The Prayer Way to Health, Wealth and Happiness
Listen/Download Audio James Dillet Freeman's Forward to this book
The Prayer Way to Health, Wealth and Happiness
Unity School of Christianity
Lee’s Summit, Missouri
First Edition, 1964
When for a purpose
I had prayed and prayed and prayed
Until my words seemed worn and bare
With arduous use,
And I had knocked and asked and knocked and asked again,
And all my fervor and persistence brought no hope,
I paused to give my weary brain a rest
And ceased my anxious human cry.
In that still moment,
After self had tried and failed,
There came a glorious vision of God’s power,
And, lo, my prayer was answered in that hour.
During my many years of activity in the work of Unity School of Christianity, I have had the happy privilege of writing, under the inspiration of the Spirit of truth, hundreds of Truth articles, occasional poems, and miscellaneous bits of spiritual philosophy. Many letters come to Unity from readers who testify to the help that they have derived from using the ideas that I have sought to explain in my writings.
A number of years ago, Unity printed on a card Metaphysical Gadgets, a group of thirteen Truth affirmations that I compiled after having proved their spiritual worth in my own life. Users tell me that they have found these gadgets valuable in meeting everyday problems involving health, prosperity, and human relationships.
Each section of this book, except that on the Lord’s Prayer, is based on one of the gadgets.
Section 1: The Positive OutlookI go to meet my good. (To be used when answering the doorbell, or on the way to an appointment)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. The power of God fills my life with glory, adjusting all my problems.
Second Day. I am not fooled by adverse appearances, for I can see God’s love shining through them.
Third Day. Visions of good are leading me into pleasant and prosperous ways, and all my paths are peaceful.
Fourth Day. My appreciation of God's power and goodness grows larger day by day as my troubles grow smaller.
Fifth Day. I magnify God by thinking often of the reality of His unbounded love, goodnesss, power, and wisdom.
Sixth Day. I look ever toward the light and the shadows all fall behind me.
Seventh Day. All dark places are made light through my vision of Christ.
- Heaven Is Here
- Look for the Best
- I Go to Meet My Good
- Where Are You Looking?
- Call Out the Good
Section 2: Life and TruthMy heart is right with God. (For heart trouble)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. I am a child of the living God. His Spirit lives in me. guiding and sustaining me. I am fundamentally good.
Second Day. I am willing and eager that the light of Jesus Christ shall shine out through me continuously.
Third Day. I am fearless, humble, forgiving, joyous, truthful, honest, loving, and wise, because these are expressions coming from the Spirit of Christ, which God has placed in my heart.
Fourth Day. I am dependable, true, and faithful, expressing the Christ Spirit in me.
Fifth Day. I am strong, courageous, and steadfast, for God is my Father.
Sixth Day. All things are possible with God, who dwells within me.
Seventh Day. The blessings of God are being poured out upon me in full measure, and I am rejoicing continually in His love.
- The Truth about You
- Do You Need Help?
- Let It Pass
- God Bless My Soul
- Friends of God
Section 3: Using Divine SubstanceDivine love through me blesses and multiplies this money. (For blessing all money when received or paid out)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. As I bless, consecrate, and rightly use the little things that I find in my possession they grow, and I begin to discover how great is God’s loving, generous supply for me.
Second Day. The oil of God’s bountiful supply is sufficient to fill all the empty places in my soul, body, and affairs.
Third Day. The source of my security abides within me, where dwells the Spirit of God, my Father.
Fourth Day. By exercising my faith in God’s all-sufficient supply I am able to draw upon it for all my needs.
Fifth Day. Putting my God-given talent to work for Him brings me joy and success.
Sixth Day. The riches of God’s creative word are the source of all supply.
Seventh Day. I am thankful that my Father-God supplies me richly as I make myself ready to use that greater supply wisely and well.
- The Transmutation of Riches
- God’s Bank
- How to Use God’s Perfect Ideas
- How to Stretch Your Money
- What Hast Thou in the House?
- The Secret of Giving
- Ask for More
Section 4: The Magnetism of LoveI am a radiant center of divine love. (To be used in winning friends)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. Divine love is now working through me, adjusting all the details of my life.
Second Day. Divine love fills me with joy and health.
