Monday, May 31, 2010
The Prayer Chest
When I went to bed last night and started to quiet my mind for sleep, I realized how sad I was feeling over a situation one of my loved ones, and her family, is facing. It had been bothering me all day, but more on the edges of my awareness because my son has been home from college this week, and I’ve been happily involved in spending time with him.
Last night, I had a chance to think about how serious her situation is. Most gratefully, there is always a tool in times of need, one that will redirect my attention to the truth that the light of God exists in all things.
I read a book some time ago with a Unity study group called “The Prayer Chest: A Novel About Receiving All of Life’s Riches” by August Gold and Joel Fotinos. It’s a short book and an easy read, told as a story. I enjoyed it on a number of levels. First of all, the story provides some wonderful insights on when and why we perceive that our prayers are being answered, or not. I plan to write about those insights in a later post.
Another very helpful thing in this story is the central idea of a prayer chest, which the main character finds in his attic. It's a simple wooden box, filled with his ancestors’ prayers. He and his children are changed as they begin to use the prayer chest through their hardships. The important thing about the prayer chest is that once the prayer is written down and slipped into the box, it’s never taken out again. Once it’s in there, it’s in God’s hands.
My husband made a wooden prayer box for me this past Christmas, which now contains quite a few of my prayers. It's very simple and beautiful, maybe the size of half of a shoebox with a slot on top for inserting slips of paper. I haven’t felt the need to use it in some time, but last night I realized that I, and the family in question, could be helped by it.
I turned on the light, got up, wrote out my prayer and put it in the chest, and got back into bed. A few minutes later I realized that I had something to add, so I got up and added another slip of paper to the chest. Then got back into bed and went to sleep.
This morning when I woke, I knew that the burden had been lifted. I felt clearer and lighter, but more importantly I knew that the situation with my loved ones would resolve in a way that benefits all. The prayer chest is a physical place where we can store our concerns, then let them go, knowing that God will find them. It provides a way to turn our concerns over to the God within everything, creating space for the light of divine intelligence to shine onto the situation.
I asked, through my written prayer placed in my prayer chest, and was answered, as I always am when I ask in the many different ways that are available to me, knowing they will be done.
I'm thankful that my husband made the prayer chest for me; I really enjoy having it. I don’t always use it because I pray in many different ways. But the prayer chest is a very gentle, physical reminder that we can always ask, and we will always be answered.
May you find many ways to know the God of your heart, and may this tool be a blessing. . .