Audio version read by Rev. Steven Lane Taylor, B.Msc. – Principles of Successful Prayer
Prayer can be successful if the principle underlying its practice is understood. Most people believe in the power of prayer. Thus, you could say that most people believe in a God or the agents of God—such as angels or minor deities—to make their prayers a reality.
When thinking of prayer, most people think of formalized prayer, such as when a person retreats alone, clasps their hands, or looks upward and begins asking. The truth is that people are praying all the time, for all thought is prayer.
The more specific thoughts about yourself or your life are held in your mind, the more they become a reality in your mind, thus energizing them into the same type of prayer as formalized, concentrated prayer. If you understand the principle described here, you will recognize that daily thinking is prayer.
The more you think about something, the more it becomes an inner part of you. It is a spiritual principle that one’s outer life is generally a reflection of one’s inner life. Jesus once said, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” By constant repetition in one’s thinking, you become those thoughts within your heart of hearts or the deepest recesses of consciousness within you. Therefore, the most important point to consider regarding praying successfully is being certain that your daily thinking is in accord or in harmony with what you are praying for.
As an example, if you have been experiencing ill health, you may have come to think of yourself over a period of time as a sickly person. Consciously or unconsciously, you carry the sickly person image around with you in your mind, twenty-four hours a day. This has become your daily prayer, whether you consciously realize it or not. It is as if every day, your thought-prayer affirms before God that you are a sickly person.
Whether you are aware of it or not, if this is going on daily, consider that when you take only a few minutes every now and then to pray for good health and healing, that prayer goes up against a sick-programming that has been your thought-prayer every day for twenty-four hours a day! It should be obvious, then, that if any form of prayer is to be successful you must first change your daily thinking to correspond with the positivity of your found-prayer times.
The more positive people are in their attitude and outlook about themselves and life in general, the more successful prayer will be. This is indeed what might be called the very first principle of prayer, because formal prayer is neutralized to a large extent without it. Positivity creates fertile mental soil through which God can work and bring successful results to your prayer.
Meditation, in essence, is wordless prayer. In its highest state, meditation is a union between the human mind and the Divine Mind of God. There is no need to communicate the needs of your prayer in words. Jesus attempted to explain this divine closeness to God when he said, “Your Father knoweth what you have need of before you ask.”
If a person has this inner closeness with God as a result of daily mental contact, formal prayer takes on an entirely different significance. Formal prayer, or prayer with the use of words, becomes not an asking by the conscious human level of the mind, but rather an agreement or attunement of one’s consciousness to the Will of God. This means that because of God’s great influence over your human consciousness as a result of meditational union, it is God that creates the prayer or the words that you use in your prayer.
It should be apparent that the great principle of successful prayer is regular meditation, preferably daily. To the truly spiritual person, meditation is as necessary as food, water, and the other vital necessities of life. Those who meditate on a daily basis are far more likely to pray successfully, because their prayers come from God, rather than from their human consciousness. Remember, God knows what you really have need of before you ask—“really” meaning that which is in accord with your soul’s purpose for this lifetime, which is what is best for you in the overall view and destiny of your life.
Reflect for a few moments on the fact that the same Presence that created the stars, planets, galaxies, and life forms is the power that is activated during real prayer, or the prayer placed in your mind by God. By taking time to contemplate the enormity of the power that is present to make your prayer a reality in the physical world, you increase the energy of faith in you, which mystics feel is identical to the Presence of God.
Remember the words of Jesus, “According to your faith, be it unto you.” In other words, to the degree that you are filled with faith is the degree that God’s Presence is active in manifesting your prayer.
Dr. Paul Leon Masters
Text taken from Dr. Paul Leon Masters’ “The Theocentric Way of Life,” Volume 3: Module 20.
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Intro and ending music © “Night Radiance” by Maxim Kornyshev