A good friend started taking Science of Mind classes. She wanted to make some changes, including a happy new marriage. After a few classes, she went shopping and purchased a beautiful wedding gown. She wasn’t dating anyone, but she prayed daily and thanked God for her great marriage daily. She knew it was a “done deal”. Soon after her dress purchase, she met her perfect right husband. They’ve lived happily ever after (more than twenty years and counting) .
One of the most unusual things about affirmative prayer is that we don’t wish, dream or beg, we know. Our prayers close when we give thanks to God for doing the work. We know it works.
That’s what makes our prayer different. We never plead, we simply claim our Divine Inheritance. We speak our word, and give our claim to God, knowing that God does the work.
We pray this way because we know that we are living in God and that our minds are connected to God’s mind. God says yes to any life-affirming goal that we can imagine, believe and accept.
Our job is to imagine, believe and accept our goal both with our minds and our emotions. We realize it is already done in the mind of God. At that point, God, which is Infinite Love, acting through Spiritual Law, must bring it into form or being. It comes into what we sometimes call the “real” world.
In our beginning Science of Mind classes, we learn that God is always saying yes to our prevailing belief system. So prayer is a message to God, and God is Infinite Power, Infinite Possibility and Infinite Love. What’s more, Infinite Mind must say yes when we have thoroughly imagined, believed and accepted it. That’s how the Creative Principle works. It’s the Law!
My friend bought her dress because she believed and she got what she expected. Next time you do a prayer, ask yourself if you really believe it. If not, spend a few more minutes. Even if it takes more than one prayer, aim for total trust. Keep doing the prayer work until you see results. Sometimes there is more to be known and released before you get to the point of total belief.
About twenty years ago, another friend called me for prayer to find a new job in the big city. She’d been praying and nothing had worked so she called me. I asked her if her bags were packed. Later, when she became a Religious Minister minister, it became her favorite story and talk. The title was, “Are your bags packed? Seems she literally packed her bags after my question. Next day, the phone rang with a job offer.
The trick to effective prayer is developing a level of trust in the prayer process that enables you to move right along in the direction of your dreams. We call that opening our consciousness. Sometimes we need to begin by praying for clarity and to deepen our trust before we can budge those old beliefs.
Once we learn the basics, it’s easy to unerstand why some prayers are more effective than others. Even if we always use the same procedure, our level of belief and acceptance is quite different in different areas of our life. Some people find it easy to believe that prayer works in relationships and difficult in health or creativity. They think health is physical and “real” Or they think only “talented” people can write or sing or paint. Others discover they have layers of negative beliefs around prosperity. The idea that money issues can be resolved by affirmative prayer seems OK to one person and nonsense to another.
It is important to have a daily spiritual practice that includes prayer and reading. Classes are also very important. Your spirit practice deepens your belief in the power of affirmtive prayer and helps you release beliefs that stand in the way of success. The need for a good spiritual practice is always there. Long after you are in total agreement intellectually, you will discover some “emotional” resistance if you are honest.
If you pray for a specific issue and get nowhere for a while, consider working with a New Thought minister, counselor or practitioner. That person can help you sort out your beliefs and help you plan to release them.
If you want to try working alone, here’s one way. List the beliefs that you suspect are standing in your way. Look at what you heard about money or love in your childhood. Some beliefs, like taking your doctor as the ultimate authority or believing it is impossible to prosper in a negative economy are easy to spot. You can begin to pray to release the sabotaging negatives. You can also draw a line through your list of harmful beliefs and write affirmations as replacements.
Perhaps you need to begin by praying to be willing to release the old beliefs. Or pray for a deeper conviction of spiritual law. Don’t be afraid to start at the beginning. Be honest. There is no shame in learning something new. I used to believe I could not lose weight because I could not stay on a consistent food plan. I prayed to lose weight and discovered that I was speaking about my failure often.
I stopped saying, “I can’t”. in conversation. I didn’t talk about my weight but I prayed to lose weight. I knew my prayer was being answered when my intuition told me to work on self love. I kept praying and, one fine day, I stopped binge eating. I also stopped ordering small amounts in public because I wasn’t fooling anyone. This was all a part of my self-love, releasing shame, and self-acceptance plan.