Third Day. Divine love helps me to solve all my problems.
Fourth Day. Divine love is the fulfilling of the law in my affairs.
Fifth Day. Divine love draws prosperity to me.
Sixth Day. Divine love protects me from all harm.
Seventh Day. Divine love abides with me continually and satisfies my soul.
- Try This Experiment
- God Needs You
- You Asked for It
- Laugh and Relax
Section 5: The Divine Order of ThingsThere is nothing lost in Spirit. (To be used when something seems to be mislaid)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. I dwell in the kingdom of peace and harmony today.
Second Day. No mistake of the past can disturb me today, for God’s omnipresent love has wiped away all of the unpleasant things of the past.
Third Day. No past joy can steal my present joy from me, for joy is eternal.
Fourth Day. No loss of the past can take anything away from my present store of good things, for God with all His substance is here now.
Fifth Day. No sin of the past can torment me, for old things have passed away, and I am a new creature in Christ Jesus.
Sixth Day. Today is real and vital, for it is filled with God’s life, substance, love, and joy.
Seventh Day. I have let go of all outworn thoughts of the past, and I am being inspired with ideas of Truth by the Spirit of truth.
- You and Your Past
- The Good Old Days
- "Little Mister My”
- You and Your Future
Section 6: God EverywhereI greet the presence and power of God here. (To be used in entering a new home or, in fact, any building)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. Through the activity of the Christ Mind, all the earth is unified in God’s goodness.
Second Day. In the unity of the Christ Spirit all men are one in God’s love.
Third Day. The magic-working power of God’s love is dissolving all discord in the world.
Fourth Day. The light of Christ Truth is breaking upon the whole world, revealing the love of God in every heart.
Fifth Day. All men are one in Christ, and peace and harmony fill the land.
Sixth Day. I am ready to express God’s love now. I shall not wait for others to act first.
Seventh Day. There is but one presence and one power in the universe. This presence and power is God, the good Creator of all things.
- How to Find Heaven Everywhere
- God Will Help You Do Your Work
- The Unity of All Things
Section 7: The Words We SpeakNo man cometh unto me save the Father send him. (For preventing gossip and waste of time with those who would talk too long, and to discover means of helping others Spiritually)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. I am not sustained by bread alone. I am sustained also by the living words proceeding out of the mouth of God.
Second Day. My words are spirit, and they are life, and they bring me a good harvest of health, happiness, and prosperity.
Third Day. The Word of God now active in me heals, quickens, and strengthens my soul and body.
Fourth Day. “My mouth shall speak wisdom; And the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.”
Fifth Day. Let my thoughts and my words be in accord with Tby good words, my heavenly Father-God.
Sixth Day. My words shall spring from the inspiration of the Spirit of truth and be filled with love, faith, joy, peace, courage, and health.
Seventh Day. My words are courageous and helpful when I listen for the promptings of God’s still small voice within me before I speak.
- Let Something Good Be Said
- If You Like It, Say So
- The Power of Praise
Section 8: No BarriersThere is but one presence and one power here. (To be used when you seem to be up against a stone wall and the problem facing you seems beyond human solution)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. There is but one presence and one power in my life, God, who is unchanging love and power. There can be no other power to harm me.
Second Day. Because God is one He makes all complicated things in my affairs simple and easy to understand.
Third Day. God is my help in every need. He helps me to keep my affairs in divine order by showing me how to do first things first.
Fourth Day. I can do all things through Christ, the Son of God dwelling in me.
Fifth Day. Divine order is being established in my mind and affairs because I am cultivating perfect faith in the one supreme power of God as the only power in my life.
Sixth Day. This one thing I do in the name of God’s Christ within me.
Seventh Day. I love God, the only presence and power in the universe, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength.
- The Head of the House
- Fifteen Sheets in the Wind
- How to Overcome the Jitters
- Why Did You Do It?
- The Right Answer
Section 9: Living the Full LifeLife. (To bespoken silently in times of health emergency)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. I am always harmonious, happy, prosperous, and healthy, because I live, move, and have my being in God.
Second Day. Because I have placed my faith in God I am poised and unafraid, He is showing me how to proceed.
Third Day. Because God is more important to me than anything in the whole world, nothing can disturb me or make me afraid. Seeing God in all things makes them more beautiful and helpful.
