Family Education Department(※at the time of writing)
How to Approach Prayer
1. Where to Pray
At home, prepare a special room that can be used as a “prayer room.” If it’s difficult to secure a prayer room, you can set a part of a certain room as a place to pray. Please set up a “home altar” there. On the altar, a picture of the True Parents of Heaven, Earth and Humankind should be placed in the center surrounded by the Holy Candle of Cheon Il Guk and Holy Salt of Cheon Il Guk. Furthermore, you may place the Exposition of the Divine Principle, Holy Scriptures of Cheon Il Guk and Holy Soil of Cheon Il Guk. Ideally, the altar should be placed near a window on the north side of the room. However, if this is difficult, you may offer a prayer of report and set up the altar to face a different direction.
It is also important to visit the “holy land” and pray with sincerity. Furthermore, you should formally pray in the aforementioned prayer room, but as we find in the word, “If you don’t have time, you can pray while working” (Cheon Seong Gyeong, Holy Scriptures of Cheon Il Guk, Book 9, Chapter 3. 2. 17), it is also necessary to pray constantly wherever you are.
2. When to Pray
Early each day, an individual or family should hold a study and reporting prayer meeting. If it is difficult to do in the early morning, it may be done when all of the family members can gather. You may offer rare prayer reports at any of the following “homage ceremonies:”
• An Shi Il : 5 AM
• First of the Month: The first of each month (of the Heavenly Calendar) 5 AM
• Church Holidays: Same time as when True Parents start (normally at 7 AM)
*Prayer reports are also held at commemorative events such as Foundation Day and Father’s seunghwa.
**When it is difficult to adhere to the times mentioned above for homage ceremonies, you may do prayer reports a little before or after the set time.
3. Set a Period or Time of Prayer
When praying, it is also important to decide on the period of time, such as for 40 days from a certain date; the time, such as from 6 AM; and the duration, such as 21 or 40 minutes. Consistency is important, but it is not easy. However, if you decide to pray for 21 minutes and you keep to it each time you pray, you will gradually develop your ability to pray. God may not respond to your prayers immediately because it takes time to reach that connection with Him since there are different worlds on many levels. Many people stop praying because they feel their prayers aren’t heard, or they may be overwhelmed with joy when they do receive a prompt answer. In any case, we should continue to devote our cheongseong.
When devoting to a life of prayer, don’t pray without a goal. I am telling you to set certain goals as you live life. You have to set a goal and invest all of your self: for three years if you set a goal of three years, for 10 years if the goal is for 10 years. You need to have an attitude of communing with God in your life.
Selected Words of Rev. Sun Myung Moon 30-122, 1970.3.21
4. Who Do You Pray With?
Prayers may be conducted by the individual, a couple or a family, or as a group, such as at a church service or prayer meeting. The basis of prayer is a one-to-one dialogue between God and “me,” so an individual prayer is essential. Although it is necessary to pray individually, at home, it is desirable to pray together as a couple or family as much as possible. In particular, it is wonderful for a couple to pray together with a common purpose before Heaven’s will. As the saying goes, “Cheon Il Guk is a country where two people become one,” it is important to have cheongseong where “a couple can become one centered on God through prayer.” When couples pray silently at their “home altars,” they may end up praying about something completely different. They may share the same “prayer time,” but their hearts and prayer content may not be in accord. It is necessary to set up certain ways to deepen prayer between a husband and wife.
5. Deepening Prayer Between Husband and Wife
Here are three ways in which a couple can deepen their prayers together.
The first is not to face the altar and pray side by side. Instead, “face each other and pray while holding hands.” Prayer while holding hands is effective in order to bring your hearts together, since you can feel each other’s warmth.
The second is to “pray alternately and repeatedly.” Instead of having one person offer a representative prayer, it is good to have the wife pray after the husband prays, or to have the husband pray after the wife prays. This is a method of reporting the progress of each other’s prayer (in stages) to heaven while offering prayers alternately. In addition, if you listen carefully to your partner’s prayer, you may find or notice something new. You may be stimulated that the next time you pray, you can pray in like manner and deepen your prayer. For example, when couples pray for their children, they may discover that their gratitude or concern for their children may be quite different. These moments are not only opportunities to get to know your children from your spouse’s point of view, but also opportunities to get to know your spouse’s feelings on a deeper level. However, they are not a place for couples to exchange opinions but a place to report to heaven. Therefore, it is important to listen intently to your spouse’s prayer. If a couple talks over certain matters after such a prayer, I think the benefit will be great because the give and receive action will be quite genuine.
The third is to make the content of prayer go from “gratitude to report, and back to gratitude.” For example, when couples pray about their children, they may tend to focus on the problems and worries of their children. However, a prayer should not focus on such concerns, but it should be about gratitude to God and True Parents, who gave their children life. No matter what the children are going through, couples should not ignore God or True Parents. These prayers should be moments where couples alternately offer their gratitude for giving them life that is their children. This is done in order to establish a relative standard with the love of God, who gave us life. Before we pray about certain matters, we must thank God for His love and we must love God. After that, we can offer a “status report.” The prayer of report is to report about the actual situation. In addition to reporting about external matters, we need to report openly about our feelings and concerns as parents. Then, at t the end of the prayer, we should return to a prayer of gratitude. I think it is easy and good to end with a prayer of gratitude.
In this way, a prayer should begin with gratitude and end in gratitude. These are ways in which we can pray in a time full of grace where couples can welcome God and resemble Him.
If you lead a life of prayer, you will feel indescribable joy. This state of joy is the state of God’s thought prior to creation. Having reached this state, if you are able to stand in the position where you can describe such joy, you will be in the state of God after He created the entire universe. This level is the position of God as He created the universe through the Word. From that state, you have to proclaim the Word. If you do so, people certainly will appear wanting to receive the Word.
Cheon Seong Gyeong, Holy Scriptures of Cheon Il Guk, Book 8, Chapter 2. 4. 22