There was an article in the Michinotomo that relayed a story about a church head minister who performs the prayer service for someone six times a day.
His words at the end of the article, “I would like to make time to seriously come face-to-face with God the Parent,” really struck a cord with me.
Soon after I read the article, my wife’s aunt collapsed due to a cerebral infarction stroke and at the same time, she was also diagnosed with terminal cancer.
So my wife and I decided to perform the prayer service six times a day.
Usually, we are busy with our church duties or job. Our minds are also busy and we think about this and that.
In our busy schedules, in order to calm our minds, switch our mindset and converse with God the Parent, it is imperative that we consciously focus ourselves.
When I performed the prayer service six times a day, I was able to face God without rushing and I could see clearly that I was usually just performing the service, not fully focused.
Calling out God’s name in earnest is the foundation of the service, but had I really been intending to call God the Parent when I chanted “Tenri-O-no-Mikoto”?
When I sang, “Ashiki harai tasuke tamae (All ills sweep away),” was I really praying, “God, please save me”?
Were my hand movements really dancing the truth?
In his address at the Boys and Girls Association leaders’ first meeting of the year 2021, the Director-in-chief of Religious Affairs said: “I would like the parents, who are also nurturing members of the Boys and Girls Association, to be able to convey the strenuous efforts and joy to perform the ‘service’ to ‘save someone,’ administer the ‘Sazuke,’ bring someone back to ‘Jiba’ to receive the blessings, instead of simply saying ‘we are living joyously,’ and/or ‘our family is happy.’”
In Song Six of the Mikagura-uta, the Songs for the Service, we are taught:
Second, As I work miraculous salvation, I discern any and everything.
Third, The innermost hearts of all in the world, are reflected to Me as in a mirror.
Fourth, I am pleased that you have followed to join the Service. This Service is the fundamental way for salvation.
As written in the Mikagura-uta, God the Parent and Oyasama is always discerning our minds.
We should be conscious of God the Parent and Oyasama’s presence when we perform the service.
As I mentioned earlier, my wife and I had been performing the prayer service for my wife’s aunt, six times a day. Something I read in a faith essay on the Tenrikyo Students’ Association website “Happist,” caught my eye. In the essay, “The path to conviction,” Rev. Nobuya Noguchi described in detail of his missionary experience in Thailand and the “the most sincere way to pray for others” is to perform the seated service and Twelve Songs of the Mikagura-uta three times in the morning and three times in the evening for three days and three nights consecutively.”
After reading this essay, it crossed my mind to perform the Three Day, Three Night prayer service.
If you think about how much time this will take, you may stumble, but I whole-heartedly started doing this, not wanting to feel regret for not doing it at all.
Every morning, we would wake up earlier than usual and perform the Twelve Songs of the Mikagura-uta twice, then after performing the morning service, we would dance the Twelve Songs again. Then, after evening service, we would perform the prayer service three times in a row.
We continued this for 3 days, and on the third day, as I was thinking I would be happy to receive some sort of sign, upon completing the third repetition of the Twelve Songs of the hand dance in the morning, my wife astonishingly exclaimed, “Oh! What happened?” after seeing the back of my head.
What she saw was a bald spot about the size of a quarter. I had contracted what was called, alopecia areata, a form of spot baldness.
Initially I did not understand God’s message. However, I feel perhaps somewhere within me I was arrogantly feeling, “So, I am doing this much.”
However that night, after completing the 3rd repetition of the prayer service, through a conversation with my wife, I learned an immensely valuable lesson.
When my aunt in-law, for whom we were performing the prayer service for, collapsed due to a cerebral infarction stroke in late April and was admitted to the hospital, they found she had terminal cancer. From the time she collapsed she experienced no pain.
The fact she experienced no pain was for her and her family a truly thankful blessing.
However, as I was wondering what truth was allowing her to receive this blessing at which point my wife shared the following recollection.
My wife’s grandmother, her aunt’s mother, was a person that was enthusiastic about salvation work to the point that she would ride a bicycle over mountains to do salvation work even if she received a phone call for help in the middle of the night.
Her grandmother passed away from cancer, but while she was battling cancer, she administered the Sazuke when she was asked by her best friend to do salvation work for her friend who was suffering from terminal brain cancer.
Due to the truth of efficacy of the Sazuke, that person’s pain was alleviated to the point that morphine was not required.
It was only when my wife’s grandmother passed away did that person realize she was doing salvation work while she herself had cancer, and although in serious condition, that person attended my wife’s grandmother’s wake and thanked her by saying “I have received salvation.”
I think that it was because of the virtue of my wife’s grandmother’s spirit and my aunt received a blessing of not having to suffer the pain from cancer.
After finishing the Three Day, Three Night prayer, I felt that it was as if God taught us, “This is what a true missionary,” and I felt very grateful.
Even in the midst of this pandemic, if we use our minds to save others, God the Parent and Oyasama will work in accordance with our sincere minds and help us with the path to grow spiritually.
For the Anniversary, even though the ways of each one of us may be different, let us be united in mind to achieve the Goals for Spiritual Maturity that are equally the same for everyone.
I am looking forward to seeing you all at the Anniversary in May next year.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.
(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)