Fourth Day. I have nothing to fear, for God is here.
Fifth Day. To this problem before me I say: “God bless you that you may become a blessing to me and to all.”
Sixth Day. I plant good words wherever I go, and God gives me a rich increase of good things.
Seventh Day. My words are spirit, and they are life, and they shall not return unto me void, but shall accomplish that where unto they are sent.
- Live Today
- Use Your Energy Wisely
- How to Relax
- Frustrating Frustration
- Rising Out of the "Dumps"
- I Why Pray?
Section 10: God Is Greater than Our FearsPeace. (To be used when there is a disturbing noise or storm, or when you are afraid)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. In spirit and in truth I am open and receptive to God’s answer to my prayer.
Second Day. I stand still in the silence, that I may understand God’s still small voice as He says to me: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Third Day. Christ in me calms the stormy waves of my human emotions as He commands: “Peace, be still”
Fourth Day. I listen for the voice of God, who is now in His holy temple, as I still all disturbing thoughts so that I can keep silence before Him.
Fifth Day. No worldly problems can disturb me, for I have faith enough to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.
Sixth Day. The light of God surrounds me so completely that I see clearly His salvation.
Seventh Day. With silent assurance that God is all-powerful, I rest securely in His loving care.
- Just a Minute
- Seek God in the Silence
- Patience Is a Winner
- Will You Help to Restore Peace?
Section 11: Our Thought MessengersThe Spirit of the Lord goes before me making safe, happy, and successful my way. (To be used when starting on a trip)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. I create good in my life and in my affairs by thinking good thoughts about others.
Second Day. I cannot afford to think unhappy thoughts about other persons and about my affairs, because such thoughts are seed that bear fruit after their kind. Therefore, I will plant only good seed by thinking only good thoughts.
Third Day. As I forgive those who seem to be my enemies I fill my soul with joyous friendship.
Fourth Day. I agree with the Christ Spirit, which. I know, abides in everybody.
Fifth Day. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my mind be in accord with the Christ standard.
Sixth Day. I am blessed by every kind thought that I think about myself and other persons.
Seventh Day. The Christ Mind in me is my hope of glory.
- You are a King
- What of Today?
- Thought Control
- The Little Foxes
- How to Master Self-Consciousness
- God Has a Wonderful Plan for You
Section 12: Health Is YoursI am Spirit, Spirit cannot be sick. (To be used when somebody remarks that you are not looking well)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. Because my body is a temple of the living God I am keeping it holy to His name.
Second Day. I am thankful because God’s life, substance, and intelligence are sustaining and glorifying my body.
Third Day. My heart is right with God.
Fourth Day. Every day I rededicate my body to God’s service.
Fifth Day. God is my life, and because His life is abundant my life is abundant.
Sixth Day. The substance of my body is not subject to sin and disease, because it is an expression of divine substance.
Seventh Day. I bless my body and lift it up in my esteem because it is a temple of the living God.
- Healing the Body
- Curing Colds
- You and Your Body
Section 13: Getting Along with OthersThe Christ in me greets the Christ in you. (To be used as a silent salutation)
A PRAYER DRILL
First Day. As I practice loving God with all my heart, soul, and strength I am better able to see Him in other persons.
Second Day. Seeing the Christ in other persons helps me to become stronger in Christ, and it also helps them to find Christ in themselves.
Third Day. Because a man becomes like that which he sees with his mind’s eye, I am resolved to practice seeing Christ in all persons, that I may become more Christlike.
Fourth Day. In spirit and in truth all men spring from God’s perfect-man idea. We all therefore live, move, and have our being in God, and there is no cause for disagreement among us.
Fifth Day. My neighbor is Christ, who lives in even “the least of these.” When I am kind to anyone I am kind to Christ.
Sixth Day. My worldly affairs become orderly and harmonious as I co-operate with Christ in all persons with whom I have dealings.
Seventh Day. Because all people are members of the spiritual body of Christ I serve Him best when I work together with others in love and harmony.
- Our New Neighbors
- Getting Even
- How to Overcome Your Enemies
- The Last Straw
Section 14: The Lord's PrayerA PRAYER DRILL
First Day. Dear Father-God, I love You with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Second Day. My loving Father guides and prospers me because He loves me and I love Him.
