Dear Friend of the Institute:
On Sunday, February 3, as we celebrate the 62nd International Peace Meditation, let us be grateful that we live in a world where we can ‘pray without ceasing’. To ‘pray without ceasing’ means that our lives are continual prayer that we may become the actions of our Higher Power in the world. We ask to do God’s will, or the will of the Almighty One, we call Love.
To ‘pray without ceasing’ means that we have already come to a place where we have surrendered our lives to God. Or another way of saying this might be that we realize that our lives have value and worth, and we acknowledge that we have a purpose to fulfill. Some might call this a spiritual mission. Others might say they believe they are Love’s hands in the world. It is a belief in a life of service. It is a belief that we act as God’s love when we act in caring ways toward others.
For many, this is a way of life. But now we are challenged to think more broadly. We are asked to include others whom we do not know, and will never see, in our acts of love and kindness. This is a prerequisite for living together peacefully in a global society. It is a consciousness that our actions and thoughts have an impact around the world. It is a consciousness that many others, even in the United States, are not really free. It is a consciousness that, for many, to practice their love of their Higher Power openly would evoke torture, perhaps even death. But we can pray when we can’t pray openly. God, or Love, cannot be kept out of schools–only out of hearts. When life is prayer-without-ceasing, one lives with a constant consciousness of Love, of the consciousness that our actions impact all others, and that acts of caring and kindness can and will happen because of this higher consciousness.
We can teach our children to pray anywhere, including school, because prayer is an “inside” job. Nobody needs to know. But the power that is unleashed in our lives when we live in a consciousness of prayer-without-ceasing affects all those around us, even without knowing.
Perhaps we cannot see God, because we could not look at the purity of Love. Perhaps with more acts of love, which emanate from Love, the consciousness of the world can be positively affected. If you have been in the presence of one who carries this higher state of consciousness, you will know. They will affect you. They may cause you to doubt. To question. Even to challenge all you have accepted. They may, by their very presence, cause you to become more accepting of others, including others who are different from you. It is the power of love that erases hate, that joins people in positive purpose, that causes one to desire to give, and to find fulfillment in that giving.
We are in a time of chaos. As technology causes change, and change happens faster, we are brought into more direct contact with others who are different from ourselves. We have never resolved how we are going to live together in peace with others who look different, communicate differently, behave differently, and have different values and beliefs. And we are being required to learn this “by the seat of our pants.” In other words, we have few models of acceptance of diversity, especially on a worldwide scale. This may have become our greatest challenge!
When we pray without ceasing, we ask Love to guide us. We ask that all our actions reflect Love. We ask to be accepting of others who are different. We ask to care across all boundaries, whether cultural, geographical, political, racial, or spiritual. We ask to be able to see the good in all people of all cultures, and to believe that we are all growing and learning everyday. We ask to be non-judgemental of people, but to judge only actions. We ask that all we do be done for Love.
In this spirit, as we pray/meditate together on February 3, from wherever we happen to be and at any time during those 24 hours, may we each ask to be able to live a life of ‘prayer without ceasing.’
‘Let Love be your guide in all decisions.’
Thank you for participating in this International Peace Meditation. ‘May it stir your heart. May it calm your soul.’
Sue Kidd Shipe, President
International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc.
P. O. Box 3920
Albany, New York 12203 USA