Finding the Good with Prayer

November 2021

Trayce Riley

Trayce Riley is manager of the Unity Prayer Ministry. Helping others find wholeness and peace through affirmative prayer is her joy. She lives in the Kansas City area.

A more prosperous, peaceful life is possible through the gifts of gratitude and affirmative prayer

Prayer is central to my life and my work at the Unity Prayer Ministry, where we affirm the divinity and goodness of all people. I’m grateful that my life’s journey has led me to this place.
I was raised by my grandparents in southwestern Virginia. I grew up in a traditional Black Baptist church, where my grandmother and I attended and my father was a skilled pianist. Like him, I played many a hymn on Sunday mornings.
One of my grandmother’s favorites was “My Heavenly Father Watches Over Me.” The refrain reads in part, “Though billows roll, He keeps my soul.” She loved this hymn because of its comforting reassurance of God’s constant presence and protection. Faith and prayer were her refuge and strength, and she passed these on to me.
As I grew, I explored a different spirituality and began shaping my beliefs through reflection and prayer. I’ve discovered there is always good to be found, and prayer always helps me find it. 

Unexpected Blessings

This belief was tested at one of my lowest points, the decision to end my marriage. I worried I was tearing my children’s world apart. I felt sad, disappointed, afraid, and frustrated. Sometimes I was simply overwhelmed.
But my commitment to finding the good meant recognizing I had much to be grateful for, including loving and supportive family on both sides and a good job that provided financial stability. 
I turned to this prayer to help see me through: 
I give thanks for inner strength that is my anchor and wisdom that is my constant guide. I am grateful for divine love that meets every need. Standing firm in faith, I am inspired and hopeful, envisioning a brighter future ahead.
I have also found the good by turning my thoughts to yes, and … “Yes” sees the situation and honors my feelings. “And” acknowledges my divinity and the potential for good to unfold. 
This outlook helped me years ago when I faced sudden unemployment. I felt like a failure—lost, defeated, and afraid. I had no idea how I would support myself and my family. 
It helped to realize that yes, I lost the job, and I was blessed with an unexpected severance package. Yes, I ignored the red flags at work, and I finally realized that I needed a career change. Yes, I had to tighten my belt financially, and I still met my family’s needs.
Most important, I moved through fear and shame to begin a journey more aligned with my purpose, including fulfilling my dream of returning to school. Through it all, I stayed present while trusting in better days ahead. 
I held this truth in mind as I prayed:
With understanding and self-compassion, I say yes, accepting my circumstances, though difficult. Faith assures me there is more, and my blessings become clear. Holding to the promise of good ahead, I know that all is well.

“Most important, I moved through fear and shame to begin a journey more aligned with my purpose, including fulfilling my dream of returning to school. Through it all, I stayed present while trusting in better days ahead.”

Divinely Connected

Finally, finding the good has meant accepting a painful truth I spent years avoiding. My parents were unable to raise me. They divorced during my infancy after tragically losing their young son, my brother. The silence around their divorce and my brother’s death, along with their absence, left me feeling abandoned, rejected, and unworthy. I felt I was to blame. 
As I stayed present to those feelings, I grew in compassion for my parents’ deep pain at losing their son and giving up their daughter. I felt grateful they entrusted my loving grandparents with my care. 
Again, I prayed:
One with God, I find strength to face painful truths. Divine love comforts me, and inner wisdom guides me to a place of peace. Calmly, I release the past and any beliefs or messages that no longer serve me. I am grateful, joyful, and free.
Finding the good has meant using my spiritual powers—faith, will, power, wisdom, strength—to turn my life around. I’m grateful to know I am always divinely connected, guided, and inspired. 
Perhaps this is how my grandmother felt and why she found the lyrics so comforting. “Though billows roll, He keeps my soul.” This was her good—the certainty that she was divinely held, joined with God at all times. This is true for me too. 
I am blessed with divine powers to face whatever life brings. For this I am grateful.