I also began to bless the fat people I saw. I stood nude in front of the mirror and blessed myself and said, “I love you.” One fine day, my intuition kicked in again and I decided since I hated diets, I would eat what I wanted and aim for healthy foods. I kept track and aimed for 1200 calories. If I went over, I made new choices tomorrow.
This is not weight loss advice. This is an example of how prayer helped me with a problem that began in the 7th grade. It was a deep seated issue and it took a long time to see results. I eventually released 110 pounds and I also released a carload of old ideas about self-worth. It took several years and I’ve kept it off for over three years. I’m not thin but I’m out of the doctor’s DANGER box on the chart.
Learning to pray effectively is all about learning to pay attention to what you are thinking and believing and learning to trust that this teaching works. When we get to the place where we can trust enough to thank God in advance and totally believe it, then life it smoother sailing. And, if we use affirmative prayer and pay attention to our prevailing belief system, we can all get there.
Do you have goals to reach?
Do you believe prayer is powerful enough to help you?
Is it time for classes? Books? Practitioner help?
What will be your first step?
My blog readership is growing. That’s good! I have a goal I know I will reach because I am writing in integrity, love and joy. However, I sometimes think of “get popular quick schemes” and that means I’m pushing the river again. Addiction happens in peculiar ways!
No matter how much one loves a project, the joy will disappear when racing to an arbitrary goal becomes more important than the process itself. The whole point of this blog was to create something in freedom and offer it to anyone who wanted it. It is supposed to be fun.
So what does that have to do with counting numbers? I’m not working on commission or earning brownie points to get into heaven. Once again, I am reminding myself to let go and let God. I don’t ever need to struggle.
After all these years, I know myself pretty well and I know that one part of my personality part is accustomed and addicted to struggle. I call her “The Strider”. She says, “Not enough” or “It should be better,” quite often. The Strider can squeeze the fun out of any project if I am not aware of her tricks.
It is easy to slip into old ways if I am not watching. I struggled to get through college. I struggled to build a writing career. I struggled with alcohol and food and in many other things when I was younger. Truth is, I can use any goal as a piece of torture equipment if I’m not careful.
I have learned a lot about addiction and I have learned to watch out for the symptoms. Writing, for me, is particularly addictive, but I need to remember that I undertook this blog as a service to others and as a retirement hobby. In this moment, I release the need to count readers and I simply return to writing for fun. I don’t have to prove anything.
I am not alone. Work addiction of one sort or another happens to wonderful people. It sneaks up on you, even in your retirement years. In fact, so many ministers “fail retirement” that is kind of a joke.
Addictive personalities will push themselves at work, at home, on the road or in the studio. I have a good friend who was practicing yoga at age 65. She was a marvel. She could do so much, so easily, that she constantly amazed us all. We were all proud of her and she never seemed to show off or be ego driven about her expertise. She did, however, really want to stand on her head. We prayed for that in church. When she got so she could do that well, she upped the ante and wanted to stand on her head longer. One day her guru advised her, “Take the ambition out of your practice.”
When she shared that story with me, I thought, “I should take that advice myself.” Of course, I failed exercise class in the 7th grade and it didn’t bother me. I can’t bend over too well and I certainly don’t plan to stand on my head ever – at least in this lifetime. However, I do try to remember and take her teacher’s excellent advice. I do not want to be a slave to ambition. Do you?
We all know people who seem to be in a frenzy about how they are using their time and what they are or are not accomplishing. The idea of living in a frenzy doesn’t appeal to me. Does it appeal to you? Does the idea of taking the ambition out of your pursuits appeal to you? Sounds good to me.
Of course, ambition can be fine as long as we are making decisions that create a healthy, well-balanced life. But if you feel as though you are struggling to get it all done, you may want to make changes. One of the greatest gifts of our Religious Science teaching is knowing we always have a choice.
The question of how hard to work is one that touches all of us at some time or another. In our youth, our ambition may get us where we think we want to go but if we don’t balance it with loving connections to others, we become unhappy and distorted.
In our middle years, ambition takes many forms including working hard to persuade others, to train our children into our beliefs and to forge ahead in the workplace. Again, we get out of balance if we don’t take care of our bodies and our spiritual lives.
