How To Live A Prosperous Life
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This is one of a series of Unity books devoted to teaching you how you can make your life better by applying Christian principles. The first Unity book, Lessons in Truth, was published in 1894 and is still in publication. The Unity work itself was established in 1889, when its founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, began to share with others the Truth that had helped them.
Dare to Prosper!
PROSPERITY comes not by chance but in accordance with absolute law. Charles Fillmore has said: "The law of supply is a divine law. This means that it is a law of mind and must work through mind." In other words, the peace, health, and plenty of prosperity must come through prosperous thinking. The mind can be trained to think prosperously in simple, delightful ways, and the results of prosperous thinking are also delightful, practical, and satisfying.
A businessman had had a serious heart condition most of his life. As he began to practice prosperous thinking, he relaxed more and more in mind, body, and affairs. As he began to make his mind work for him in prosperous, healthy, victorious ways, tension disappeared; and after a time his physician stated that the heart condition had been healed. Today this man enjoys the best health of his life.
A lonely, unhappy career woman, who had often threatened suicide, learned about prosperous thinking, and became so fascinated with its practical power that she found new interests outside herself. She developed a new lease on life. The suicide talk stopped, and today she is a transformed individual.
A businessman who drank secretly found that as he began invoking prosperous thinking, he was able to resolve and dissolve inner hostilities and conflicts, through new, victorious attitudes. His desire to drink vanished.
In several instances, a marriage was saved after one of the partners learned of and began quietly to practice prosperous thinking. A widow who had been alone for twenty years met and married happily. One person's divorced partner returned, and they were remarried.
A businessman who had always detested his work discovered that as he applied prosperous thinking to his job, he got a whole new perspective on it. In due time, this man was sought out by many for counseling. Needless to say, he no longer considers his work detestable, and he enjoys the many contacts he has with others.
What were the simple but delightful steps these persons and many others took to invoke prosperous thinking, thus producing peace, health, and plenty in their lives?
First, they got ready for the prosperity they desired by creating a vacuum to receive it. Nature abhors a vacuum and always rushes in with new substance to fill empty space, in mind, body, affairs, or relationships.
You too can form a mental vacuum by cleaning out of your mind negative, limited, unforgiving thoughts. As Charles Fillmore has written, "Thoughts are things and occupy 'space' in mind. We cannot have new or better ones in a place already crowded with old, weak, inefficient thoughts. A mental house-cleaning is even more necessary than a material one." If you are not sure what attitudes or memories need to be released and dissolved, give yourself a universal treatment in release and forgiveness. Declare:
"I fully and freely forgive. I loose and let go. I cast all judgments, resentments, criticism, and unforgiveness upon the Christ within, to be dissolved and healed. The prospering Truth has set me free to meet my rich good and to share my good with others."
As you prayerfully affirm this, you will probably feel a sense of burden pass and a feeling of release, relief, and freedom come. Your mental vacuum for new good has now been formed.
A businessman became ill, and in spite of the best medical care he did not recover. His body was filled with poison and nothing seemed to dissolve it. One night while perspiring with a high fever, this man realized that there must be something he needed to get rid of or release, mentally or emotionally, since thoughts and emotions have such a powerful effect on the body. He then asked God to reveal what it was that he needed to release.
Suddenly he began to think of a person against whom he had been holding a strong grudge and about whom he had said many unkind things. He then affirmed over and over: "I fully and freely release and forgive. I loose and let go all ill feeling. Divine love produces the perfect result now." Soon a feeling of peace, quietness, and release came, and he slept peacefully. The next morning his fever was gone and he recovered rapidly from his illness of many months' duration.
Not only is it necessary to form a mental vacuum; often a physical vacuum must be formed. You can form a physical vacuum for new peace, health, and plenty by releasing, giving away, selling or otherwise getting rid of what you no longer want or need. Do not retain items of clothing, furniture, letters, files, books, or any other personal possessions that you no longer need or use. Get them out of the way to make room for what you do want. As long as you retain them, they take up space in your world that is needed for your new good. Declare to yourself as you go through your personal belongings: "I fully and freely release. 1 loose and let go. I joyously make way for my new good, which now appears quickly in satisfying, appropriate form."
