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The Power of Mountaintop Prayer
Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
September 11, 2022
All Rights Reserved
Very often when we enter meditation, we speak of going within, but this morning, instead of thinking in terms of going within, I’d like us to use our imaging faculty of mind. See yourself going to a high mountain; that represents a high consciousness of prayer.
We go to that point from which we can clearly see what’s happening to us, through us and around us. And from that high vantage point, we can see changes that need to be made, not so much for the world out there, but for within ourselves. The great law is: “Thoughts held in mind produce in the outer after their kind.” And the kind of world that we want to have out there is going to depend on the kind of a world we have within ourselves.
As we look at our own individual lives from that high point in consciousness, we give thanks that we can objectively and realistically see what we need to do. This is so because whenever we give ourselves totally to divine guidance, we are always led to that which is of and for the highest good. In that realization, we see ourselves on that mountaintop, in that high state of conscious prayer, allowing ourselves to be guided by our own indwelling Lord. We affirm: I AM one with the PRESENCE and POWER OF GOD in me.
In affirming that for ourselves, we have lifted our consciousness to that high point of prayer. From there we now look out and see our loved ones and affirm that same Truth for them: You are one with the PRESENCE and POWER OF GOD in you.
Then, we include all people everywhere. We are one with the PRESENCE and POWER of GOD in us.
In that realization, we can now go forth and do what needs to be done by us to contribute to a greater harmony on planet earth. We do those things that ought to be done by us in the full awareness that as we do them, everything that we need to fulfill our individual divine mission is provided to us and through us from God within us.
For this realization we do give thanks. We affirm it to be true in the name and through the power of that living, loving Presence of God that abides within us all.
THE POWER OF MOUNTAINTOP PRAYER – Sept. 11, 2022
We have a saying in Unity: “First to God and then to man as God directs.” Last week I talked about climbing the mountain and reaching the high meadow and how some people mistake it for reaching the mountaintop because it feels good to get that far. But the only way we can get from that place within us to the mountain top is to stretch out our wings and let the breath of God lift us up higher through the activity of grace to the top. Today we’re talking about the mountaintop experience of prayer itself. Mountains are a recurrent theme in the Bible. In ancient times, mountains were sacred because our ancestors believed that God lived up where earth touches sky. So, in olden times before temples and churches existed if you wanted to get close to God the thing to do was to climb a mountain. That all changed when the Jews returned from Babylonian exile with many borrowed religious traditions, which they forced upon the majority of the people because the majority had not been taken into exile. They either weren’t in the path of the soldiers, or they didn’t have special skills the Babylonians wanted and that included slaves. They usually moved people, intermarried, and left them alone as long as they didn’t cause trouble to create their own communities.
Prophets and spiritual teachers beyond Jerusalem rejected these borrowed ideas like the requirement to travel to Jerusalem four times a year to pay the Temple Tax and make human and animal sacrifices for their sins. People who complied earned the right to be called Jews and those who didn’t were labeled sinners and outcasts. Those who lived in the North were called Israelites, or Nazarenes, etc. They were followers of the original teachings of Moses. The Jerusalem Priests saw them as troublemakers and threats to a more evolved society. They needed to be eliminated because they threatened the elites and many of them were put to terrible deaths before the Romans came along.
One of the main if not the main focal point of the resistance to these changes was the shift from a perception of God from a loving God to an angry God who must be feared and appeased by human and animal sacrifices. This shift also changed how we can reach God. It went from teaching prayer and meditation and going to the mountaintop like Moses to being required to go to Jerusalem where a Temple Priest would serve as a Mediator for a price. All Rabbis like John the Baptist’s father, Zacharia had to serve in the temple for one year at a time when called to do so. Think of it as being on Jury Duty for a year. The New Testament continues the story of resistance by John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth and their disciples. The original teachings and beliefs founded by Moses are still in the Bible if you know what to look for, so let’s do that starting at the beginning. According to the Book of Genesis, one of the oldest names for God is “El Shaddai.” “El Shaddai” is an idiom, which is an expression or turn of phrase used by a particular group. El Shaddai translates more accurately as “God Almighty, the one of the mountains.”
