Prayer

Prayer

Reverend Sun Myung Moon
March 29, 1981
Belvedere, New York
Translator – Sang Kil Han

Have you ever stopped very long to think about prayer? Prayer is necessary, especially in religious life.

What is so-called blessing and happiness? If we are alone, then we don’t need blessing and happiness so much. It must be realized that we must have a proper object before these can have meaning to us. When we are happy we feel good all over, and a happy individual may start dancing around. But always the object plays an essential role in that singing and dancing. If there is no one around you, you wouldn’t continue doing that for very long.

There can be many kinds of objects. A person may be overjoyed at the sight of money, for instance. A scholar may rejoice over knowledge that he has access to. Someone who rises to a great power may be happy. These are different objects, but what is the most precious one of all? A person is more valuable as an object than some material thing. There are many kinds of people, and many kinds of activities. Families are essentially similar, for example, but the individuals in them are very different. The character of various countries is different.

We know that what a man says and what he does should not be contradictory. It is not acceptable for him to say one thing and do another. What kind of person will consistently do what he says? The five senses are all different, but when you think, all five senses concentrate on one point. The most desirable person is one whose senses are concentrated on one thing, who talks and acts accordingly. Both hands must move in one direction when you act. The eyes and ears must also be tuned to that direction.

In one lifetime we have a past, present and future. Our words and actions in each of these should all be consistent. In order to ensure doing that, we must have some standard, but what should it be? In pursuing that standard we must always maintain the correct subject and object relationship. If we are subject, we must be a good subject. When we are object to a greater self, we must form the correct relationship.

The desire of all men is to be an object to a greater subject, even to the highest subject there is. If the highest subject is God then we want to be object to God. Then precisely how and where would we become connected to Him? We can be a good object when He plays or speaks, when He works or rests. What does this greater subject value most? Does He value an object most when He is resting, or working, or what?

Inevitably we come to the conclusion that the thing God values most about Himself is love. Of course, God loves His hands, and all things that are part of Himself, but He is looking for something that will be a true object. When we know that God cannot be happy unless He has an object which can return love, then who is this object? Certainly it must be a person, but there are many kinds of people, so which kind is best? Everything will start from a man who is capable of true love.

God’s love begins with Himself and with children capable of true love. True children will also love other children, brothers and sisters. Does true love stop with loving just brothers and sisters? No, children will constantly seek the love and comfort of their parents. After loving brothers and sisters and parents, where would they go? They would certainly go to God, and after visiting Him they would embrace their relatives, their clan, and then eventually their nation, extending the activities of love farther and farther.

If we are one with our parents and with God, then everywhere we go we would be welcomed and be in harmony with our environment. Why? Because that is precisely what everyone wants, too-to be true children, to have parents, and to go to the highest subject, God. There is nothing more that mankind wants. That means that the path of love is the same for all men, and no one seeks a different way. This is not true just for today’s people; as long as a person is born as a human being, this is basically what he wants.

Do you love yourself? It is not enough to say yes offhandedly. Let us investigate what it means to love oneself. Suppose someone asks why you are so great that you can truly love yourself. If you reply, “I have eyes,” the retort will come back, “But everyone has eyes, too.” We see much difference in how people love the same thing, with some loving it intensely, and others loving it casually. Perhaps when you are asked if you love yourself, the best answer you can manage is “Sometimes.”

If an object can only love himself sometimes, then is he the object which all subjects will want a relationship with? If one cannot love himself, how can we expect others to love him? There are different ways of loving oneself, however. You may be proud of your good looks, but if you look at yourself extensively in the mirror every day, you will soon get tired of seeing your face. When you think about it, loving yourself doesn’t mean directly appreciating yourself, but finding your value through some object; by loving the object, you will feel love toward yourself. This is more real.

It is not meaningful to say, “I love myself because of what I am.” It is more meaningful to say “I love myself, whom my children love so much, and whom my husband loves so much.” Or you can say you love the self whom your parents love, and whom God loves so much. Rather than just loving yourself, you can love the self whom the whole world loves. You can think that you will become the biggest subject by loving the world in return; therefore, you must love yourself the most, in order to be the best object.

