit our thinking to a span of 365 days. In truth, every moment is an opportunity to begin again.

When Jesus warned about judging by appearances, he was pointing to our tendency to let certain facts determine how we think and feel, an obvious influence on our expectations. This places us at the mercy of our ever-changing environment. If we think of each new moment as an opportunity to begin again, we can challenge our own belief that the past determines the present and future, and we can raise our expectation for unfolding greater good. As Paul implies, acknowledging facts does not mean we are obligated to conform mentally and emotionally to what they appear to be telling us.

To ring out the old and ring in the new involves the process of denial (release) and affirmation. If you are concerned that something you value is being threatened, begin by realizing every moment is a new beginning. Choose to not conform to the appearance and the fear you have invested in it. Lift your spiritual sight above the apparent facts and affirm that God’s wisdom is now working through all people and circumstances to establish a wonderful resolution.

You are setting a new course for yourself. Yes, you will waver. You will experience doubt. The old fears will return. Do not allow yourself to become entangled in the old pessimism. Start over. Enter another new beginning. Be willing to be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Spend quality time pulling yourself away from all appearances and affirm the wisdom of God is working in wonderful and powerful ways.     

Let this now moment be your new beginning. Let go and trust God’s greater good is now unfolding through your life.

Denial and Affirmation

I release everything I think I know about myself, my life, and the way my life seems to be unfolding.

Spirit reveals the perfect path to a meaningful, prosperous and successful life.

A Most Moving Letter

Once upon a time, I was the minister of Christ Church Unity in Springfield, Missouri. I’m told that the church has completely changed since I was there. Way beyond my control, thank God. But while I was there, I did a weekly radio broadcast of my Sunday talks. These were prerecorded on cassette tapes (ancient history, I know), which I hand-delivered to KTXR’s studio each week. I was told the station reached a 100 mile radius.

Today, thanks to the internet, our message reaches the entire world. Just yesterday, a new friend, a poet and photographer from Russia, listened to and “liked” our Candle Lighting service. How cool is that?

I am forever hopeful that whoever needs to hear this message can find it. Why? Back in the KTXR days, this letter came from a listener I’ve never met. Nor have I forgotten what they wanted to tell me:

“I had no knowledge of the Unity church prior to one and one half years ago. Then one Sunday, I turned on the radio. I had reached a new low – filled with despair. I had just written a note to my family explaining why I had to take my life. As I was counting out the pills I was going to swallow, I heard Rev. Bottorff speaking (I really heard him). His voice and message was filled with so much love and hope the intense pain I was experiencing seemed to dissipate. I had not been in a church for 20 years and had totally given up on the idea of a God – until that Sunday when your service was broadcast. I can’t even tell you why I had the radio on at that time. I never had before. But I know that Rev. Bottorff saved my life and since that initial message I have missed only 2 or 3 broadcasts. There have been many times during this past year I have been sustained only by the assurance that I would hear your words again on Sunday. ‘Wait till Sunday’ has been my personal battle cry.  So I thank you with much gratitude for reaching out to me – and many others, I’m sure – with love and greater hope for the future.”

Candle Lighting 2020

[Note: This service is audio only. Video did not properly record]

YouTube: Candle Lighting Service

INTRODUCTION

Tonight we are here to celebrate two births. The first is the traditional birth of Jesus of Nazareth which took place nearly two-thousand years ago. From the perspective of western civilization, this was undoubtedly one of the most significant and influential events ever to occur.

It is probably true that no man, before or since Jesus, has had a greater impact upon the thought stream of the human race. There are many views of who and what He was. He has been hailed as being everything from the greatest of prophets to the complete incarnation of God. Millions have found new hope and new life in the pursuit of seeking to understand and follow His teachings and example.

He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” As we ponder these words, and seek in the quiet of our own minds and hearts to distill the essence of their meaning, we hear them echoed from somewhere deep in our midst. The evolution of our spiritual thought guides us into the unsounded depths of our divine potential, and we find that it is this essence to which Jesus was giving voice.

And so we are brought to the second birth that I mentioned. This is the birth, the revelation of Christ within. It was Paul who coined the phrase, Christ in you, your hope of glory. It is obvious that he caught the significance of this more mystical side of the Christian message.

It is this, Christ in you that we seek to awaken in our mainstream, conscious thought. Tonight, this presence may nudge you during a Scripture reading, the singing of a hymn, the hearing of a solo, or an interpretation of the Christmas experience. However it comes, I invite you to listen to it, to make room in the busy inn of your mind and heart for this spirit of God to move you.

THE CHRIST

The tall white candle at the center of the table represents the Christ at the center of our being. It was lit before this service began to symbolize the eternal nature of our spiritual essence. Its flame will be passed to each of the candles on the table and ultimately to the candle you hold in your hand.