A widow had attempted in vain to settle her late husband's estate. Many legal entanglements had involved her with other heirs for almost a year. When she learned about forming a vacuum, she began cleaning out closets and other areas of her husband's clothes and personal possessions. The estate was quickly and harmoniously settled. A widower, whose grief for his deceased wife had been intense for several years, found that as he freely and fully released her personal possessions his grief lessened and he was able to begin building a new life for himself. A husband had asked his wife for a divorce and they were separated; then she learned of the vacuum law of prosperity. After she sold or otherwise disposed of a great many personal possessions left over from a former marriage, her present husband returned and they were happily reconciled.
Sometimes it is necessary to form a vacuum by letting go of unsatisfying relationships and old ways of living that no longer please or satisfy. A woman who had had great financial needs found that new ideas and methods of work opened to her, after she gave up several dissatisfying friends of the past with whom she was no longer congenial. If there is a question in your mind about this possibility, affirm: "I now let go old ways of living, old, unsatisfactory methods of work, and dissatisfying relationships of the past. I am now open and receptive to my new and highest good."
You are now ready to take the second step in prosperous thinking. Charles Fillmore described this step when he wrote: "Go into the silence daily at a stated time and concentrate on the substance of Spirit prepared for you from the foundation of the world. This opens up a current of thought that will bring prosperity into your affairs." Daily become still, and think about the rich, unlimited substance of the universe that is everywhere present for you to form as prosperous ideas, which will produce prosperous results. Affirm: "The rich substance of the universe instantly responds to my prosperous thinking. I am now rich in mind and manifestation." At this point begin definitely to mold substance. Do this by sitting quietly every day and writing down on paper what you feel you want to be, have, accomplish, and experience for the day, week, month, or year.
Dare to be definite about prosperity, if you want prosperity to be definite in manifesting for you. People often hesitate to write down and think about what they really desire. They do not realize that the mind is the connecting link between man and the rich but unformed substance of the universe. If you never think definitely about the prosperous results you desire, no mental contact is made with the rich substance of the universe; you must drift along in a stream of limitation and dissatisfaction.
A businesswoman attended a lecture on prosperous thinking and learned of the power of writing down her desires. She hurried home and made a list of the prosperous results she strongly desired in her life. Four days later a large sum of money, to which she had long been legally entitled but had been unable to collect, came to her.
The rich substance of the universe is yours to do with as you wish. Why settle for so little in life when you can have so much, just by daring to be definite in your thinking? Another businesswoman, a widow, began writing out her true desires daily, at the first of a new year. She wrote down her desire to remarry happily. She wrote down her desire for a better home. She also stipulated her deep desire for a better paying, more satisfying job. In the middle of the year, a pleasant, better-paying position was offered to her. At about the same time, she met her future husband, through mutual friends. They were married by the end of the year. He was a building contractor, and he gave her the better home she wanted. As he too began deliberately to practice prosperous thinking, he developed two other successful businesses.
When you write down your desires for the day, week, or month, list what you really want—not what you think you should have, nor what somebody else thinks you should have. Your deep-seated desires are God's good tapping at the door of your mind. Furthermore, write down dates by which you wish your desired good to be accomplished. You will be amazed at how the substance of heaven and earth will hasten to do your bidding when you give it definite desires and dates through which to work out good results.
A businessman had long desired larger and better business property, for the expansion of his business. After learning of the power of prosperous thinking, he no longer hesitated to believe he could have the property; instead, he wrote down his definite desires for it. Soon he learned of a desirable piece of business property, and upon investigation found that it was priced quite reasonably. Everyone involved—his lawyer, the realtor, and the seller—tried to assist him in every way. Even the local bank president seemed interested in helping him acquire the property. It was as though all the forces of heaven and earth willingly co-operated to work out the financial arrangements, and this man soon settled his business in the new location.