Retirement years are the biggest temptation for many of us. We have choices about how to spend our time and can very well end up staying so busy we neglect our spiritual practice and our bodies and minds. Inaction leads to disuse. Too much action leads to fatigue.
Throughout our lives, we face many questions about our goals and exactly how ambitious we should be. Should I persevere? Should I delay gratification until I get my goal? Should I pile up more money for the future? Should I keep exercising until I “feel the burn”? Should I stay in the marriage and find some way to make it work?
When you look at life’s big questions in the framework of whether or not to live for today or tomorrow, it seems as though life really is an art or dance. We each have to find our own balance. We have to make our own decisions. We have to decide how much energy to put into this or that project.
I talk to people all the time who are in a quandary about how to spend their time and money. I try to help them see they are always at choice, one way or another. There is always something we can choose to do and since balance is constant movement, there is always a need for adjustment.
Making new choices is easier than it looks. We can choose whatever is the apparent step in this moment to move us in the direction of our dreams and let God do the rest. We don’t need to torture ourselves with the past or try to control the future. We just move ahead a step at a time and enjoy life. We can feel good about what we are doing because God is good all the time.
When I get out of balance and start rushing, I remind myself to release the ambition and enjoy the process. The future will take care of itself. I have learned to envision a goal and believe in it and then give it to God to do the work. It is not necessary to struggle or worry about making it happen.
As of now, I am back in balance. This day I am simply writing what I know and sending it out with love. I know the perfect right readers will find it.
Am I struggling to make something happen?
Do I need a new balance?
What immediate choice am I able to make?
Do I want to release the ambition?
I’m amazed! I thought we won these battles a long time ago, yet I see on the evening news that state after state is closing in on women’s freedom to choose. A woman should have a choice about what to do with her own body. Is this a time warp and it is 1960?…Otherwise there is no excuse for this nonsense.
For a while, I was a home teacher and one of my students was a shy, lovely young woman who had been told she couldn’t come to school because she was pregnant and might “contaminate” other girls.
She got caught in an unwanted pregnancy and chose to carry the child to full term. No matter what her choices were after the child was born, this was a setback for her and her life plans. It was a long time ago.
We all face setbacks in life and she had the intelligence to manage better than most unwed mothers. If it was her decision to keep her child, she was headed toward poverty, according to the statistics. If she chose to have her child adopted, that was fine although there could be psychological issues. She had some difficult choices to make.
I didn’t know her well and we didn’t talk personally. She was a good student and I tried to teach her well. I remember I thought it was very unfair to kick her out of school but life was very unfair for women. It’s a sure bet that the baby’s father didn’t have to leave.
Abortions were still not legal and I have no idea if she would have wanted one but the point is, she didn’t have a safe choice. Every woman deserves a choice!
That was a long time ago and times have changed. Teens now are usually allowed to finish school and some of the girls are allowed to choose a special school where they also get parenting classes.
I wrote a book called Young Parents once and I learned from the research. If the girls choose to keep their kids, they were statistically doomed to poverty for the remainder of their lives. Of course there are exceptions but most teen parents struggle for years. Almost none have a baby’s father who stays in the picture.
When I taught high school, back in the Sixties, I heard kids say you couldn’t get pregnant the first time. Some of those kids also believed that you had to “really enjoy it” before you could get pregnant.
Those kids were sixteen years old and it was more than fifty years ago. United States Congressmen and State Representatives are a long way from high school. Some of them spouted ideas on the news that were more nonsensical ideas than any I have ever heard from a teenager.
Why are they really against Planned Parenthood? Why are they attempting to whittle away at abortion clinics? I can’t believe they are motivated by religion or they’d be more religious about helping the children who are already here. I think they must believe that their views will bring them more votes from people who fear change.
These fearful voters are the same ones who are routinely trying to keep poor people from voting. They also want more guns and they are anti-immigration and the list goes on. If dinosaurs ran for office, the change-adverse voters would rush to vote for them. Oops! Dinosaurs do run.
Resistance to change concerns me but I really get hot about the shutting down of abortion centers and the persecution of Planned Parenthood organizations because I have a great long term memory.
In my day, girls were routinely blamed for getting pregnant. We were supposed to know better and understand that boys had “needs” that would drive them to distraction. It was up to us girls, when we went on a date, to keep our wits about us and our knees shut.