Third Day. I need never be afraid of anything, because my loving Father-God is always with me. His gracious love is able to help me safely through every trial.
Fourth Day. When I am with the Father He is with me.
Fifth Day. My Father is rich in houses and lands, but best of all, He is also rich in loving-kindness, forgiveness, joy, peace, and understanding.
Sixth Day. All that the Father has is mine, and all that I have is the Father’s.
Seventh Day. My Father speaks words of life, joy, peace, courage, and love to me when I go to the secret place of the Most High in my body temple and listen to His still small voice.
- Our Father
- Who Art in Heaven
- Hallowed Be Thy Name
- Thy Kingdom Come
- Thy Will Be Done
- In Earth as It Is in Heaven
- Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
- Forgive Us Our Debts
- As We Forgive Our Debtors
- Leave Us Not in Temptation
- But Deliver Us from Evil
“Remember to smile.
“Remember to say a good word.
“Remember to remember only the good.”
These are the opening words of a column that appeared for the first time in the March 12, 1910, issue of a magazine that was then only a few months old.
The name of the magazine is Weekly Unity.
The name of the column is “Things to Be Remembered.”
The name of the writer is Lowell Page Fillmore.
Since then, week in, week out, continuously, never missing a single issue, Lowell Fillmore has written almost three thousand “Remembers.” But those opening words of that first column are still the basis—as they were the basis then—of the life of this man who, in this diamond-jubilee year of Unity, at eighty-two, is president and manager of Unity School of Christianity.
If you ransacked all the dictionaries for words to describe Lowell Fillmore, you could find none more fitting than those he himself chose so long ago. For if today you encountered this twinkle-evcd man—writing at his desk in the big front office room of the Administration Building at Unity Village, or going from table to table at lunchtime in Unity Inn to exchange greetings with his fellow workers, or speaking in a Unity center where he has come to dedicate a building, or presiding at a board meeting that he has called to decide Unity’s course, or planting new varieties of plants in his garden—you would probably find him smiling. Even more certainly, you would find him trying to get those around him to smile.
And if you asked his friends and fellow workers to describe him with a single word, I believe the word every one of them would think of first is good—and they might add, “He has a good word for everyone.”
Lowell Fillmore wrote his first “Remember” more than half a century ago. But that is not when he began to work for Unity. When he began to work for Unity, he almost cannot remember.
Lowell Fillmore was born January 4, 1882, in Pueblo, Colorado. The year usually given as the start of Unity is 1889, when Charles and Myrtle Fillmore brought out the first issue of Modern Thought, a name they shortly changed to Unity. This year, 1964, marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of that event.
It was in 1886 in Kansas City, where the Fillmores had moved two years before, that his mother went to a lecture by Dr. E. B. Weeks. There she had the realization, “I am a child of God and therefore I do not inherit sickness,” that was to heal her body, electrify her thought, and transform her life. Lowell was barely four years old.
From that moment on, the life of Lowell Fillmore— along with the lives of how many millions of other people! —was never to be the same again. From that moment on, the life of Lowell Fillmore was to be summed up in one word: “Unity.”
“I was not more than four or five years old,” Lowell has said, “when I remember my mother helping others. The first person I remember was an old Irishman. He lived across the street from us out on Wabash, and he was crippled and had to walk on crutches.
“This was just shortly after Mother had been healed and had begun helping her neighbors- I remember one of the early ones healed through her was our colored laundress, who had asthma. Anyhow, this Irishman, whose name was Caskey, came to Mother. She would tell him to put his crutches down and walk, and he would say, ‘How do I know I can walk?’ But Mother would keep working with him until he finally put down his crutches and walked across the room. When I saw him several years later, he was driving an express wagon, and he jumped down off it and shook my hand. He was just like a young fellow.”
While Lowell was still in grade school, he would go down to the rooms in the Hall Building on Saturdays and help wrap the magazines. His father would pay him ten cents for this.
His mother would read to him the stories she was writing for Wee Wisdom. Sometimes Lowell would tell her, “Boys don’t say it that way,” but when she had finished the stories, he cried out to her, “O Mama, please write more, nobody can tell it like Aunt Joy or write like Trixie.”