As you get your desires down on paper, feel free to work and rework them, changing, revising, expanding, and rearranging them as you wish from day to day. Make lists of what you do not want in your life, and write down, concerning them, "Be thou dissolved, in the name of Jesus Christ." Make lists of what you do want and write down, "This or something better, Father. Let Thy highest good now manifest. Let the divine result now appear." By decreeing the divine result, you remain open and receptive to your highest good, which may appear in the form of greater good than you had humanly conceived in your own private desires.
You are now ready to take the third step in prosperous thinking. Begin, at this point, to image your desires as already fulfilled. Mentally live with the picture of fulfillment as you go about your day. Do not try to reason through your mental pictures of fulfillment, or to understand how they are to come about. Just dare to image the fulfilled result as best you can, and then let the rich substance of the universe produce that imaged good in either usual or unusual ways. For your mental images declare often: "This or something better, Father. Let Thy highest good now manifest. Let the divine result now appear in the divine way."
A businessman's wife seemed to be a hopeless alcoholic. She was high-tempered, irresponsible, and very difficult to live with. She and her husband were on the brink of divorce when he learned that mental images make the conditions of mind, body, affairs, and relationships. He persistently began imaging his wife as peaceful, harmonious, responsible, easy to live with, and healed of alcoholism. For months he daily dared to image her as whole in mind, body, affairs, and relationships. Gradually she became calmer, more peaceful and harmonious. She then began taking more interest in herself, her husband, and life generally. I recently had lunch with this couple, and it was apparent that they are healthier, happier, and more prosperous than ever before. Furthermore, this woman's healing and resulting transformation are now complete.
Psychologists declare that imagination is one of the mind's strongest powers. The more you dare to image your desired good as a fulfilled result, and the more you dare to live your mental images, the faster the imaging power of the mind will begin producing almost magical results for you. Your mental images make your conditions, but it is up to you to make your mental images of the good you desire. You should image only the highest and best you can conceive, because, "Whatever you image yourself as doing, you can do." (The treasure-map method is powerful, delightful, and helpful in developing the imaging power of the mind to produce prosperous results.)
The fourth step in prosperous thinking is to begin affirming verbally, definitely, and daily the divine manifestation of your desires. As you daily write down your desires and image them as fulfilled, affirm: "My world is the perfect creation of divine substance. The finished results of divine substance now appear as peace, health, and plenty in my world." In the beginning the world was created by definite, spoken affirmations, as God declared, "Let there be . . ." You can and should create your world accordingly, because you are created in the image and likeness of God, and you too have the power to form substance through your definite, spoken decrees for good.
An interior decorator had been out of work for several months and was $2,500 in debt. During a summer slack season she heard about the power of prosperous thinking in overcoming financial lack. She began imaging $2,500 in her checking account to pay all debts, and daily affirmed that her world was the perfect creation of divine substance; that the finished results of divine substance were appearing as peace, health, and plenty in her world. Almost immediately, a friend of a former customer telephoned and asked her to consider decorating an entire apartment house. Her estimate, running into thousands of dollars, was accepted; she was given the decorating job, and her commission amounted to $2,500. This proved to be only the first of a number of profitable jobs that have come to her. She is still joyously affirming: "My world is the perfect creation of divine substance. The finished remits of divine substance now appear as peace, health, and plenty in my world."
It is good to be systematic in the daily, verbal use of affirmations, by speaking them aloud in privacy for at least five minutes at a time, three times a day. There is increased power in spoken words to produce definite, satisfying, immediate results. Thinking the right thought is powerful, but speaking it forth into the rich substance of the universe in deliberate, definite, verbal form, over and over daily, gathers that rich substance together in definite events and circumstances that produce immediate, satisfying, and definite results. Charles Fillmore has explained: "Substance is first given form in the mind. . . . In laying hold of substance in the mind and bringing it into manifestation we play a most important part. We do it according to our decree."
