Anonymous Prayer? What’s that about?

Living Water Spiritual Community’s Silent Prayer Team receives prayer requests from our Prayer Coordinator with the first name of the “prayer client” and with a general prayer topic associated with the prayer request such as Healing, Prosperity, Closer Relationship with God, Relationship, etc. Those prayer requests can come in from forms filled out at the Center, from emails, from phone calls or from our website.

One member of the Silent Prayer Team asked this question: “I appreciate receiving the prayer requests. But one quick question/concern. If I don’t know who I’m praying for then I have a difficult time praying for/with the person requesting prayer. I don’t understand as a Prayer Chaplain with Living Water Unity why our prayer requests must be somewhat anonymous. I can’t see how that really helps the person receiving prayer. I’d like to know specifically who needs prayer or even why we have prayer requests via email when the prayer chaplains are available after the Sunday service.”  

My response to her:

Great question! And it penetrates to the very essence of prayer, as we teach it in Unity.

You may recall that we teach that prayer is not about changing the conditions of the world (or the conditions of any one individual) but to change our OWN consciousness about the conditions of the world (and every individual). As Charles and Myrtle Fillmore would state in different ways, prayer is not about “setting it right” but “seeing it right”! When we pray WITH someone, as we do when we work as prayer chaplains, we allow the person to express their apparent needs (or the apparent needs of someone for whom they want to bring into the “prayer domain”). As you know, our apparent needs are not our true needs because our apparent needs express lack in some fashion — lack of health, lack of peace, lack of abundance, etc. — and “lack” is an ego-based fear and an illusion in Truth. But allowing the prayer client to express those needs is a way for them to turn them over to a Higher Power, an important step in the prayer process. The phrase “let go, let God” reminds us of this.

But that prayer request is not intended to tell God what needs to be done (although someone not familiar with metaphysical prayer may have that presumption) because, as I have said many times, such an arrogant statement assumes that either a) God is not aware (recall Jesus said God knows your needs before you express them) and we are, b) God is uncaring or forgetful and needs to be reminded of our needs, c) God is powerless to do anything about what seems to be needed — in which case our prayer request is useless, or d) God is just waiting for the one asking for prayer to make that statement (and in a sense, this is the most accurate of the alternatives — but still not correct).

As we are all connected at the Spirit-level, one person’s expression of needs affects all of us; we normally think in terms of “helping them” by “doing something for them” and forget that our greatest help is to lift consciousness, not to fix conditions. As their apparent needs and fears affect us by lowering our collective consciousness, so it is that our lifting our consciousness through prayer, we lift the collective consciousness — including the prayer client’s.

By having the prayer client remain anonymous, we do not add to that person’s burden by our affirming their condition or get involved in that person’s condition by our focusing on the “need”. As we add loving energy (which is the essence of prayer) and seeing, say, Dorothy, healed and whole, we prayors are not burdened by the cancer that Dorothy might have, or the inflexible veins coming from decades of smoking, or the emotional abuse that Dorothy may be feeling. Instead, we focus our loving energy on seeing wholeness, health, abundance — “Dorothy” just happens to provide us a target for the reception of the loving prayer when, in fact, that loving energy, like the tide, is lifting all the “boats of consciousness” in the collective.

Thus Dorothy has turned it over to God by making the request, the prayor is offered a focus (“Dorothy”) without the burden of trying to “set it right” and the collective consciousness is more effectively lifted.

I will say that without a metaphysical appreciation of the dynamics of prayer, the above description is lost on the uninitiated. But you can test this yourself as a prayor. See how your perception of the expressed prayer client’s needs shifts over time. As you release yourself from the conditions about which you are praying, you will find your in-person prayer client is more effectively lifted. But the REAL power of prayer affects you most significantly — and as you “see it right”, your in-person client and the anonymous prayer clients will begin to more completely “feel it right”.

As to why we have a Silent Prayer Team and not just rely on the Prayer Chaplains to handle the prayer request on Sunday, there are at least three reasons: 1) not everyone is present on Sunday to ask for prayer support, 2) some people either don’t want to bother the Prayer Chaplain (“Oh, my needs are not important enough to use the Prayer Chaplain’s time”) or they do not feel comfortable speaking with someone about the issue. They can fill out a Prayer Request (or forward one from this website — see the home page) and indicate the general category of prayer, thus voicing their prayer  request. And 3) engaging more people (the Silent Prayer Team) in the prayer process increases the power of the consciousness shifting that is the foundation of the efficacy of prayer. Calling Silent Unity (816-NOW-PRAY [669-7729]), or using their web page (https://www.unity.org/prayer/request-prayer) are also good alternatives. Those alternatives tend to be focused on “seeing it right” rather than “setting it right”.

Other avenues of prayer can also be helpful — talking with friends and using the internet to solicit prayers (how many prayer requests have you seen in your Facebook or Twitter streams in the last week?). But be careful; to the extent that those prayer partners are trying to “set it right” and focusing on the lack in the circumstances instead of “seeing it right” and viewing the wholeness and abundance of God Presence, the effectiveness of the prayer effort is thwarted. It is useful when asking prayer support from friends to remind those of whom you are asking prayer support to affirm wholeness, health and abundance rather than acknowledging brokenness, illness and lack. For example, when asking for prayer support when one is experiencing a health challenge, a simple request such as, “Please see me healed and whole” without the description of the challenge removes the burden of which I’ve spoken.

Continue to be “prayed up”, it’s good for you!

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