The Christ candle is symbolic of the Word found in the Gospel of John. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:1-5).

Christ is the essence of God individualized in each of us. It is intended that our complete identity be built upon this eternal foundation. As it is, we have accepted as the basis of our identity, ideas of lack and limitation. These, in turn, have found expression in our minds, our bodies, and our circumstances.

Our hope of glory lies in re-discovering our spiritual core. Like Jesus, we must begin to claim ourselves the sons and daughters of the living God. We must re-establish our identity in the Word so that Word may become flesh, full of grace and truth, and dwell among us.

MARY

This candle is lighted for Mary, who represents the spiritually receptive intuition.

Mary represents the spiritually receptive intuition of each of us, the higher self, that is open and receptive to the things of Spirit. She is our intuitive nature – that part of us that knows there is more to life than this human, physical existence.

Mary is the still, small, voice of Spirit that speaks in our inner ear, in our times of quiet. It is this voice that continually knocks upon the door of our hearts and minds, reminding us to listen.

Deep within, we know that we are spiritual beings and that we are something very wonderful. In the quiet, this voice of Spirit gently nudges us, showing us how to let our God self, the Christ, be brought forth in to expression.

Mary had great faith in God. She represents that in us which is every ready to magnify the Lord, our God. She is the strong, inner conviction of knowing, that works to bring forth the Christ self, into expression in our daily lives.

JOSEPH

This candle is lighted for Joseph, who represents the spiritually receptive intellect.

Joseph represents the intellectual aspect of our spiritual awakening. In the beginning, something nudges our attention from the depths of our soul. This is the Mary aspect that Beth spoke of. We want to understand this nudge and so we begin an all-out intellectual pursuit to get a handle on what is happening.

Our soul is pregnant with a new and wondrous possibility. But how can this be? Joseph wants to know. Here is new life being brought forth without the aide of intellectual cultivation.

Our Joseph nature, the intellectual aspect of the mind, must reassess its function. Before it was the leader, the teacher, the presenter of new ideas. Now it becomes the observer, the student, the discerner of eternal truths. It beholds divine ideas, ideas that are untouched by the limitations of human thought, born out of the virgin regions of the soul.

Joseph is instructed to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife. The mind that grasps the wonder, the gravity of the holy birth, looses all fear and is guided into an understanding of its oneness with God.

Let your mind be open, receptive and obedient to the light shining through the depths of your soul. Awaken from your dream, as Joseph did, committed to nurturing the Christ child born in you.

THE SHEPHERDS (three candles)

These candles are lighted for the shepherds who represent our ability to watch our thinking.

The shepherds represent our ability to watch over our thoughts. They are our judgment faculty, the innate ability to discern and judge. Just as the shepherds kept watch over their flock by night, so we are to keep watch over the flock of our thoughts and feelings.

We make a conscious commitment to keep a high standard and watch over our thinking. We are beings of energy and how we consciously use this great power of our minds affects our daily experience. We can think thoughts and feel feelings that build the kind of life we want or can do the opposite.

In daily times of quiet as we take time to still the mind. We remember that we are spiritual beings, here to express the highest and best that is in us. We let go of all that is not constructive, so that we may focus this wonderful energy and power of our spirit on the good.

With the spiritually receptive soul and the illumined intellect believing in this birthing process; the birth of the Christ Child takes place as we let go of limited thoughts and feelings allowing this new life of the Christ to be brought forth effortlessly within us.

THE WISEMEN (three candles)

 These candles are lighted for the wise men who represent indwelling wisdom.

Just as there is a wisdom that knows how to unfold a mighty oak tree from within a tiny, insignificant acorn, so there is a wisdom that knows how to unfold the Christ potential from within the mind and heart of a human being. The Wise Men from the East symbolize this innate wisdom.

Sometimes we are afraid to move out of current conditions of limitation because it doesn’t appear that we have the knowledge to successfully pull it off. When we commit ourselves to growth, to changes that will encourage the bringing forth new dimensions of the emerging soul, the wisdom we need is given, as we need it.

The East represents the within, the inner regions of our spiritual nature. The Wise Men from the East bear gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts are symbolic of the prospering provision God is giving each soul that it may freely move into each of its various stages of growth, unhindered by limitation of any kind.

When we feel the oppression of limitation, we should take it as a signal that we have forgotten that God is in charge of the inner activity that will ultimately lead us to complete freedom. We have diverted the Wise Men from the East and have attempted to draw upon our own limited resources of wisdom – a move that always leaves us wanting. Trust the wisdom of God working through you. Quietly listen to that same inner wisdom that led Jesus of Nazareth to a full demonstration of His Christhood. Christ in you is your hope of glory, demonstrating the Christ in your life is the greatest glory you can bestow upon the human family and the world.