A little positive assertion and declaration of the good you desire is often all that is needed to turn the tide of events that will produce that good for you, swiftly and easily. How often have you talked about what you did not want, and gotten it? Now dare to speak of what you desire, and begin receiving it. The promise is: Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee."
A man and his wife were salaried employees, barely making a living. They learned about affirmations, and began daily affirming a better income. Soon the man, a draftsman, got the idea of designing greeting cards. His greeting cards soon became so well liked that he and his wife left their jobs and went into the greeting-card business full time. Their income has greatly increased, and their greeting cards have become widely known and purchased.
Use definite affirmations for prosperity when you want definite prosperity results. For the purpose of prosperity the ancient Hebrews affirmed "Jehovah-jireh" when they wished to concentrate on substance. This means " 'Jehovah will provide,' the mighty One whose presence and power provides, regardless of any opposing circumstance."
A woman who owned some rental apartments began affirming, "Jehovah-jireh, the Lord now richly provides," during a summer off-season period. Almost immediately her realtor rented one of the apartments for the next season, for $1,900. In another instance, a couple were in financial straits when they learned of the ancient Hebrews' prosperity affirmation. As they affirmed, "Jehovah-jireh, the Lord now richly provides," the way opened for them to sell for cash some property that they had previously felt they might have to mortgage heavily. Another couple's mortgage payments were overdue and they feared losing their home; then they learned of the Hebrews' prosperity affirmation and began affirming, "Jehovah-jireh, the Lord now richly provides." Neither had been able to find work for several months. Within a few days the husband obtained work and his wife was offered not one but two jobs, both of which offered higher salaries than any she had previously received. They did not lose their home, and began paying off many miscellaneous debts as well.
After beginning to get rid of what you do not want by forming a vacuum; after writing out your desires, imaging and affirming their divine fulfillment, you are ready for the culminating step in prosperous thinking. The time has come to go about your daily activities, acting as though you are already prosperous, doing whatever you can to make it so in your times of work, play, and rest. This you are to do, however, in a very special way: by invoking the thought of success and prosperity with everything you think, say, and do.
Deliberately become a prosperous thinker by beginning to think of yourself and others as successful, prosperous, victorious. Think often of whatever success, prosperity, and victorious good you are already enjoying, and give thanks for it. Declare to yourself often: "Every day in every way I am growing more prosperous, successful, victorious. I am made for peace, health, and plenty, and I am now experiencing them in ever-increasing degrees of good." Give others the same thought whenever you think of them. This is a delightful mental process to which your mind will quickly respond. Stop thinking of the failures and mistakes of yourself or others, and start concentrating on every degree of prosperity, success, and good that has been or is now evident. The mind is strengthened and uplifted by, and thrives on thoughts, images, and words of success; whereas it seems to shrivel and be repelled by thoughts, images, and words of failure, limitation, and poverty. The mind delights in helping a prosperous thinker become more prosperous. That is why "nothing succeeds like success." Invoke the law of increased success by affirming: "My success is big, powerful, and irresistible. Nothing succeeds like success. I now go from success to greater success, in the name of Jesus Christ."
Speak in terms of your good rather than in terms of apparent problems. Speak in terms of your blessings rather than in terms of your challenges. Emphasize the good in your life, knowing that as you do, it will increase. How often have you used the law of decrease and talked problems, difficulties, failure, limitation, ill health, confusion, inharmony? Now let your every act, tone, look, word express a quiet, confident assurance of success. Also, give yourself the thought of increased good by thinking of yourself as already looking, acting, and living as successfully and prosperously as you truly desire to be. Think of yourself as already wearing the clothes you wish to wear; as already living in a gracious, abundant manner; as already experiencing the health, prosperity, and happiness you so rightly desire. Then speak positively, appreciatively, of every degree of health, prosperity, and happiness you are already experiencing. This will help to multiply your good.