Almost his earliest memories are of meetings he attended, led by his father on the fifth floor of the Hall Building in downtown Kansas City. He and his younger brother “Rick”—Waldo Rickert Fillmore, born in 1884—loved to hang out of the window and stare down at the people far below and at the cable cars that crawled up and down the steep hill. To the meetings would come, Lowell has said, “bearded metaphysicians with heavy golden watch chains across their fancy vests, and women in huge flowered hats, who sometimes came to listen to Father and sometimes to speak themselves.”
Sometimes in those early years, the family did not have much money. “We wore shiny clothes,” Lowell has said, “but we got by.” It was not only their clothes that shone, it was their faces and their spirits. Life glowed, if not with money, with the golden coin of laughter.
When he finished high school, Lowell went to work for Unity at five dollars a week, which, he said, “I considered a tremendous sum of money.”
By the time he was in his teens, he was helping on Sundays by teaching Sunday school. “I had about ten students,’ he said. They were almost as old as I was.”
When Unity moved into a rented house on McGee Street, a small job press was set up in the kitchen. This, said Lowell, “I used to run. When I worked in the evenings and wanted to clean the press, I would have to turn out the gas lights and do it in the dark, so that the gasoline I used would not cause an explosion. We couldn’t have a fire in the stove for the same reason. Sometimes in the winter it got pretty cold.”
When the work was in the house on McGee Street, Lowell recalls: “Many things that I did as a part of the daily routine and that took me just a few minutes to do alone constitute whole departments now. I ran the job press, printed the envelopes and stationery, and helped write the letters. When the type was taken from our office, I would help load up the forms, take them to a commercial pressroom—not ours—and help unload them; then after the magazines were printed I would help mail them.
“We would buy wrapping paper in big sheets, and had a cutter in the back room. I would cut the wrappers to the proper length, fasten them to the desk with a clamp, and then address them with the Dick mailer.
“We hung copies of this mailing list upstairs on a closet door, and that was our subscription and ‘look-up’ department. Every time we got a new subscription we would write the name on the bottom of the list.”
At that time Lessons in Truth was not a book, but a set ot pamphlets. It was one of Lowell’s jobs to sew the backs on these pamphlets with yarn of various colors, tying a bow in the middle.
“I was also the order-filling department. I often found that we were out of some of our books, which had been printed but not yet folded or bound. So I would go and get the printed sheets of paper, fold them by hand, get them ready, and stitch them and trim them. We kept our finished stock in the office in the front room; the printed pages, covers, binding materials, and other things in the pantry of the old house. I would wrap and stamp the books and take them to the post office. Often my brother Rick would take them in his pony cart. We had time out to mow the lawn and run errands.”
The typewriter was a recent invention. Lowell learned the touch system. Also he learned shorthand, and occasionally took down the lectures his father gave.
For many years there were few to do the many chores that had to be done. But there was always one whom Charles and Myrtle Fillmore could depend on to put his mind—and his shoulder, if need be—to any chore, no matter how arduous or irksome it might seem.
Often Lowell felt ill-prepared to do the things that were asked of him. But he knew that usually there was no one else to do them except him. So he did them.
One day, when the man who had been managing the business office left, his father called him in and told him, “Lowell, you are going to have to be the businessman.”
A lad in his early twenties, self-effacing, timid, shy about meeting people, he suddenly found himself thrust into a position where he was going to have to make decisions, meet people constantly, take a large measure of responsibility, and give orders.
“At first I thought I couldn’t do it,” he said. “But Father told me I was the only one available, and I knew I always had recourse to prayer. So I went ahead.”
Go ahead he did—and Unity went ahead with him. W hen the Unity Society of Practical Christianity was organized, he was on the first board of directors—and he still is on the board of directors. He taught in the Sunday school, served as superintendent, helped his parents with the Sunday service.
When a new magazine, Weekly Unity, was brought out in 1909, he was the first editor—and he has been the editor continuously since it started. In 1910 he began to write his “Remembers.” He has written one every week since—and he still is writing them. He has written three books of articles and a little booklet of verse.