During this last election, I heard several political figures spouting the same nonsense. I even heard one candidate claiming that women cannot get pregnant if they are “legitimately” raped. That is probably based on my 1960’s students’ belief that you had to enjoy it before it worked to make babies.
If my news station is to be believed, that is a fairly common belief today. I had never heard that particular canard until recently, but apparently it has been around a long time in the right-to-life circles. Do they old guys still chuckle and say, “If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it?”
All of this is just another alarming sign of the age-old prejudice against women. Whether it is a judge who blames the rape victim because she wear the wrong clothes or the neighbor who blames the teenage girl for going out with that wild boy, it always centers on the idea that it is all her fault.
How about your family? If you have children and grandchildren, what are you teaching them? Do you tell the girls to be careful and the boys to have fun? I hope not.
As a retired Religious Science minister, I’m supposed to look on the positive side and I usually do. The positive side here is that it will all change despite some people’s attempts to block progress. And I’m positively glad to know that New Thought arose, to make progress and accepting women as equals was part of that forward movement.
Many feminists deny all the traditional teachings as being anti-female and patriarchal. Their interest is in ancient teachings featuring goddesses and that is an interesting development. I’m glad they are doing it but I’m happy to see there are other attempts to the nonsense in the dominant religions.
Some people see the Bible as an old fashioned book that promotes men into leadership positions of power. They say blaming the woman is a common theme in the Old Testament.
True – there are a lot of stories about women enticing men to sin, probably because men wrote the book. Whether it is Eve, Delilah or Jezabel, these Biblical characters are nasty ladies. Some of the traditional churches seem to hang on to those attitudes, stating that women cannot be priests or ministers and the man is head of the household.
But most of the traditional churches are moving away from those beliefs based on stories written thousands of years ago. Protestant seminaries are crammed with women studying to be ministers. We are living in more enlightened times.
I don’t worry so much about what the churches say anyway. If someone chooses to believe that sex without a desire to conceive is a sin and not use birth control, that is personal business. It becomes impersonal when freedom of choice for every woman is threatened.
I think this is a good time to take a good look at the issue of women’s rights in general and check out your own attitudes about sexual behavior. Is it all the woman’s fault in your world?
Do I want to change any of my personal attitudes?
Do I want to investigate this issue?
Do I want to tell my legislators how I feel?
Did you ever go to a party and talk about it with your friends the next day? Did it seem as though it was a different event? One friend loved the party and another hated it. Seems as if everyone wears his own tinted glasses.
The fortunate person who grows up believing she lives in a friendly universe enjoys the party. The one who grew up with critical messages doesn’t have much fun. Same party – different party.
In New Thought we believe every person has a mental atmosphere (consciousness) that constantly sends messages out to Universal Mind. The beliefs return to us as experiences, effects or conditions.
A person who believes the world is a lovely place attracts love. On the other hand, the person who believes it is a scary place will attract trouble. Your beliefs create the good news or the bad news. The very best news of all is that you can change your beliefs.
In the first chapter of the Science of Mind Textbook, the founder of Religious Science, Dr. Ernest Holmes says, “To learn how to think is to learn how to live.” Every Sunday, the speaker in a Center For Positive Living, delivers a talk that includes some version of “Change your thinking and change your life.”
One way or another, if we want a condition to change, we must do something so that our attitude toward the issue changes. In a way that is simple. On the other hand, it is a lifetime work.
While none of us is able to control every bit of our lives, we do need to know that we have a great deal more control than most people used to believe. The first time I heard about our thoughts creating our life experiences, I thought it was nonsense. Those who are growing up now are more familiar with ideas of how positive living can impact our lives.
When I was a teen, Ernest Holmes was just hitting his stride. Oprah wasn’t born. I don’t think I knew anyone who believed we lived in a friendly universe. We had just finished a devastating war and most people were frightened there would be another one. But enough people changed their minds so that the Cold War ended with a fizzle, not a bang.
I knew life wasn’t the movies but I dreamed big dreams. I would someday be thirty-five, live in New York City and be a working girl. The term “working girl” meant something quite different in those days and while my dream job was vague, my dream apartment was quite specific and wonderful with white rugs and two white poodles.