There is just one other thing to remember: You must persist in doing these simple and delightful things step by step, day by day. Perhaps your mind has been steeped in thoughts, images, and words of failure, limitation, problems, and difficulties. If so, it may take a little while to clear your mind of the negative and make way for positive results. It is important that you persevere.
Napoleon Hill has written something that has helped me persist past discouragement to success many times: "Before success comes in any man's life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to QUIT. That is exactly what the majority of men do.
"More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them." So, if discouragement besets you and your deep longings seem in vain, just hang on to the thought: "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence and determination. With God's help I now persist into my highest good." Persevere in this idea!
Truly, the peace, health, and plenty of prosperity come not by chance but in accordance with the laws of prosperous thinking. You can invoke prosperous thinking for simple, practical, delightful results, as so many others have done.
Pray and Prosper
You ARE prosperous to the degree that you are experiencing peace, health, and plenty in your world. Prayer can help you experience peace, health, and plenty, because prayer is man's steady effort to know God, and God is the source of all man's good. Thus, in prayer man makes common union with God and His infinite goodness.
It is wonderful, too, to realise that prayer is natural to man, and not a strange, mysterious practice. Man has always prayed and always will. In his primitive understanding, man prayed to the sun and stars, to the fire and water, to animals and plants, to images and myths. Later, as the intellect of man evolved, his ideas changed and he conceived of God as a personal deity with sentiments and emotions—a God with human traits, a God man felt had to be appeased by sacrificial offerings and assailed with pleas for favor. Many of the writers of the Old Testament had this concept of God. Still later, mankind began to come out of a primitive and intellectual understanding of God into a spiritual awareness that God is not a hostile being with a split personality of good and evil, but a God of love, the unchanging Principle of supreme good, both within and around mankind. Methods of prayer that have evolved, expanded, and improved now make it easy to pray to and commune with God.
Brother Lawrence, sixteenth-century French lay brother, who believed greatly in the power of prayer, described his method of prayer as "practicing the presence of God." One biographer has written that Brother Lawrence's one single aim was to bring about a conscious personal union between himself and God and that he took the "shortest cut he could find to accomplish it." And what was his short cut to God? Brother Lawrence described it thus: "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clutter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament." At any moment, in the midst of any occupation, under any circumstances, the soul that wants to know God can "practice the presence."
The one who understands the true nature of God as a rich, loving Father soon realizes that the person who truly prays is bound to succeed, because he attunes himself to the richest, most powerful, most successful force in the universe. Jesus knew this when He promised, "All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Tennyson knew it when he wrote, "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of!"
Many people have not employed the power of prayer for prosperity and success because they have gotten the erroneous idea that it is wrong to pray for material things. However, as many of the Biblical promises indicate, it is right and proper that we should pray for the things we need. We live in a rich, friendly universe that desires to fulfill our needs; and prayer is but an act of faith that helps open channels for the fulfillment of our needs.
The Bible is filled with examples of prayers and requests for needful things. Abraham prayed for a son; David prayed for his household; Elijah prayed for rain; Ezekiel prayed for the people; Hannah prayed for a son; Jehoshaphat prayed for deliverance; Jeremiah prayed for freedom from a famine; Nehemiah prayed for protection; Solomon prayed for wisdom. On a number of occasions, Jesus prayed definitely for specific things.
Praying for things is not the only form of prayer, but if we first begin to pray by praying for things (as most of us do), we will learn the power of prayer; and we will then doubtless develop our prayer power further.
Basically, there are four types of prayer: general prayer, the prayer of denial, the prayer of affirmation, and the prayer of meditation and silence. At various times it is good to know and use the various types of prayer to meet life's various needs.
General prayer is the act of praying to God as a loving, understanding Father, in your own way. It can be done on your knees, or more comfortably. It can be expressed through words, or silently. You can have a prayer book before you, or you can browse through your Bible, dwell upon favorite passages and promises.