Is it more powerful to love yourself for your own sake, or because you are in a position to be a good subject and object in love relationships? Will God say that you are too arrogant? In this context God will indeed support you in loving yourself. Then your loved ones will center on you even more, respecting you for becoming so strong in love. How can you prove whether you are righteous and good? If you are a subject in propagating love, then you can say you are good and great. Then the whole universe will applaud you, wanting you to continue being that way.

Since Unification Church members love me, I feel I can love myself very much. Even God cannot just say He is happy. Because there are children who love God, He is justified in loving Himself. The approval of the universe will echo everywhere, applauding God for having pride in Himself because we love Him.

It’s not good enough to love your eyes if you don’t know why. If your family and colleagues really like your eyes, however, then you can really feel pride in them. It’s not good enough to like a certain suit if you don’t know why. If you say that you like it because it does the best job in covering the person whom your family and God love so much, then that is valid pride. It doesn’t have to be an expensive, stylish suit for you to love it; even if it is ragged and patched you can be proud of it. Such a suit will inspire sympathy from your loved ones, and it will be a source of more pride for you than new clothes.

If you are working hard in a miserable situation, as long as people know you are doing it to help others and yourself then they will be sympathetic and respect you. Then such a person does not necessarily become unhappy. Without love, things wouldn’t necessarily work this way, but there is nothing which love cannot make beautiful.

You have heard of the word “endurance,” and you don’t necessarily like it. But once you really know that the deepest love is found in that word, then you will all come to like it. Though a husband may not love his wife very much, if she feels that one day she will win his heart and continues to love him, her endurance is most beautiful. How many American women will discover their husband’s love through endurance? Are there many children who will experience their parent’s love after enduring many years? Are there many such parents who have experienced that? There can be many unpleasant experiences in living together, but if something happens in the name of love, it cannot be unpleasant. Love will cover up everything, and occupy all things.

Have you ever felt the deep happiness that comes after going over pain and hardship, and then receiving the real love of parents and children? That will be the greatest love of all. Do you love Unification Church? How much? Do you just feel love from day to day? Is your love so strong that it can bring the members into I action like a locomotive pulling a train?

Do you love America only when it is doing well, or even when things are not going well? Very few people could continue loving America if it meant going through great pain. Most people say, “Oh yes, I love America, ” but they are thinking only of prosperous times and agreeable situations. Anybody can say they love America-it is very rich and advanced technologically, and no one starves here. But America has problems too. There are drug addicts here who are practically vegetables; families are scattered and broken, and people have tears in their hearts. When you are given the task of mending those heartbreaks, can you say you love America?

If a person cares about his country so much that he will continue through painful situations and keep loving it, then his love for that nation will not be forgotten. That is what we can call real love. We see that it is not a simple question to ask whether a person loves America.

What is the true love which penetrates and reaches deeply? Sacrifice is part of the meaning of true love. Sacrifice is always accompanied by endurance, for sacrifice is not finished quickly. Does that sound right? But who likes endurance and sacrifice? If a person doesn’t know what sacrifice and endurance will bring him then he won’t like them, but if he knows that through them he can reach true love and reach God, he will be willing to accept them. When your parents are old, you can’t really say they are beautiful. But when their hands are hard and wrinkled because they had to work hard to provide for you, you feel their hands are the most beautiful of any hands.

True love has the distinct quality of going through sacrifice and endurance. When I see a leader confronting intense difficulty, inside I tell him to persevere. I don’t mind seeing him in difficulty because I know that true love is ahead of him. This goes for all the members, so I will push them incessantly. Am I cruel when I do that? Such a person is fearful, but he is doing the right thing.

By Oriental standards I am very handsome, but all my life people have called me names, which is an unpleasant experience. But when I die, those who persecuted me the most will bow down with the most sincerity. I not only talked about this ideal of true love but acted on it, and even more, I pulled thousands of people along to that destination. No one else has ever done this in all history.