Because I dared to dream and because I worked hard, I did eventually end up in New York City but it wasn’t exactly what I’d dreamed. I shared a rent-controlled apartment with an aging, divorcee. Ah well! I never liked poodles anyway.
It took me a long time to change my mind but I am now happier than I could have dreamed as a child. I now believe that we live in a basically friendly universe. My God is a God of unlimited possibility.
So much of what we believe is from the surrounding culture and we are not even always aware of it. We must learn to be independent thinkers. And we must learn to be aware of what we are thinking and what beliefs we are acting upon. We need to remember the law of cause and effect is always working.
Many years ago, I read a chapter in a self-help book on how spiritual law always responds. The chapter was entitled, You Will Always Get The Raise.
The author told a story about a man who worked hard and had a great attitude, but he was overlooked for the raise he deserved. However, this good worker continued his efforts and he was offered an even better job in a different company.
We don’t always get the pay off in exactly the way we envision because our vision is limited. The Law of Attraction is Infinite Power and Infinite Possibility. We should never despair because we will always get what we think we deserve.
To see how the Law of Attraction works, take a look at repeating patterns in the lives of people you know well. Don’t judge or criticize, just observe. After you have done that, your next step is to look at your own repeating patterns without judgment.
Now look again and find some success stories where things have turned around. Perhaps you or someone else has had several unsuccessful relationships and then established an excellent one. If you look closely, you will probably see that something in the belief system changed first.
It may look like fate or luck but change in patterns is because of changed beliefs. This is true in every area of our lives. Accept that you are loveable and Universal Mind will find a way to return the new love and joy. Accept that you deserve to be acknowledged and you will get the promotion. And so it goes.
You will always get the raise, although it may be in a surprising way and not from that old situation.
The concept that the spiritual law of cause and effect returns your prevailing belief is very different than the rules you learned about being a good little boy or girl. Working with spiritual laws opens people’s lives up to unlimited possibility.
You are truly in a position to prove the phrase, Change your thinking and change your life.” Right now. If you have been around Science of Mind for a while, think back to how you were feeling when you first arrived and compare that to how you feel now. You will discover change for the better.
Even if you are new, you can prove this very quickly. Decide on a goal, and do spiritual work around the issue of belief. Keep records and notes for a month, then check you data. One reason Science of Mind is called science is that it is verifiable.
While you can’t change everything overnight or even in a month, you can test it and observe progress. Even better, practice makes perfect. As you learn that you can change your thinking a bit at a time for the rest of your life, it gets easier.
How do you change your thinking? You may find affirmation cards helpful to carry in your pocket and review several times a day. You should think about taking a class and going to church on Sunday. You can buy my book, Science of Mind Skills, on this website by going to New Thought Works page.
Most of us get a much narrower and tighter view of life as children than we discover for ourselves as we become adults. You can change your mind. You are never stuck. You do have choices.
Even if you encounter resistance breaking out of your early belief system, you can do it. Remind yourself that millions have done it before you. Continue your practice and risk putting some effort into changing your thinking. Remember that all effort will be rewarded. You will always get the raise.
What’s one belief you’ve changed?
What’s one belief you want to change?
What’s one great prevailing belief you have?
I am reading a memoir my friend wrote and I am amazed. She started her life with nothing. She was born in desperate poverty with harrowing early experiences and absolutely no encouragement, yet she changed. My friend is delightful, successful, pretty, funny, and has excellent finances. What gave her the idea she could change?
I taught in the bottom track of a six track school in Trenton, New Jersey in the 1960’s. School was hell for those kids and I had a lot to learn. The kids were tolerant of my ignorance most of the time because I was honest and meant well.
Part of what I learned was that many children grow up in a culture where the TV and shop windows may show wealth but no one they actually know has any money. Nor do they have any hope.
These kids in remedial classes found the schoolwork boring and difficult and they came for the two cent peanut butter & crackers, the warm classrooms and their friend’s companionship. They didn’t come because they believed in the “American Dream.” But once in a while, some kid caught fire and zoomed ahead.
I remember a kid called Billy who gained four grade levels in reading in one semester. He wasn’t faking; he really applied himself and learned to read. It seemed as if he was as hopeless as the others, then suddenly he was working part time and reading books.