A simple, effective way to begin a general prayer is to take the Lord's Prayer and ponder each line of it silently or aloud. The ancients believed that the Lord's Prayer was all powerful, and they often declared it over and over, from twelve to fifteen times, without stopping. At various times in the past, at the shrine of Lourdes, some of those seeking healing were taught to pray the Lord's Prayer fifteen times, while they entered the waters. From my own experiences, I know that deep spiritual power is contacted, brought alive, and released when one prays the Lord's Prayer over and over, either silently or verbally. I have known a number of instances where "hard conditions" in business affairs, human relations problems, and health conditions were adjusted when one or more persons prayed the Lord's Prayer from twelve to fifteen times daily.
Another powerful way to make contact with spiritual power in general prayer is to take the name Jehovah from the Old Testament or the name Jesus Christ from the New Testament, and verbally or silently declare the name over and over. A housewife told me that her husband became very successful in business (after a number of previous failures) when she began daily to call upon and dwell upon the name Jehovah in her prayer times.
As for the power of calling on the name Jesus Christ, Charles Fillmore has written: "The mightiest vibration is set up by speaking of the name Jesus Christ. This is the name that is named 'far above all rule, and authority,' the name above all names, holding in itself all power in heaven and in earth. It is the name that has power to mold the universal substance . . . and when spoken it sets forces into activity that bring results. 'Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.' 'If ye shall ask anything in my name, that will I do.' "
An immigrant once related to me how he was released from a concentration camp, where he had been badly treated, after he began daily calling upon the name Jesus Christ. A Christian missionary he met in prison suggested that he pray in this way. At the time, he was supposed to be near death from the many beatings he had received, but instead he began to recover. As he continued dwelling upon this name in his prayers, it was as though a mighty power went to work for him. In a short time, he was released, without explanation, from the concentration camp, even though many of his fellow prisoners were still held and mistreated. As he continued dwelling upon the name of Jesus Christ, further events occurred so that he was able to come to America, where he has lived for a number of happy, grateful years.
Another powerful way to pray is simply to declare, as in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done," since God's will for us is always unlimited good. A musician was out of work. The band with which he worked had been asked to go to Florida. Upon arrival, the promised job did not materialize, and all the members of the band were stranded. This man prayed, "Father, let Thy supreme good will be done in this matter." One day he and the other members of the band were at union headquarters, hoping that something would turn up, when their agent telephoned from New York to say he had located a job for them in Texas.
Another form of general prayer is the prayer of release, of letting go and letting God. When one has "done all," it is good to stand in faith through the prayer of release. A woman was in her farm home in a dense forest area, her husband away on a business trip, when a forest fire broke out. The fire raged all around her property; being surrounded, she could not leave. She prayed, "Father, it's up to You to save me, our house and property. There's nothing more I can do." She then affirmed, "I let go and let God have His perfect way." With a feeling of peace, she released the matter and retired for the night.
The next morning she awoke early, to find only a few stumps still burning. The fire had burned right up to her property lines, and stopped. It seemed a miracle. Later in the day when the forest ranger arrived, he said: "There is only one explanation for this. You must have been praying."
You may feel that your prayer experiences have not been particularly satisfying or powerful, or that nothing much has ever happened as a result of your prayers. If so, perhaps it is because you need to develop the other three types of prayer, along with general prayer.
The second type is one that all business people should know about, because they can use it so helpfully as they go about their business. It is the prayer of denial. Many people cringe at the word denial thinking that its only meaning is restriction or limitation. But the word deny also means "to reject as a false conception." And prayers of denial are for that purpose: to reject as a false conception that which is not satisfying or good in one's life experiences. Many hundreds of years before the time of Jesus, the Egyptians used the power of denial through the sign of the cross, indicating a crossing out or blotting out of apparent evil.
