This book, Prayer of the Heart: A Method of Transformation, is based on Reverend Carol Ruth Knox‘s doctoral dissertation as well as a weekend workshop she conducted in October 1986 and Sunday talks she gave on this subject.
Who was Carol Ruth Knox? She was a Unity minister. Each week, Reverend Knox shared her encounters with the Divine and the lessons she learned from each encounter. Her messages, however, were an anomaly for New Thought ministers.
Instead of using the Divine to manifest health, houses or relationships, she taught that God is everywhere – in every situation, even the most difficult ones. Sometimes life is hard. “But you are never alone. God is here in this hard time, too! I’m not here to make your life easier,” Carol Ruth would say, “I’m here to help you grow deeper.”
In this book, Prayer of the Heart: A Method of Transformation, Carol Ruth explains how she survived some of the darkest times of her life (her Dark Night of the Soul). She shares, “I felt barren and bitter and experienced an overwhelming feeling of bondage. Do you?”
She always asked us to check in with ourselves, “Are you bored and bicker a lot? Do you feel as if you are inside a gray cave and you don’t know how to get out? Do you feel your relationships have not treated you right, our living situations don’t work, your general way of being is like a low-grade headache? Are you married to the ‘perfect person’, have a wonderful job, sleep for ten hours, but you are not at all renewed and have no zest?”
“I tried to think correctly,” she admitted, “and I did 15 different workshops, and even experienced spiritual ‘openings’ only to have them close down and I returned to the same ‘drone of consciousness’ and did not ‘break out of the cave’.”
“Then I began the Prayer of the Heart work and entered a whole new level of spirituality.”
“What astonishing work and [it is] far ahead of its time, even thought [it is] based on an ancient prayer practice…” – Deborah Heartwood, MA, Sr. Prayer Chaplain, Unity Churches
Carol Ruth speaks of an inherent aspiration can fire up in an individual at any moment (caused by crisis, fear, existential despair, or Divine intervention). It carries us along and the long range effects are old parts of ourselves drop away and new ones appear; only to become the next old to be dropped away.
When it happened to her, she asked, “Where can I keep my attention in order to sustain my life with a thread of continuity” while this pruning and reshaping of my personality takes place? How can I survive the intensity of the experience?
For most, it is too hard. Sadly transcendence and unification are put aside. Maybe because of the religious implications. But billions deny this rapture with life—are excluded and never know what was missed—yet they suspect they are missing something. And they are. They are missing a relationship with their Spiritual Self, their inner flame, beyond personality or ego.
For Reverend Knox, the way through was possible because of an ancient prayer practice: the Prayer of the Heart.
Editor Dr. Coy F. Cross II explains his approach to editing the book in the forward. In short, he explains, “Dissertations, by their very nature, are not written for the general public’s reading enjoyment… I have taken the liberty to exclude those [parts] written merely to meet dissertation requirements… rewritten passages in ‘first person,’ substituted explanations from her workshop and Sunday lessons when I felt these were clearer and more easy to understand… I have conscientiously endeavored to stay true to her words and meaning.”
The book, Prayer of the Heart: A Method of Transformation can be found at Barnes & Noble and most other bookstores in 57 countries around the world. Or purchase it online: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and most other book vendors.