When you first joined Unification Church you were elated, but over the years your elation faded as you faced hardship. You may feel you have sacrificed your precious young years and now you have nothing. Perhaps you feel like blaming someone. It doesn’t look like I will stop making you work hard any time soon, so maybe you want to pack up and sneak out!

After you work hard in America, I will bring you to South America, where you will work even harder. I will send you to Africa, and even to prison. Then you will confront and digest the Mafia. Knowing that all this still lies ahead, you see that at this point you haven’t even graduated from grammar Do you think I can have a peaceful life? I have the job of making you unwilling people ready and willing to undertake such a life. In the beginning this life is exciting, but when you work on higher and higher levels the situations become more difficult. There should come an end to that, though, when you make a breakthrough in suffering. When you get very close to your target, the bulls-eye doesn’t stand out very clearly. At the moment when your arrow pierces the bulls-eye, it cannot see anything. When you cannot see anything of your objective, rest assured that you are penetrating through at that moment.

God is not just waiting for men to reach Him, but is working hard on His end also. The focus point will be where God’s work meets man’s work. Do you have to win over the satanic world? To win you must have a weapon, so what weapon do you need? Without sacrifice and endurance you cannot win. That is the definite formula for winning. Now at least you are sure it is possible to win. If you have a faster way to win without sacrifice and endurance, please show it to me.

Since God knew that sacrifice and endurance were the inevitable course for fallen man, He gave religion to mankind in order to teach endurance to every generation. When we say God is love, you should know that it is connected to endurance and sacrifice for the sake of that love. Parent’s love is connected with endurance and sacrifice. This is what you want in your parents too. You know that sacrifice is painful to your parents, but you don’t mind, and even demand that they go through sacrifice; somehow you know that there is true love waiting beyond that. Fiancées and wives will expect that of their husbands, in order for them to obtain true love. Isn’t that what you feel?

There is no way you can superficially say that sacrifice is desirable. Since we know the deeper meaning that true love will come later, we don’t mind. If a person says he loves his family, but he avoids sacrifice when it comes, then we have to conclude that his love was not deep.

The wives of the national leaders are here going through training with their husbands. Perhaps they feel that they are old now and don’t even own anything after working hard for many years. If one of them says, “My husband, you are a man of faith so you can go, but I simply can’t any more,” then her love has been a false love, not a true love. That false love will end there, lacking the power to continue toward true love. Is that true?

The West has great manufacturing know-how, but now the Japanese are shortening that lead, and Western industrialists are investigating what makes the Japanese so effective. To their dismay, they found that Japanese work for their wives and children, not themselves, that they don’t complain about overtime and long hours and they don’t strike. Here in America workers always complain about pay and don’t hesitate to strike. Also, the Japanese love their country so much that they are willing to sacrifice their family life for their nation.

If that standard is what makes the Japanese so effective, then the Unification Church will absolutely reach the highest level in the shortest time. There is a genuine motive in Unification Church to care about the world more than about our various countries. Until we reach that goal we won’t complain, but take hardship as an inevitable thing. To whom would God give His good fortune? To those whose central concern is the well-being of the world. God would give everything He had and all His love to them. Do you really feel deeply that this is true, or do you just know this is true?

My topic today is prayer. When you sacrifice and endure then no more prayer is necessary, for when you are living that life you are already in contact with God. God has to love the one who suffers and endures most. The prize should be given to such a person. Can anyone be opposed to that? Even prisoners would agree with that.

Do you think I am a good husband to Mother, or not? I am the best in the sense that I push her more than any husband would push his wife. There is nothing individual about our life together at all, for it is lived completely for the whole. I insist on that. I want to hear her encourage me to do more, even when I am exhausted. If she does that then you will come to cherish her and she will come to possess everything.

Prayer is about asking for the power and the lively mind to keep going, even if we have to fast and kneel down. When we don’t have the confidence and motive to continue pursuing the goal, then we have to pray to ask for that motive. If we don’t have enough power to do what we must do, then we pray to ask God for the power to hang on to His course and will, even at the cost of our lives. Prayer is a promise and proclamation to God that you are going this way, and asking for the power to complete it. Certainly God will listen to that prayer, and urge you to go ahead.