Prayers of denial are your "no" prayers. They help you to refuse to accept things as they are, to dissolve your negative thoughts about them and thus make way for something better. Prayers of denial are expressed in those attitudes of mind that say: "I will not put up with or tolerate this experience as necessary, lasting, or right. I refuse to accept things as they are; I mentally claim my whole good, knowing that even now it is manifesting." How much mankind needs to use prayers of denial! So many people lead a pygmy existence of fear, compromise, and dissatisfaction when they might be living lives of gigantic good, if they only knew how to say no to less than the best.
Usually, prayers of denial should be followed up by prayers of the third type: prayers of affirmation or "yes" attitudes. It is good to follow up thoughts of what you do not want with thoughts of what you do want; to follow up, "No, I will not accept this" with, "Yes, I will accept this or something better."
Jesus said, "Let your speech be, Yea, yea: Nay, nay." Prayers of denial and affirmation are as much attitudes of mind as they are formal methods of prayer. We can express them silently or verbally wherever we are, either as formal prayers or informally, as attitudes of mind. Charles Fillmore has written that "concentrated attention of the mind on an idea of any kind is equal to prayer, and will make available the spiritual principle that is its source in proportion to the intensity and continuity of the mental effort." In other words, our attitudes are forms of prayer.
The prophet Hosea went into more detail to show how to use denial and affirmative prayer power. He advised, "Take with you words, and return unto Jehovah: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and accept that which is good." In any situation that is dissatisfying we can deny its power by declaring to a loving Father, "Take away all iniquity." We should then follow up with the affirmation, "I will accept only that which is good."
To dissolve especially troublesome problems or hard conditions, it is necessary to concentrate fully upon prayers of denial before giving much attention to affirmative prayers. I once knew a very negative, disagreeable, complaining person with whom I had to work. As far as she was concerned, nothing was right in her world or in the world generally. She was in ill health; she was always battling out things with her family; she was not properly appreciated or compensated on her job; life was "a mess." I offered her some literature on successful living. She liked it, she said. Sometime when she felt better, got through fighting with her family, had schemed properly to get a raise, she planned to read it. In the meantime, she did not care to be distracted from her practice of negative thinking.
The prayer of denial I used was: "There is nothing but God's love and harmony at work here." I hoped that she would subconsciously attune herself to these ideas of love and harmony and let them work for her. In a short time she decided to take another job, and left. The secretary who replaced her was one of the most joyous, harmonious people I have ever met, and delightful to work with. Thus, love and harmony appeared when all else was denied.
So many persons get the erroneous idea that somebody else can keep their good from them; they go through life thinking this. Prayers of denial can dissolve this false belief and the lack that it causes. Declare: "I dissolve in my own mind, and in the minds of all others, any idea that my own good can be withheld from me. That which is for my highest good now comes to me through God's grace, and I welcome it." This prayer of denial can also clear up old conditions of the past, where one's good seemed to have been taken away or withheld.
Another prayer of denial that is helpful when there seem to be barriers or obstacles on your pathway is: "All barriers and obstacles to my divinely given good are now dissolved, with God's help." After using this statement for a time, you will find that whereas before, people, situations, and conditions seemed to work against you, everything will shift; everything will begin working for you. Still another powerful prayer of denial for clearing away negation is: "The power of God is working through me to free me from every negative influence. Nothing can hold me in bondage. All power is given unto me for good in mind, body, and affairs, and I rightly use il here and now."
If people only knew to say no to unhappy experiences, rather than to bow down to them! The Hebrews were warned not to bow down to or worship false idols or gods. The gods of unhappiness, dissatisfaction and limitation are among the major heathen gods of today. To dissolve their appearance in your life, declare often: "There is nothing for me to fear, God's Spirit of good is at work and divine results are now coming forth."