When in 1910 the building was erected at 917 Tracy Avenue that was to be the home of Unity School for the next forty years, his was a principal hand in its planning. When the work was moved to Unity Village, he was one of the leaders in that move, too. In 1933 when his father, in order to travel and write, began to relinquish active command of Unity, it was to Lowell Fillmore that he gave the reins. And when Charles Fillmore passed on in 1948 (Lowell was at his father’s bedside), Lowell Fillmore became president of Unity School of Christianity.
Unity and Lowell Fillmore have had not two lives, but one. To serve God, to serve good—this has been his reason for being. There has been no job too small for him to apply his energy to; there has been no job too large for him to undertake.
Ask him what he does, and he answers: “I don’t do anything. The rest of the people do the work around here.”
This man who “does not do anything” comes to work early each Monday morning, usually getting to his desk before 7:30 a.m. He leaves in the evening long after the ordinary time for quitting, which is 5 p.m.
Through the week, when he does not have someone at his desk, he is busy with the voluminous correspondence he carries on with many famous and near-famous people throughout the world. He tries to read and answer personally the letters of all persons who have been Unity students for twenty years or longer. Also, he has his weekly “Remember” to write. Sometimes he writes out this column by hand; sometimes he dictates it and then rewrites his first rendition.
The first thing every Monday morning he conducts a meeting, during which he delivers a twenty-minute speech and leads the Unity workers in their Daily Word meditation.
Speaking has never come easy for Lowell, but like his father, he has gone on lecture tours and has dedicated Unity centers in many places.
He rarely leaves Unity School, however. “I don’t need a vacation,” Lowell says. “My vocation is my vacation.”
Retta Chilcott, who has worked at his side for fifty years and is Unity’s office manager, says, “I never remember Lowell staying home, not even for half a day.”
A big man, he has always had extraordinary vigor. He is rarely seen walking upstairs—he runs up them two steps at a time. A friend told me that many years ago when they all lived together at Unity Farm, Lowell would take off his shoes and stockings and run barefoot in the winter snow just out of exhilaration, out of the joy of being alive.
Lowell lives with his wife in a tranquil, hillside house in Unity Village. On February 14, 1926—Valentine’s Day—Lowell married Alice Lee, who had worked at Unity School for several years. They had no children, but shortly after their marriage, they took into their home Lowell’s niece Frances (the daughter of his youngest brother Royal, who passed on in 1923). Frances made her home with Alice and Lowell until she graduated from college. She is now Mrs. Robert Lakin, and has three children.
At his home, Lowell engages in the only interest outside of Unity that he has ever had. Lowell is a gardener.
When he was a boy, he filled his parents’ yard with flowers. He built a greenhouse there where he could grow plants.
Today, at eighty-two, he cares for an acre of plants. There are few varieties of flowers or vegetables that at some time or other he has not grown.
Lowell Fillmore is one of the easiest men in the world to meet. He does not even have a private office. Dressed in neat but plain clothing, he sits at a desk in a corner of a large room on the ground floor of the Unity Administration Building, to the right of the main entrance. Behind him are banks of books. Alongside him are filing cabinets. On top of one of these he has a collection of tiny figurines and animal figures that people have sent him from all parts of the globe. Any visitor can walk freely up to Lowell’s desk and introduce himself. To all of them he is simply “Lowell.” Few workers ever address him in any other way.
Unassuming, free, thoughtful of others, ready to exchange the latest funny story or to discuss some profound metaphysical theme as the occasion demands, Lowell Fillmore is “just folks.”
Almost every day he eats lunch with other workers in Unity Inn. From childhood he has been a strict vegetarian, but he has never insisted that anyone else be. In the Inn he may join any worker beside whom there is an empty seat. It is not unusual for the newest worker at Unity to hear someone ask, “Do you mind if I eat with you?” When he looks up, that someone is the president of Unity School.
Unity Inn is a cafeteria. Lowell Fillmore takes his place in the line like any one of the workers; after lunch, he carries back his tray of dishes. Then he usually goes from table to table, usually with a new joke to tell.
Where there is laughter, there Lowell is likely to be. “Remember to smile,” he wrote, and this is a smiling man His speeches tingle with jokes, quips, and puns. “The pun,” he once said, “is the Lowell-est form of humor.”
Unity believes that when joy is put back into religion, there will be more religion in the world. Lowell has done his best to put joy into his religion.