After God sees that you will persevere until you accomplish what you promise, He will think you are trustworthy in His will. If you pray but don’t act, however, you and God will become farther and farther apart. When you pray about something and act headlong to do it, trusting that God will help you do that, it will be achieved. Your prayer is not made in meditation, but with sweat, with all your energy. Pray with the utmost confidence that you will go through any barrier. Once you have that determination, persecution will only make you more solid. If your situation becomes even worse after you pray, you must be assured that the day is getting nearer when God will answer your prayer.

In the beginning you didn’t think Unification Church life was that difficult, but as it gets more difficult you can think that the day when God can achieve His promise is getting nearer. In the movies and on television there are many scenes of death and desperation. You can feel connected to those situations, feeling that you are in such situations in the dispensation. You always have to assimilate your situation. If you can have the feeling that those scenes in the movies are realistically connected to us, then that is the only way you can be justified in going to see a movie when others are all out fund raising.

When you pray with an intense feeling of doing the will of God, that can be thought of as physically working. This is an entirely different world from the existing world. You can do great big things if you really know that God is working behind you. When a man has to achieve a great task, he can certainly use some extra power, and so we ask for it in prayer. When we establish a subject-object relationship in prayer, doing something for ourselves is actually doing something for the sake of the world. You can ask God to be with you in pursuing something for God and mankind because you feel more strongly about it doing the work, loving God and mankind and therefore loving yourself. We are doing anticommunist work out of love for the world, not retaliation, and so in prayer we say that God must help us.

Sometimes we need stimulation from the situation in order to maintain subject position in love. We are grateful when we have a nice meal, but don’t complain when we have poor food. When we have poor food, then we will receive the sympathy of others. Wherever we are, even in prison, we have the determination that we will not change. As long as we are unchanging, God will certainly stay with us.

When we pray for the world, whatever benefit comes to the world also comes back to us. Ultimately, then, we are doing everything for ourselves as well as for the world and God. This has to be realistic to you, for otherwise the ideal and love we have is not really completely your own. You can say you have love, but unless it is real in everyday life, you don’t truly have it.

When a person binds himself to subjectivity in the ideal of love, he will go later to the best spirit world. Only if you are living for the greater cause can you say you love yourself; otherwise it will be a false love. If you look at yourself in the mirror and cannot say that you can go any further, then you are no longer a true one. If a person is false, then everything he has done will ultimately be false also. If you feel that you haven’t suffered enough in order to graduate from suffering, then talk to yourself. Unless you feel confident all the time, when you get hungry you should blame your own hunger. Then you have to refuse yourself a good meal unless you are firm in your conviction. Unless we really feel that way all the time, we cannot seek to have good food and a good situation. The self who is not in that position but who still seeks pleasant things is then an enemy to the whole.

Each one knows more about himself that anyone else, and knows what level he is on. When you know where you really are, you are ashamed of other people even bringing up your name for praise. But if you always want your name to be mentioned and be praised, something is wrong. As a man, you know whether you are worthy of any woman, and are fearful of being proposed to. Common sense tells us that when everyone is going to receive good things, we should stay back. A person who loves himself without knowing a good reason why is deceiving himself. One should not love himself without knowing why.

Since all of us know that we are not in a position to be loved, if someone says they will love us then we should be apprehensive, knowing we are not worthy of receiving that love. With that realization we have to seek a world contrary to the present world. If God prayed, He would pray for love of the world. God’s love, then, will be only preliminary love, not real love. God will save the most precious love for last. I feel that God will give the love of the lesser things first, and then the closer He comes to the center, the more concentrated His love will become. When a person feels he really loves himself, that is the point he and God will become one. Then even though he may not want it, God will come and embrace him.

The prayer we are interested in is the prayer to realize meaningful love. When you accomplish what you pledged you would do, then you come back and pledge something which is even more difficult. If you continue this way, then you will see development in yourself. When you fail to achieve what you promise then you repent and concentrate on doing better.