Intelligence and Order

Youtube: Intelligence and Order

In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus is on the meditative process. Follow the same preparations from the first week. Bring your awareness into the region of the solar plexus using the simple statement, I Am.

Open your mind to the quickening presence of intelligence. Your entire being is already permeated with intelligence. The functions of your body are all governed by it. You see and experience intelligence as order in your breathing, the beating of your heart, and all the many activities within the universe of your body of which you are not even aware. You see intelligence in the flower, in your pet, in the birds and the clouds that sail across the sky.

As you relax and let go, get the sense of this truth that you are completely immersed in intelligence and that your life is now unfolding in perfect order. Affirm:

The very essence of my being is intelligence. My mind is clear. My thinking is orderly. I see things in their highest relation to the whole. My vision is clear. My soul is imbued with the wisdom of the universe. In all I do, I move forward in confidence and in peace.

Release all feelings of uncertainty about your life and know the intelligence of your soul is guiding your every step. Lift your spiritual eyes away from all appearances and see yourself as a conduit through which infinite intelligence is expressing as you.

Everyone and everything becomes part of your success in living. If your life seems to be pushing you to the left when you think you should go right, then know the intelligence expressing as your soul is now at work. Do not strain to work out plans or struggle to control events. Hold fast to the truth that the wisdom of your soul is directing your life, that the order and success you desire is unfolding with every new development.

Let’s Zoom

Dear Friends,

Many of you who organize for New Thought churches have become familiar with Zoom. For those of you who are using one of my books for classes or training, I extend the invitation to contact me and set up a group meeting for discussion and/or Q&A through a Zoom meeting. It’s a great way to avoid travel expenses and time constraints. If this is something you would like to do, email me at: office@unitygj.org In the subject line, type “Zoom Meeting.” This can be a lot of fun and an opportunity to make new, like-minded friends.

Power and Strength

Advent Series, Part 3 of 4: Power and Strength

In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus is on the meditative process. Follow the same preparations from the first week and bring your awareness into the region of the solar plexus using the simple statement, I Am. See and feel your soul radiating power. Power manifests in a wide range of ways, from the unfathomable power of the sun to the simple unfolding of a leaf. Power divides our cells and fuels all aspects of our being.

Power rises in your being as physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength. You may call on strength to hold a steady course, to take one more step when your world seems to crumble around you, or to steady your faith in the well-being of a loved one. Strength may manifest as the courage to make an apology or it may express as the power to say no to behavior you know as destructive.

With your attention focused at your center, sense the power of your soul rising from your innermost depths and radiating throughout your being. Affirm:

I am an expression of pure power. The full radiance of my soul empowers me to steadfastness in all that I am and all that I do. My strength is boundless, my power has no limits.

If you are feeling powerless to do anything about some condition in your life, release the emotional energy of helplessness as you use this affirmation. Again, do not try to make anything happen or even look for changes in your life. Simply allow the flow of power to rise in your being and know it expresses as the strength you need, as you need it. Take a series of deep breaths. With each one, breathe in power and breathe out strength. Power is the essence of your being. You are never without it.

Love and Understanding

Love and Understanding

In this four-part series, we are treating Advent as an intuitive awakening. Our focus is on the meditative process. Follow the same preparations from the first week and bring your awareness into the region of the solar plexus using the simple statement, I Am.  See and feel your soul radiating love. This beautiful energy of love works for the highest good of all concerned, sometimes attracting and sometimes repelling or dissolving, depending on how the highest good is to manifest. Whether love attracts or dissolves is not a decision you make, but one you trust love to sort out as it flows in and through every aspect of your being and your life. Love lifts your vision in a way that imparts the understanding to see and know what needs to be done. Affirm:

I am guided by the understanding that love imparts.

Love is my essence. Love is my being.

Love is the balancing action in all my relationships and all conditions in my life.

See your body immersed in love. See every aspect of your life, especially those areas that are troubled, completely engulfed in the love that radiates as your soul. See love doing its perfect work and become willing to do your part in that work when the understanding dictates. Loving your neighbor may result in strengthening your relationship or dissolving it. This is a much better alternative than trying to force yourself to love them because you think you are supposed to. You may not always be able to muster the kind word or take that right action that will bring agreement with another. Still, you can know that invoking love will fit all the pieces together, will tie up the loose ends, and move all concerned to their best and highest good. Love reveals that this is true even when your good intentions at diplomacy fail miserably, or fear drives your own actions. The love that expresses as your soul is greater than all human frailty. Your unloving thoughts and actions or the unloving thoughts and actions of another do nothing to alter love itself. Love does not depend on how loving or unloving you are.

Let all of this go and simply see your entire being immersed in love. Experience love’s healing warmth. Let it melt away your stress and your struggle to be loved. You are more than loved. You are love itself.