It takes a tremendous effort to climb a mountain but when you get to the top you feel a sense of awe and wonder. You can see the whole picture. So, when you have a challenge, the first thing to do is to decide to go on a journey up to the mountaintop. This is a Biblical metaphor that means to lift your human mind, Ego up into God Mind through the activity of prayer/meditation. You must make an effort to reprogram your human mind to do this. Do this and you will receive help in some form from God. As we discussed last week that first help always comes in the form of ‘the wind of grace’ that lifts you from the high meadow to the mountaintop. This is reflected in Psalm 121 which reads “Lift your eyes up unto the hills from whence cometh our help. Our help comes from the Lord.” There are many illustrations of this in the Bible. Moses talked to God on Mt. Sinai and received 10 commandments. The Prophet Elijah spoke to God on Mount Carmel and Mount Horead, which is just another name for Mt. Sinai. Jesus often went to Mount Olivet to pray. Chapter 1 of the Book of Acts says that is where he ascended. Jesus also had the Sermon on the Mount. Did he really preach this lesson on a mountain side? Scholars say, probably not. The writer of the story is metaphorically saying, “These sayings are Jesus’ mountaintop teachings.”
There is a story in the New Testament Gospel of Mark, Chapter 9 called “The Mount of Transfiguration.” One day Jesus went up a mountain with Peter, James, and John to pray. While he prayed the disciples saw Jesus’ face begin to shine and then his whole body glistened with white light. He entered an exalted state of prayer and was transfigured. The word “Transfigure” is a Greek term for the act of metamorphosis. A metamorphosis is a change of form from within like what a butterfly experiences in its cocoon. This is the experience we have when we rise into mountaintop thought as union with God Mind. We transfigure inwardly as we shift from human mind to divine mind. The ‘cause’ is prayer, and the ‘effect’ is a glowing and glistening of our aura and body, which can be perceived by some people.
Experiment with this when you are home alone. See it for yourself. Look in a mirror and think or say positive, uplifting thoughts. You will be transfigured, and your face will start to glow. Has anyone ever said to you, “You are really glowing today. What’s going on?” If you pause to identify what’s going on inside your mind, you will likely find you’re thinking happy, positive thoughts. This is the result of the spiritual law of mind action, which is, “As within, so is without.” Thoughts held in mind do produce in the outer according to their kind. Another experiment you can do is to stand in front of that same mirror and think negative and sad thoughts. Look at your face and you will see it respond to the quality of your thoughts. It will appear dark and shadowed. Our bodies respond to the quality and quantity of our thoughts. Once people are taught to see a dark aura, they will choose to keep their aura clean. Finish this experiment by thinking happy, positive thoughts of Truth until you see the dark aura change before your eyes and you see your face glowing again.
In the 34th Chapter of Exodus, Moses comes down from his mountaintop meeting with God bringing the tablets of stone and the people saw that “his face shone.” I repeat, in the Bible mountains metaphysically represent the consciousness elevated in prayer. Moses met God at the top of the mountain or in an elevated state of consciousness. Now, we don’t actually meet God in a specific place like a mountaintop, temple, or church. We meet God inside ourselves in an altered state of consciousness or altered awareness in which we have been lifted by the wind of grace and carried up to the Mountaintop to be one with the one, El Shaddai.
In Unity, we often begin a Group Prayer with the words “let’s turn within.” What we’re doing is going to the mountaintop by raising our collective consciousness from Ego to Essence so that we can survey the landscape of our lives. In an altered state of consciousness, we detach from Ego personality long enough to see what needs to be done by allowing Essence to open down into us and flowing into Ego Mind as the inspiration, guidance, and power from God to know what to do and to do it.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often referenced mountains in his speeches. Shortly before his assignation, he said, “I just want to do God’s will. He has allowed me to go to the mountain and I have looked over and I have seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. And so, I am happy tonight. I am not worried about anything. I am not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the Lord.”
