Friday, August 25, 2017

How can we pray best?

Dear George:

You asked me whether UUs pray. They do, and they have lovely prayers which they say in unison as part of their church services.

The deeper considerations to your question are probably to whom and for what do UUs pray. The answer to the first question is, it varies depending on the person doing the praying. What/who does he/she consider his/her higher power to be and from what/whom does he/she draw his/her inspiration and solace? The best prayers are prayers of forgiveness, gratitude, and the request for direction. My prayers are pretty simple: Dear God help me to follow your will not my will - Thy will be done, and Thank you for the three good things that I have been blessed with today."

You might consider the suggestion of Dr. Ira Byrock who says that  when we encounter people who are dying (and we all are dying all the time whether we are aware of this or not) it helps to say four things: Thank you. I forgive you. I hope you can forgive me. I love you.

We should strive, George, to be constant contact with our Higher Power or at least several times per day. Some people have a prayer schedule and set aside 5 minutes very 4 hours like the Christian monks and the Muslims do. Us modern humans spend more time with our smart phones and other screens than we do giving our attention to the divine within us and we are the poorer for it.

Also, I suggest that you be careful praying to the universe as if it it were a vending machine like a Fairy Godmother, or Gene from a  bottle who can dispense gifts.

The main purpose of prayer is to join with the cosmic consciousness, to become one with the Godhead, to heal the separation of ourselves from the Godhead and to go home. This can be achieved through meditation or what today is sometimes called mindfulness. This flow state, becoming one with the all can also be achieved through music, dance, athletics, communing with nature, great sex, etc.

So, George, prayer comes in many forms with the purpose of  healing the separation of our ego from the all. One of the most lovely things in life is a prayer life based on the intention of bringing our will into alignment with God's will for us. The best prayer of all is the Our Father which Jesus suggested to us which combines all the best elements of a nourishing prayer life, gratitude, forgiveness, and setting aside of our egos so we can listen to the wishes of the universe for us.

Pray on,

Uncle David.



  1. Dear Uncle David

    Your letter to George about prayer is the best overview in the shortest length I have every read. Also, I really enjoy and appreciate your including the UU affirmation of faith and doxology. They are beautiful. I am sending this article to my friends.


  2. Meditation is the path to oneness, to empty one's mind of the constant talking which Buddhists call "monkey mind." There are times when we would wish this constant talking, rumination, were a radio that we could just reach out and switch off. Unfortunately, it is not always that easy. Meditation is a skill and it takes practice. Start right where you are when you have a few minutes and just watch your breath. Two minutes is good, 120 seconds. When you can do that you will want to stay in that peaceful state a while longer. Clearing the mind of chatter is one way of becoming one with the universe. Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  3. I have been told that atheists, agnostics, secularists, humanists can become UUs. To these folks pray?

  4. It has been said that we learn what we teach. It may also be true that we become what we pray. For some, prayers are a way of expressing hopes and dreams and aspirations and if we pray them in a way that God's will be done, these prayers have a way of empowering us and bringing us peace.

  5. When it comes to prayer I was told by my spiritual advisor to stop talking and listen. Best advice I ever received when it comes to prayer.

  6. The point of prayer is to discern God's will for your life. All other prayer can be a distraction to what is essential. "Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and then all else will be given to you." Luke 12:31 But hey, we want what we want when we want it and we haven't got time and energy for God's kingdom.

  7. I was raised in the Catholic church to believe that premarital sex was a sin and divorce was a sin. I married the bitch at 20 because I wanted to have sex with her and within a month she became pregnant. She was unhappy from the start and like a fool I prayed that I could make her happy and fix her. 9 kids and 35 years later I finally had to admit to God and myself that her happiness was outside of my control no matter how much I tried and sacrificed. We got divorced at her initiative and I've never been happier. My point in sharing this brief story is that all the prayers in the world didn't work. I was discouraged, frustrated, gave up on God and religion and Catholicism and have never been happier. Moral of the story? Maybe it's true that God helps those who help themselves and He wants more than anything for us to quit bugging Him and praying for the impossible.

    1. The other moral might be that all the sex in the world might not be worth a life time commitment. It took a long time, 35 years by your account, but you finally learned what God's will for you was and following it you have lived happily ever after.


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