When you eat, talk to your food and tell it that it must supply you with good energy to fulfill what you pledged in prayer. How righteous it is to have that kind of attitude toward your food and clothing. How righteous it is for all nature to support you in your course. If you ask nature whether it wants you to be an active person who is successful in love, it will unanimously answer yes. The creation isn’t concerned with you until you become a true subject of love, but when you want to become a true subject then they will support you. How realistic this feeling is! To ensure that, we pray often.

If you turned on the television in the middle of the night to get stimulation to continue toward love, even if you disturbed me I would not be upset. Even if a neighbor is disturbed, all the spirit world would support you, knowing what your reason is. If you have to make lots of noise in the middle of the night to get stimulation to carry out the will of God, all the neighbors will have to go along with it.

Once you become the subject of love, all those who persecute you will bow down. If for love you spend all the money you have accumulated in your life and it is gone overnight, you won’t regret it. If it was spent for any other purpose, however, it would be a source of regret. When I look back on my life, I know that all I did was for the sake of true love. Then all of a sudden I am confident and feel liberated.

When I am joyful, God and all mankind will be joyful with me. When I am sad, everything will be sad also. You have felt that Belvedere feels empty when I am not here; you feel that way because I am pursuing love. That feeling of love resonates in you and spreads. I have not changed, but Americans are changing. Like the changing climate, more and more Americans are coming to like me. The warm weather of the cosmic spring is coming. When the warm weather comes, no one has to tell you to take off your winter clothing. People thought Moonies were the coldest people, who never thought about their own families, but in time they have discovered that Moonies are actually warm.

We pray so that we will fulfill this love. To sustain our effort we need extra stimulation, or someone to remind us and give us a boost. In addition to asking for extra support, there is also a prayer of reporting. When we pray to ask, we are praying to let God know we are determined, while the prayer of reporting is in essence a prayer expressing gratitude. You are thanking God for His support in helping you accomplish your goal. Both kinds of prayer are necessary in daily life. On every level this kind of prayer is necessary.

What will Unification Church pray for? We ask God to love our home church area. You pray to God, telling Him what you are going to do in your area, asking for His support, and then that eight you report and tell Him what happened.

Perhaps you are an editor on the newspaper and hardly have time to do home church. But you regularly eat and go to the bathroom; are those things any more indispensable than home church? You can always shorten the time of going to the bathroom or eating. Save a few minutes by not chatting with people; all that time added up might save an hour, and then you can go to home church. If you don’t go to home church, it means you have not established yourself as a subject of love. Then how can you love your spouse or children? If you reverse the correct sequence, it will never work.

Dr. Durst came to see me yesterday and I was happy to see him, but I didn’t show it. If instead of visiting me he had attended family members or taken care of some problem, that would be love. If I am not in New York then he should do my part as well as his own. But if he leaves New York and comes to visit me, who will take care of you? If he feels that he must go to the central person to be consoled, everyone else will feel the same way, and the world will become vacant. If by criticizing him I can compensate for the vacancy, I will do it. With different thinking, how different the world would become.

Day or night, rain or shine, we keep going, desperate to find the way to love ourselves, by doing things which will enable others to love us. By living this way and not caring what other people think, you will have no regret, for love will come to visit this way.

This is the way all men should go, for there is no alternative or better way. All men have to go this way, whether they know it or not, but here in Unification Church the Principle helps us carry out this way of life. Without a bridge it would be too difficult to cross from this world to a better one, but Principle is that bridge; it is our ladder to reach the high place where God is. We cross the long bridge and climb the high ladder, and eventually we can go anywhere, even to heaven. That bridge and that ladder are love. Suppose we get exhausted in climbing the ladder. Then we have to hang on and pray, saying, “I must go up. Please give me power to go up. ” If you experience the right prayer, God will give you that power.

There is a whole new mystic world in prayer. We pray in order to fulfill love, to tread the way in which we can love ourselves eventually. We work in order to love ourselves, and we have to persevere and sacrifice so that we can love ourselves. If you are persecuted but you fight against it, your bag of love will be ruptured, so instead you persevere.