1st Kings Chapter 18 contains a story about the Prophet Elijah. Whenever things really get bad and the Israelites (seekers of God) lose their way, someone always comes along to set things right. The Prophet Elijah is another O.T. Jesus. He performed miracles, raised the dead and ascended in a golden chariot of fire. In the story, Queen Jezebel had introduced many Gods in place of the One God of the Israelites. In fact, the 1st mention of Jezebel is that marrying her was the 2nd worst thing King Ahab, the ruler at that time ever did. WHY? Who was Jezebel? I’ll give a little historical background but that is another entire series of my lessons I called “Bad Girls of the Bible.”
Jezebel is the daughter of a king by the name of Ethbaal which means: “One with Baal.” Baal is basically the God of fertility and storms. The name Jezebel is the feminine form of that. “It wasn't enough for AHAB to walk in (to repeat) the sins (mistakes) of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. He also took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and went to serve Baal and worshiped him and erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. Thus, Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the Kings of Israel who were before him.” But this was not enough for Jezebel who was a Baal Priestess. She replaced the Israelite priests with Baal priests and put-up public shrines in cities all over the kingdom. It gets so bad that God calls out Elijah and tells him to go to the mountaintop to battle the Baal Gods and their priests. It’s an incredible battle but the idea of One God Prevails and Elijah sends the Baal priests down the mountain to be slain by the Israelite Priests. Well, Elijah thinks the challenge is over and goes back down the mountain to go home. But he finds a furious Queen Jezebel waiting with her army to kill him. Elijah sees them in time and flees into the wilderness to escape her anger. After a period of exile and hardship in the wilderness with no end in sight Elijah says to God, “Lord, I’m tired. I’d like to pass on.”
Have you ever felt exhausted or just wanted to get away from it all? This is Elijah’s state of mind at this moment. He wants to end it and asks God to just let him die. Have you ever known anyone who has felt this way? Have you ever felt this way? It isn’t an uncommon feeling for people dealing with chronic pain, illness, an addiction they just can’t overcome or the death of their spouse.
My brother felt this way in the last year of his life. He was tired of trying and feeling bad and just wanted to pass on, so he made a suicide pact with his cousin and they both kept that pact, thinking they were helping their families and not hurting them more, which of course wasn’t the case. A physically healthy person may get sick and die to avoid handling something or even commit suicide. The truth is the person doesn’t want to die. The person wants to live fully and abundantly, which in their Ego mind means without a challenge hanging like the sword of Damocles over their head. The person wants a big change, a transfiguration. Unfortunately, the biggest change a human mind can think of is physical death. But, since life is eternal, the things we don’t handle will come to us again somewhere on our path of eternal life. So, remember, when you or a loved one wants a really big change, the way to have it is to be transfigured or changed from within by turning to God knowing that God is always working with you and through you. God happens in here and everything out there, changes.
The 12 step AA program and others like it include this idea as step. 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. Step 12 is: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Elijah was tired and felt like he wanted to die, and an angel of the Lord came and nourished him. In the Bible angels usually represent God ideas. Here ‘the angel’ represents “the right idea that comes at the right time.” Have you ever had an idea that just popped into your mind experience? The ‘Divine idea’ he received was, “Go to Mt Horead.” (Mt. Sinai). On the mountaintop, while deep in a cave (the within) Elijah realizes that God isn’t out there in the wind, earthquake, or fire. Elijah realizes that God is within him as the still, small voice. In 1st Kings 19:12, Elijah hears the voice asking, “What are you doing here, Elijah? Elijah answers, “I’m here standing up for you, God.” God says, “Well, that’s great. Here’s three things for you to do for me.” God gave Elijah a new way of thinking about himself and what he had been going through. He had been thinking too small of himself and his mission. Are you?
