We are now less than one month away from Unity’s 25th annual “World Day of Prayer,” which officially commences at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12. The Unity Church of the Hills community will be celebrating and participating in this milestone event with its own 24-hour affirmative prayer experience, and you are invited to participate.
This marks the 22nd year in a row that the UCOH community has participated in and supported the “World Day of Prayer” experience. We do so by sponsoring our own 24-hour affirmative prayer vigil that runs concurrently with the “World Day of Prayer,” and culminates the following evening with a special peace service that begins at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary. For 24 straight hours, UCOH staff, chaplains, LUTs and congregants maintain an unbroken, affirmative prayer experience that holds an intention for peace and healing, both for individuals like you, and for the world at large.
The theme for this year’s “World Day of Prayer” experience is “Courage To Heal.” In the longstanding tradition of Silent Unity, which has maintained a continuous and unbroken affirmative prayer experience for over 120 years, the “World Day of Prayer” offers Unity practitioners worldwide the opportunity to create a 24-hour affirmative prayer experience in their own communities wherever they may be located around the world. In this way, for 24 hours we are consciously connected in affirmative prayer with the Unity community worldwide.
Even if you are unable to participate, for 24 hours you will know that the worldwide Unity community is prayerfully holding an intention that you personally experience profound healing in your life. Whether that healing is physical, emotional, financial, relational, spiritual or otherwise, we see you rising above the perceived challenges in your life into a new, expanded awareness of connection, healing, prosperity and peace.
What Exactly Is Affirmative Prayer?
Regardless of spiritual tradition, prayer is perhaps the most important spiritual activity in which we can engage. Broadly speaking, there are five types of prayer most commonly practiced around the world. There are prayers of praise, thanksgiving, blessing, petition and intercession. Affirmative prayer can be used in any one of these types. However, more times than not, traditional prayer methods are employed.
The most common method of prayer taught and practiced around the world is to pray to an external power to intercede and fulfill a request or a perceived need. Whether praying for ourselves, or others, traditional methods of prayer generally ask for something to be provided by an external power, or source.
By contrast, affirmative prayer declares that any perceived needs are already fulfilled, claiming the good that is already present. Unity defines affirmative prayer as the “act of claiming or declaring what is already true in the Absolute Realm,” whether that be healing, material supply, creative opportunity or personal peace. Affirmative prayer is when we pray FROM an awareness of spiritual principle and absolute truth, rather than praying TO an external power to intercede.
Affirmative Prayer Is a Cornerstone of Unity Teachings
Whether praying for ourselves or others, affirmative prayer prays from the awareness that spiritual principle is creative and unlimited in its potential for good. More importantly, the source of that creative power is within each one of us. The source is not out there. Unity traditions emphasize that the purpose of affirmative prayer is to cultivate the quality of one’s own consciousness in order to bring it into alignment with truth principles.
Unity principles affirm “there is only One Power and One Presence active in the Universe and in our lives,” and that this One Power and One Presence, which we call God, is Absolute Goodness. Being created in the “image and likeness” of this One Power and One Presence, our essential nature is also good and creatively powerful beyond our perceived limitations.
The essence of affirmative prayer builds upon these two principles, reminding us that we are each individually and collectively creating our experience through the thoughts and feelings that we allow to dominate in our consciousness. In this way, we are co-creators of our experience. Life is not happening to us, but rather through us.
Affirmative Prayer Is Practical Christianity Applied
In Eric Butterworth’s seminal Unity classic, Discover the Power Within You, he makes the point that, in Unity, we are more interested in the religion of Jesus, rather than the religious traditions about Jesus. What did Jesus actually teach? More importantly, what did Jesus actually practice in his own life? Time after time, Jesus demonstrated his willingness to connect with the “One Power and One Presence” within, which he called “the Father” and which Unity calls “the Christ.” This indwelling power and presence is the source of All Good.
Affirmative prayer is the most direct, practical method for connecting with this One Power and One Presence and claiming the good that is already present in any circumstance. In essence, this is the foundation upon which Unity’s “World Day of Prayer” sits. Traditional prayer methods ask for healing, supply or good to be provided. Affirmative prayer claims they are already present. There is a powerful difference between the two strategies.
The Courage to Heal Is Yours to Claim
As we mark and celebrate this 25th year of the “World Day of Prayer,” we do so by courageously affirming that healing is already accomplished, knowing that all healing is essentially spiritual first, and then it becomes manifest in the physical realm. Through the power of affirmative prayer, we claim the courage to heal; we do not ask for it to be supplied.
For the past 25 years, the “World Day of Prayer” tradition includes affirmative prayer practitioners in a 24-hour worldwide prayer experience for the healing of individual lives and, by extension, healing the world. If you have never participated in the “World Day of Prayer” experience before, then we invite you to join us this year.
There are opportunities to participate as an affirmative prayer warrior throughout the experience, or just by attending the special service on Thursday evening to close out the 24-hour period. Either way, the courage to heal is already yours in the moment you claim it in consciousness through the power of affirmative prayer. We look forward to sharing this experience with you.