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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

A New Understanding of Prayer

Nov 29, 2015 09:45PM
by Rev. Sylvia Sumter
What makes us a whole person? It has been said that we are spirit, mind and body—a threefold being. Yet, how much time and attention do we devote to each facet of our nature? It is safe to say that for the most part, we are aware of and perhaps even consumed with the notion of our bodies and how we can best keep it in good working order. We even spend time bolstering our mental capacity making sure we have our wits about us. But, how much time and attention do we give to our spiritual nature? Do we address it daily, weekly, or on occasion as the need arises, or, not at all? Yet, believe it or not, it is our spirit that fuels both the mind and the body. It is what gives meaning and value to the life we are living and without it we would wither and die before we die.

Tending to our spirit does not mean we must spend time in a sacred building or attending some form of organized religion. It can be as simple as praying from a consciousness of wholeness and actually having that be our experienced reality. For this to happen, perhaps we need a new view of prayer and the power it holds to shape and benefit our lives.

What if prayer were not seen as something we are asking or begging for from an outside force, but simply as a positive statement of good that we are claiming in our lives. If we start with the premise that the good we are seeking is already available in the overall spiritual scheme of things, then what is perhaps needed most is a way to bring it forth into our lives and experiences. The use of affirmations or positive stated intentions are a good way to view and use prayer. They help us to focus on what it is we desire as opposed to what we don’t want in our life. They change our perception and consciousness, which over time will change our circumstances and conditions.

There are so many ways we can be in prayer. Breathing with conscious awareness, purpose and attention can be a prayer. It focuses your mind in a way that allows you to open up to the greater dimension of your spirit. It has healing properties as well by establishes us in calmness and a sense of peace; not to mention the benefits of stress reduction. And, it’s free and readily available.

How about nature as a form of prayer? Think about it—when you see a magnificent sunset or stupendous rainbow or some other wonderful demonstration of nature, does not your heart and mind expand with joy and awe? We are automatically opened to spirit when in the company of nature. So, consciously observing it or basking in nature can be a prayer like none other. You have a direct line to the divine.

The point of the matter is the more we can attune ourselves to our spiritual nature, the more balance and sense of well-being we will experience. Take time each day and throughout the day to be mindful and aware of that which brings you peace. Maybe even take one minute out of every hour just to breathe deeply and find your center. You would be surprised at how well you will find yourself managing your day with grace and ease. You will be too blessed to be stressed.

Reverend Sylvia E. Sumter is the Senior Minister of Unity of Washington, D.C. For more information, visit


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