The point is: “Achieving the high consciousness of prayer is simply preparation before going down the mountain into your human life to make your great demonstration of God’s presence as the contribution that will aid the betterment of the whole world. Your God inspired contribution will bless you and bless all persons. Your healing or prosperity is a byproduct of being a willing conduit of God’s presence and Power.” Going back to Step 1 of AA; “I admit that I of myself can doing nothing.” Echoes Jesus, “I of myself can do nothing, It is the Christ within me that does the works.” Isaiah prayed, “God use me” Not God heal me or prosper me. He understood how spiritual law works. “God can only do for you what God can do through you.” Whatever it is in your life that you think you need to get, you must first find a way to give it and in giving it you will receive. This is illustrated in my final story which also happens involve all the other stories.
The authors of the Bible went to great lengths and sacrifice, including loss of their lives, to preserve these teachings until a time when someone came along who would study, understand and teach them to make the world a safer, saner place for all. They expect you to study the scriptures and to ask for Divine Wisdom to understand until you can pull this altogether yourself or ask and seek until you find someone who has done the work and can give you a leg up. I have had many some ones in my life. My goal is to make your journey to the mountaintop easier because I cannot do for you the task God gives only to you. The final story is the transfiguration of Jesus recorded in the 9th chapter of Mark. Jesus took Peter, and his brothers James and John up the mountain with him. Why? The Bible is a book about relationships and especially what happens when you are in right relationship with God and your 12 disciple powers.
1. Peter is the disciple who represents faith.
2. James the Just, brother of Jesus by a different physical Father but with the same Heavenly Father is the disciple who represents right the judgment and wisdom to restore balance between our thinking, masculine and feeling, feminine nature. The healing of the mistake of dividing the kingdom of God, represented by Israel in half. There is only one thing that can do that, and it is Divine Love.
3. John is the disciple Jesus loved best. He was also his youngest, therefore most teachable brother. Jesus and the writers of the Gospels know these facts and use John to represent Divine Love. Love for the divine means putting God first and seeking the kingdom 1st by seeing God in all and as all. Seeking to be a willing vessel for God to move in and through and out into the world as a beacon of light, as a Way Shower for others in some unique way is your purpose and mission as it is also mine. Jesus represents the illuminated human mind that rises from Ego Mind to Christ Mind becoming Jesus Christ. The combination of the Christ Mind with the 3 God qualities of faith, Divine Wisdom and Divine Love always precedes a great demonstration of God’s power. With this combination of inner faculties, Jesus Christ has a vision of Moses and Elijah. This is the writer’s way of saying that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the law represented by Moses and the Prophets represented by Elijah. In prayer, Jesus becomes the ‘word’ or power of God made flesh, as the anointed one, the Christ or Messiah. Peter (faith) says, “Let’s build three booths; one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Faith wants to prolong the mountaintop experience. When you get into prayer consciousness there is often a reluctance to get reinvolved in the experiences of human life.
The purpose of prayer and spiritual life isn’t for detachment from life. Some believe and teach that our work to let go of the body as somehow ‘less than good’ but that isn’t what Jesus Christ taught. He taught that after mountain top prayer you go back down the mountain with increased powerful and purposeful involvement to do what only can be done by God through you, a willing vessel. You prepare by going to God 1st then you go back into the physical world to make the contribution God has guided you to make. For example: Moses went to the mountaintop, received the 10 commandments from God and then he had to put what he had received from God to work. Moses found that too hard to do. If you remember the first time, he got the 2 tablets he went down the mountain and found the people had built a golden calf and were dancing naked and having an orgy. So, he smashed them and had to go back up the mountain for a redo with God who gave him another set. God gives us the instruction and keeps giving the same instruction until we willingly do it.
Our story continues, “While Jesus Christ was on the mountain, a father brought his son, an epileptic boy to be healed.” This tells us that Jesus wasn’t on a physical mountain but on an inner one. The remaining disciples had tried everything they knew to do but they couldn’t heal him. As Jesus Christ figuratively comes down, the father sees him and cries out, “Have pity on us. Help us if you can.” And Jesus says, “If you can? All things are possible to him who believes.”