In light of all this, persevering becomes rather easy. When you go through a day of impossible work, you will find that God embraces you while you are resting, and you might even see your body glowing with light. That is the mystical way of life through prayer. Though it is difficult to endure persecution, live in a prayer life of talking to God and being intoxicated in His love. You need the situation where you can experience God’s love dwelling in you. How much God can love you when you are thankful to Him.

When difficulty arises, don’t toss and turn by yourself, but pray to God right away. You can say, “I must go the way of love, and if I come to an obstacle, please push me forward. I don’t care about myself, but please deliver me to the other side. This is what you want, what mankind wants and what I want. Please, this once give me power and then I will go on my own power. ”

Perhaps you couldn’t sleep and you woke up early in the morning and began praying. When you finish talking to God and are ready to go out and work, it might be only 5 a.m., so you wait a few more hours until the sun rises. How beautiful a sight it is when you are waiting for the sun to rise, when you can dash out and do the work you promised to God. You don’t even have to have breakfast or say hello to anyone.

We will do that from early morning to late at night, not wasting a minute. If there is no visible result that day, you can tell God that you will still continue tomorrow. Then the next day you will try harder and pray harder, and then eventually the result will certainly come. If you retreat, however, result can never come. If you really do not have the knack of prayer, you can never advance. Through the mystic world of prayer you can achieve great things.

Prayer is as necessary as your daily meals; you need food to keep healthy, and you need prayer to stay spiritually healthy. We pray in order to become the subjects of love. All that matters in spirit world is love, and we want to be the true owners of love. Your prayers have been vague so far. Do you have a better idea now how to pray?

Parents want their children to be able to go farther ahead of them, so wherever I go I stay at the rear and let everyone else go ahead. Many Unification Church leaders think they should be the highest. They should be the highest in working, but in receiving rewards and enjoyment they should feel they must be last. Our rule is that when work is needed we work the hardest, but we are the last to receive awards. If we live like that then we can accomplish our work.

This applies to the blessing also. I never asked for a beautiful wife. I was prepared to receive the ugliest wife in the world, but it happens that Mother is very beautiful, and I am grateful. That’s the nature of love. Love has a tendency to hide, not to show off. If someone has a precious gift to give, he does so secretly, not in public. Yesterday I saw a man holding a woman very close in a bus and kissing her, and I wondered how long their love would last. There is shallow love and deep love. Anyone can have shallow love, but not everyone knows deep love. The person who is indifferent to the deep love from God will never come close to deep love.

It is reasonable that we have to go through suffering and sacrifice in order to come to deep love. When I am very serious about something, Mother cannot just casually come to me. In deep love it is not unusual that a couple not speak for even one hour. Just looking externally, people might wonder if they love each other. The love which everyone can see is not the most valuable. The love which God will slip into your back pocket when you are not looking is the best.

I can testify about this. Sometimes Mother asks, “You love me, don’t you?” and I say yes. If she says, “How much,” I reply, “My love is as big as you.” In replying that way I am saying that my love is the biggest possible, since I could never say I loved her more than I loved God. There is a proper manner of modesty between husband and wife in the godly world, and we must uphold that law. Can we tell our parents to wait until we finish kissing before they speak to us? I suspect Americans would tell their parents to wait, but instead we must have modesty and orderliness. There is a courtesy as a man and woman to maintain. You must always be aware of it and act within that scope.

I never taught you to love me instead of others. Always I taught you to love God first, and to love the members more than you love me. As long as I do that, I can never be wrong. Then even though the world opposes me, I will not perish. If anyone tries to cut off such a person, the universe will never leave the attacker alone for very long, for his act would threaten the order of the universe. I don’t have to deal with my enemies because they will be taken care of by the universe.

In the path of love one has to be audacious and brave. We can be confident that there is no shame at all in this path. That is why we can be powerful. We cannot continue this way of life unless we pursue love. To continue on this path we must pray, so you must remember to lead a prayerful life.

The springtime of the second three seven-year courses is about to begin, and it should be a growing time for us. It is appropriate that you prepare for this season with prayer, to ready yourselves for the upcoming glorious time. Those who promise they will do that, raise your hands.

Let us pray.