In the early 1900’s when the first Unity youth group was organized, it was called the “Joyful Circle.” Lowell was one of its first members. For many years he took charge of all Unity picnics and parties, and Unity has put on few entertainments where the name of Lowell Fillmore has not appeared among the list of characters.
End man in a minstrel show, washerwoman singing Irish songs, schoolteacher, schoolboy, preacher, scarecrow, Harry Lauder singing Scotch ballads—Lowell has been all of these and scores of other characters.
Two years ago at the annual banquet for Unity center leaders, Lowell, with a pillow stuffed in his patched trousers, stole the show as Charlie Weaver. The performance was such good fun that he was asked to repeat it at Christmas for the Unity workers.
Christmas is a joyous time at Unity headquarters. Every year it reaches its climax when Lowell dons the familiar red suit and white beard of Santa Claus and goes among the hundreds of workers at Unity School to shake the hand of every one of them and give each one a special blessing. Lowell insists on greeting each one personally. “These are the hands that do the work,” he says.
Unity teaches the power of positive thinking. Lowell Fillmore practices it.
“He never agrees with negation,” says Retta Chilcott. “Many times through the years, when some disturbing incident has occurred at the office, when someone has fallen sick or some inharmony has arisen, I have turned to Lowell. I have always found him understanding of people and their needs, but I have always found him standing firm on his faith.”
This he has done for himself, too. A few years ago Lowell caught his hand in an electric fan. When friends took him to a doctor, the doctor wanted to cut off one of his fingers which had been almost completely severed. “No,” Lowell said firmly. “Put the finger back.” Today the hand is completely whole.
When Lowell is called on to help with a problem, he becomes very still, his face a concentration in tranquillity. He folds his hands in front of him, and there they rest, motionless. To see him is to know that here is a man who through a long life has practiced the art of meditation, whose first thought is always one of going to God.
Take a problem to Lowell Fillmore, and you may find the answer to your problem not in anything he says, but in the man himself. Instead of going into the negative details of your problem, he is likely to get you to looking at the new figurines someone has sent him. Or he may talk to you about the flowers he is raising. Or he may show you some unusual vegetable he has brought to the office. After a while, you may find that his undisturbed detachment has transferred itself to you.
“Minimize the problem; magnify the Lord,” he has said.
This is a man of great faith.
Retta Chilcott tells how “When the work on the building at 917 Tracy started, we did not have any funds on hand for the purpose; but we started to put up the building, and through faith and prayer we demonstrated enough funds each week to meet our bills and our payroll, which we took care of each Saturday. Sometimes even as late as Saturday morning Lowell Fillmore would come to our desks and remind us that we had the payroll and bills for material to meet that day and that we needed more funds. ‘We must pray about it,’ he would say. So far as I know it was not necessary for us to borrow money at a bank or anywhere else to meet those obligations.”
When it was decided to build Unity Temple in Kansas City, Lowell Fillmore was chosen to head the building committee. A lot was purchased at 47th and Jefferson where the Temple is now located. Then came World War II, which halted all plans. When the war ended, the project went forward again. The excavation was dug and the foundation poured.
It had been expected that the Temple would cost perhaps as much as $600,000, and this seemed a huge sum to everyone.
Then one Friday night in 1946, an official for the construction company appeared before the committee. “This Temple will not cost $600,000,” he told them. “It will cost at least $1,000,000.”
Silent consternation fell over the group. For several minutes, as each person tried to absorb the full meaning of this shattering announcement, no one uttered a syllable. The sum of $600,000 had seemed a huge amount to undertake to raise. Now $1,000,000!
Slowly all eyes turned toward Lowell Fillmore, the chairman of the committee. He had been sitting quietly with his eyes closed, as is his custom. Now he opened his eyes, looked at the group, and spoke these words: “We shall go ahead!”
A few minutes later the meeting adjourned and the group filed out. But ringing in the minds of all of them were the firm words of faith: “We shall go ahead!” Go ahead they did. The Temple was built. It was paid for.
In his first days at Unity, Charles Fillmore had told his son, “You are to be the businessman.” When Lowell was a boy, it was up to him to keep the financial records and bank accounts; he signed the checks. Before he became president of Unity School, he was treasurer. He is a practical man—he originated the Prosperity Bank, one of the most helpful and popular ideas conceived at Unity—but he has run Unity’s business in a way that few businessmen might recognize as businesslike.