Whatever we believe will be our experience in life. The father cries out, “Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief” and the boy was healed. The disciples wanted to know why they had been unable to heal him. Jesus Christ told them that this kind of longstanding problem could only be cured by Prayer and Fasting. Prayer is the taking on of positive ideas from the Christ mind and using affirmations to align with God Mind. Fasting in a spiritual sense is refraining from destructive, limited, and negative thoughts. There are no neutral thoughts. Unity teaches that Our thoughts are living things. They are either constructive and true about us or destructive in nature and untrue about us. Unity teaches affirmative prayer, which include saying denials and affirmations which align our thoughts with God thought which is already and always happening within us as the image and likeness of God. Let’s summarize this into 4 Mountaintop points of prayer which are printed on the left-hand side of your program.
1. Go to the mountaintop of prayer to meet with God knowing the perfect solution already exists. Take James along and don’t judge by appearances. According to the Law of Moses, appearances are the ‘effect’ of past thoughts. They are ‘spent energy.’ The activity of God is always moving you forward to greater good. It isn’t up to God to do something for you. It is up to you to do something with what God has already done in creating you. What God already is within you as the 12 powers of Man.
2. Put your mind in tune with God by speaking words of Truth using affirmative prayer. Always pray in the present tense saying, “God is helping me now.” or “The Spirit of God is at work within me right now.” We live in the Eternal Now Moment that is all there is One moment, and then the next moment, and the next. One step at a time we become God in flesh as a Christ.
3. When you feel the peace of God descend on you, wait to be lifted by grace and then listen in the silence of mountaintop prayer for guidance that is specific to you. Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity said, “A feeling of inner peace and okness always precedes healing.” It is an inner recognition that God and I are one and all that God is, is already mine. As I align my thought with God thought the word is made flesh or made manifest in and through me.
4. After receiving guidance, come back down into the valley of your life knowing God will work through you and continue to work through you at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way. You will be guided to act prayer by prayer and step by step for as the Psalmist wrote, “God is your ever-present help in times of trouble.” But you are missing the point if you only pray in times of trouble because that is energy you are going to go down the mountain and expend or use.
If you want to make quantum leaps in consciousness, go to the mountaintop when there is no need, and you build up energy that will literally float your boat as Peter might say, or pay your taxes as Matthew might say. This is how you become a Christ yourself and that is really what the Bible is about. It is a how to book for Overcomers and Overachievers.
As you “Seek first the kingdom of God” from Divine Love to just spend time at one with God the Source of all, your find that your own needs decrease. Life gets easier because you no longer must first create a need to fill and experience human suffering, lack and desperation before you as a last resort, seek God. This is the meaning of Jesus’ saying, “God knows and has answered (filled the need with itself) before you even thought to ask.” Several of my greatest teaches told me that during the time you are engaged in this type of prayer and meditation, time stops for you, and you do not age in that time because for you time is suspended.
There is a much easier way, but it is the “narrow way and few are those who find it.” Find what? You can’t find it if you don’t know what ‘it’ is. It is referring to the willingness on the human level to go apart with Peter, James and John and be what you were created to be. We have an inner resistance to doing this.
In the early stages, it has been compared to peeling an onion layer by layer. The Ego feels that it will die if you realize God and you as Essence are one. It will not die. “The man who dies before he dies doesn’t die when he dies.” He lives more abundantly. One affirmation I have used is: “I am one with the Presence and Power of God within me. I know what to do and I do it.”
You can use mine or write your own affirmation. The point is: Use it until you not only think it, but you feel it and you become it and can give it to others. When you can do that it’s time to write another affirmation. You do this again and again until you no longer need to prod yourself toward God with needs or encourage your Ego to let go and let God.
So, our story closes with Jesus Christ being pulled out of prayer and meditation by a desperate father who sees him sitting there and cries out, “Have pity on us. Help us if you can.”
And it is now Jesus Christ who answers the call saying, “If you can? All things are possible to him who believes.” Whatever we believe in will be our experience in life. The father (intellect) cries out, “Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief” and the boy was healed. On the physical level Ego, in the beginning like doubting Thomas we say, ‘seeing is believing.’ On the spiritual level we reach the point to say, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and believe.’
What do you think?
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