Billy told me once he was going to make something of his life and he knew it would cost him. That was back in the Sixties in the early days of the “War on Poverty” and few of us understood how the culture of poverty keeps people down but Billy understood.
Families and friends offer love but they also hold you back. Just about the time you have the money saved for trade school, someone needs it for medicine or food. Or someone steals it, but you can’t turn him in because he’s family.
We have learned much since then and today’s sociologists and educators are more sophisticated. Nevertheless, the question of why some people change remains a mystery. Are people born with luck? Does God reach down in a moment of Grace and lift us up?
There are plenty of dramatic success stories out there. AA rooms are full of them. So are college campuses where scholarship students make it. Our bookshelves are lined with stories from people who “made it” in America. If you dig a little, there seems to always be a component of spiritual awakening in those stories.
New Thought teaches that everyone comes from Spirit and is, at the level of Spirit, perfect, whole and complete. No matter what our circumstances are, God that lives within us, and is pressing to express more of our innate perfection, wholeness and completeness. We awaken when we open to Spirit.
These spiritual ideas have become much more public since the Sixties. The body-mind connection is accepted in medicine. Teachers work hard to inspire students. Oprah has introduced our New Thought ideas to the general public.
Oprah now has her own TV network and one of her hosts, Iyanla Vanzant also has a show. Iyanla’s life, like Oprah’s, inspires us because it demonstrates God’s promise of good when we open up.
Iyanla was born female and black, in the back of a Brooklyn taxicab more than fifty years ago. Her mother died when she was two, she was raped by an uncle when she was nine, and she had three children by the age of 21.
With such a beginning, she might be in jail or a mental institution but she knew she was better than the facts of her life. She fled a violent marriage and survived well enough to earn a law degree and work in the Philadelphia public defender’s office for several years.
At some point she changed her name from Rhonda Hams to Iyanla Vanzant. She chose her name, Iyanla because it meant “Great Mother” in the Yoruba religion. Her name change was a declaration of intention to identify with the great nurturing “mother spirit” of God.
So she had intention and she must have known how to pray because she said, “Prayer changed me.” Please note that she didn’t say, “Prayer changed the facts” but, “Prayer changed me”.
She went on to say, It changed my life from a place of dysfunction and pain to a place of clarity and purpose. It changed me from angry and frightened to full and available. Prayer changed my life.
…When you really fill your heart and your mind with the words of a prayer, the hysteria subsides, and once the hysteria subsides, the mind is clear, and when the mind is clear, you send forth, positive energy into the universe or into the presence of life that’s everywhere.
When the energy of a clear mind goes out and hits the actual living form or living substance, things shift, things are created, things are transformed, and you’re able to see and accept it because you’re praying.
She could be a Religious Science practitioner if she weren’t a Yoruba Priestess, couldn’t she? She said, “Prayer changed me.” She knows that we don’t pray to change God but to open our own consciousness to more and better. She knows that a changed consciousness creates new experiences.
Iyanla’s a perfect example of what life looks like when you release limited belief systems. Of course, she’s a special example because she has many best selling books and a talk show. But prayer works for everyone. When you pray, Spirit will change you as well.
As my student Billy knew, we must give up something to get something better. If we want to change we must we must release the old beliefs so we make room for the new.
Some people go to great lengths to hold onto to what they believe and they say, “Well, God had a special plan for Iyanla (or Billy or Oprah.)” God’s special plan was that she should express Life fully. That is also God’s special plan for you.
Unless we are alert, we will not change. We all live in a kind of culture of poverty when it comes to ideas. Let’s not resist our own good by denying that change is only possible for the lucky. We aren’t stuck. The Great Mother is always loving us, supporting us, and saying yes to our prevailing beliefs. Love works through Law and it works for everyone.
When Hilary Swank accepted her second Oscar, she said, “I’m just a girl from a trailer park” and some cynical people made fun of her. But she really was just a girl from a trailer park who had a clear intention. The facts didn’t matter enough to stop her. She believed in herself enough to come to Hollywood and live in her car until she got a break.
How much do you believe in yourself? Are you ready to let the facts go? Are you ready to release old beliefs that no longer serve you? Are you ready to have the Great Mother say yes to your deepest desires?
What do I want?
What might be my new name?
What n belief am I willing to change ?
Shall I pray to change myself?