Barney Ricketts, present treasurer of Unity School and head of the Accounting Department for thirty-five years, says of Lowell Fillmore, “He comes nearer to living up to what he sees to be the Truth than anyone I know.”
Unity gives away tremendous quantities of literature. It sends thousands of pieces of literature to hospitals, prisons, and other institutions. It publishes in Braille for the blind. In fact, it gives its magazines and books to anyone who says he cannot afford to pay for them.
“The Lord will take care of His workers,” Lowell has said, “if His workers just take care of His work.”
Though almost no money comes to Unity from foreign countries, Lowell has kept the literature flowing freely into them.
He originated a Spanish-language magazine. He promoted publication of Daily Word in the many languages in which it is now printed. He has encouraged the translation of books and pamphlets. He has personally carried on a correspondence with interested persons in dozens of countries. He has even studied Spanish.
Among his proudest possessions are two beautifully hand-bound books. They contain his “Remembers,” all carefully typed—in English on one page, in Spanish on the opposite page. A woman teacher in Mexico City made the books and used them as a means of teaching English.
Today scores of thousands of persons in strange and far-off places—in the bush country of Nigeria, in Finland, in the islands of the Caribbean Sea, in the countries of Latin America, in India and Japan, in Germany and Italy and France, and many other places—receive the Unity message because of the faith of Lowell Fillmore.
If you want to get Lowell to do something,” Barney Ricketts has said, “you don’t tell him how much it will cost or how much money it will bring in; you tell him how much good it is going to do. In all the years I have worked with him, I have never seen Lowell make a decision on any other basis than that of service. How many people will it bless? This is the question he asks.”
He takes the same attitude toward Unity’s workers that he takes toward Unity’s finances. When a change is suggested in the work, his first question is likely to be, “Can this be done without hurting anyone?”
Those who work close to him say that when you have to tell him unhappy things about a worker, he never agrees with you. He is kind in the estimates he makes of people. He looks for the good in them.
As God’s businessman conducting God’s business, Lowell Fillmore has been co-ordinator of the practical and the spiritual activities of Unity for more than thirty years. During this period of his direction, Unity has made tremendous growth. The work has moved from its old headquarters on Tracy Avenue to the beautiful setting and buildings at Unity Village. The circulation of the magazines has more than doubled. Unity has entered the fields of radio and television—today more than seventy stations carry the Unity Viewpoint radio program; another seventy stations carry the Daily Word television program. Where thirty years ago there were only a handful of Unity centers, today there are almost three hundred. Where there was almost no foreign work at all, today Unity is spreading rapidly around the world.
Lowell Fillmore has proved that gentle goodness is also good business.
There is a legend told about a saint. He was such a good man that an angel came to him and told him God would grant any wish he asked. The saint said, “Whenever my shadow falls behind me as I walk, may whatever it falls on be blessed.”
When I was asked to write about Lowell Fillmore, I talked with many people who had been associated with him in the Unity work. I was trying to find stories about Lowell as a person. But after a time I discovered an interesting thing. Instead of telling me stories about Lowell, these people were soon telling me stories about themselves—about the effect that Lowell Fillmore had had on their lives, about how Lowell’s devotion to principle, Lowell’s simplicity, Lowell’s modesty, Lowell’s goodness had influenced them to be the kind of persons they were and to do the work they had done for Unity.
When people think of Lowell Fillmore, they do not think of shining anecdotes and glittering personal exploits; they think only of the influence he has (quietly, impersonally, subtly as if it were his shadow) cast on their lives.
Once Lowell Fillmore said to a friend: “If anyone gets to thinking he is great, let him go down to the water’s edge and thrust his hand into the water. Then let him pull his hand out again, and see how much of an impression he leaves.”
Lowell Fillmore is like water. Ask me to tell what water is like and all that I can say is that it quenches my thirst.
More than fifty-four years ago, Lowell Fillmore wrote his first “Things to Be Remembered.” He wrote:
“Remember to smile.
“Remember to say a good word.
“Remember to remember only the good.”
Of Lowell Fillmore, it is enough to say, “He has remembered.”
—James Dillet Freeman