Prayer for the World / Prayer for Me
“There is only one presence and power in all the universe, god the good, omnipotent. Divine order is at work in the world right now. Everything is happening as it should. I am at peace.”
— Rev Joel Baehr
What has happened? Why are we so divided? Why is there so much vitriol and hatred? Why is there so much fear? Why is brother turned against brother? Friend against friend? Father against son?
There is another way. A radical way of faith!
A way of faith. Try saying this to yourself: “I’m going to separate myself from all of this. YES I have an opinion. YES I voted my choice. YES I advocate for certain political positions. But I am not going to let myself be defined by these choices and circumstances. Try saying this:
“There is only one presence and power in all the universe, god the good, omnipotent.”
Now press forward with this radical thought, and daringly say,
“Divine order is at work in the world right now. Everything is happening as it should.”
Now you begin to recoil, but take a few breaths, relax those shoulders and try again
“There is only one presence and power in all the universe, god the good, omnipotent. Divine order is at work in the world right now. Everything is happening as it should.”
Take a few minutes and just relax while you breathe and repeat the statements several times.
Do not give up caring about whatever is important to you.
I am not asking you to stop caring about whatever is important to you. Want to reform police procedures? Fine! Want to reconcile economic inequalities? Fine! Want to help create a better healthcare system? Fine! Want to create better foreign policy that puts America first? Fine! Want to establish better immigration policies? Fine! Want to guarantee free speech and the right to bear arms? Fine!
YOU can hold a passionate opinion about what you want to see in the world and you can work and advocate for that position. And at the same time, you can do all of this without losing the truth of who you are …..
You are a shining divine being put here to do nothing but spread love.
And that is the ultimate objective: spreading love. The alternative is self-destruction, so I choose love.
But how do I deal with those who think differently than I do?
Consider this story. Your brother supports candidate A. You support candidate B because you think candidate A is an incompetent, immoral crook. You argue with your brother. He argues with you. You argue with him. No one wins, but you BOTH get hurt.
What to do?
In this example, you must realize that YOUR brother is not candidate A. His choice to support candidate A does not mean that he himself is also an incompetent, immoral crook.
This difference is critical. Read that again.
Your brother’s support of candidate A does NOT mean that he is like candidate A.
You probably see your choice of candidate B as a MORAL issue and you suddenly think that your brother is either nuts or also an immoral, incompetent crook. How else could he support candidate A? But none of that is true.
Your brother is your brother and there is a lot more to your relationship than his choice of political candidate, as twisted as his thinking may seem.
“Wanna be right or wanna be happy.”
Dr. Phil McGraw has made this question popular. He uses it a lot, especially when working with couples who are arguing. This is a very simple way of looking at this situation. You can continue to argue with your brother, research your position, fill your case with facts, and he still doesn’t change his mind. But you insist, you are right. But are you happy? It’s funny, though, how often we choose just to be unhappy. It’s time to stop that because…..
You really can’t change what your brother thinks.
But you can change how you feel about what is happening.
In his very famous book, MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING, Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor, calls this idea “the last of the human freedoms.”
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
You can choose how you feel about your brother’s political choices. In fact, you are actually choosing to be upset about your brother’s opinion and political choices as well. You can choose to relax about his choices. After all, have you made any progress changing his mind? You can choose to work toward eliminating social injustice without losing site of your divine presence. In fact, if you can remain centered in your divine nature, you will accomplish much more toward eliminating social injustice than if you take to the streets and yell at people with opposing views.
And so the most important step to improving the world is first to improve yourself by gaining control of how you feel about all things.
One final comment about Divine Order
We read in the New Testament, in Matthew 6:25-34
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
It seems to me that this is a message to relax and have faith in divine order, have faith in this crazy universe that there is some system of progressive improvement even if we are not aware of it.
- You are a shining divine being put here to do nothing but spread love.
- You can be passionate about political choices and simultaneously keep your emotions under control…. Because
- You choose how you feel about things and have the power to change how you feel about things.
- Do you want to be happy or right?
- One of the greatest teachers of the last two thousand years told us not to be anxious, but to have faith in divine order.
What can you do now?
I recommend you begin a faith-building program. Here are the steps:
- REDUCE the input to your mind / heart / soul of network and internet media. If you can’t cut it off “cold turkey,” then try reducing by some portion every day.
- THOUGHTS ARE THINGS that take up space in your mind / consciousness. They are just like “furniture” in your mind. If you want to become more peaceful, you need to MOVE OUT the old furniture to make space for the new.
- PRACTICE BREATHING; yep, that’s what I said, start practicing “focused breathing,” and that is different from regular “autonomic respiration.” See if you can sit erect for just 5 minutes, stare at a candle or a beautiful tree or shrub, and focus on breathing. Hold one word or idea in mind like peace or love.
- RECITE THE PRAYER FOR THE WORLD. After you have been “breathing” for a few weeks, begin reciting the “Prayer for the World” several times a day. You will gradually begin to recoil less when you say “Everything is happening as it should.”
- REPLACE the old network and internet input with a new diet of inspirational material, either CDs or podcasts or books or scriptures.
- REVIEW YOUR CLOSE CIRCLE OF FRIENDS…. if the people you socialize with are constantly complaining, judging others or the “system,” you may need to wean yourself away from them and seek others who are more positive.
- NATURAL BEAUTY: Spend more time in natural beauty.
It is your life! Do you wanna be right or do you wanna be happy?