When you use denials you erase, dissolve, unform. You should then make firm, new good, through affirmation—the third type of prayer. A traveling salesman who was heavily in debt attempted to get a loan from a bank to pay off his debts. Because he lacked adequate collateral, he was not able to get the loan. He began to affirm: "God prospers me now." Within a few days he made a large sale and was able to pay off all his debts, with ample money left over. A businesswoman who was greatly depressed went to a mental hospital for treatment. While doctors were still taking tests to determine the proper treatment, a relative began to affirm daily: "Perfect love casts out fear and depression." Within a short time, this woman's depression had dissolved, and she was released and went back to work.
Several years ago a retired sea captain told me that he was healed of alcoholism after he began using the power of affirmation. He affirmed daily: "I am being healed, with God's help." After a time, he began affirming, "Praise God, I am healed." (His whole series of affirmative prayers, which produced a perfect healing, can be found in the Unity pamphlet A Healing Meditation for Alcoholics.)
The fourth type of prayer is that of meditation and the silence. It is often in silent, contemplative prayer that we feel the presence of God's goodness most strongly. In this form of prayer, we take a few prayerful words and think about them, silently. As we think about them, they grow in our minds as expanded ideas, moving us to a feeling of peaceful assurance and right ideas (and perhaps later, to right action). If nothing seems to happen in meditation, we have nevertheless made our minds receptive to God's good, which may manifest later.
The Psalmist knew the power of the prayer of meditation and silence when he declared, "Be still and know that I am God." A businessman recently stated that a restless, sleepless night turned into restful sleep after he began meditating upon the Psalmist's words. Dr. Alexis Carrel has described the power of meditation: "When our activity is set toward a precise end, our mental and organic functions become completely harmonized. The unification of the desires, the application of the mind to a single purpose, produce a sort of inner peace. Man integrates himself by meditation, just as by action."
Jesus was constantly going "up into the mountain to pray." After much activity, He often retreated for a time of silent prayer and meditation, to reintegrate Himself. The prophet Haggai pointed out the power of prayer and meditation to the Hebrews after their return from Babylonian exile. They found the Holy City in ruins, poverty-stricken, and surrounded by hostile tribes. Haggai pointed out the futility of trying to produce outer results without first making inner contact with God: "Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes." Then Jehovah told them: "Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it."
In metaphysical language, the word mountain means a high place in thought, feeling, and prayer. When one gets back to that high place of peace and power in silent prayer and meditation, one accumulates "wood"—the substance of new thought, new energy, new power, new ideas—and is then able to "build the house," or produce the outer, visible results of good.
Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, among others, proved the practical, result-getting power of silent meditation. It was at the conclusion of Moses' forty-day period of prayer in the wilderness that he went forth and supervised the construction of the tabernacle, the Hebrews' first building of formal worship. Moses even received specific instructions about the rich, beautiful furnishings for this tabernacle from Jehovah, during his forty-day meditation period. At the conclusion of Elijah's forty days of prayer, he knew that Elisha was to become the next prophet of Israel; he also anointed a new king over Syria and one over Israel, to clear up the political confusion of that era. And it was after Jesus had prayed silently and meditated for forty days that He began to preach, heal, and teach.
H. Emilie Cady has described the power of meditation: "Every man must take time daily for quiet meditation. In daily meditation lies the secret of power. . . . You may be so busy with the doing, the outgoing of love to help others (which is unselfish and Godlike as far as it goes), that you find no time to go apart. But the command, or rather the invitation, is 'Come ye yourselves apart and rest a while.' And it is the only way in which you will ever gain definite knowledge, true wisdom, newness of experience, steadiness of purpose, or power to meet the unknown, which must come in all daily life."
She also tells how to meditate: "When you withdraw from the world for meditation, let it not be to think of yourself or your failures, but invariably to get all your thoughts centered on God and on your relation to the Creator and Upholder of the universe. Let all the little annoying cares and anxieties go for a while, and by effort, if need be, turn your thoughts away from them to some of the simple words of the Nazarene, or of the Psalmist. Think of some Truth statement, be it ever so simple. No person, unless he has practiced it, can know how it quiets all physical nervousness, all fear, all over-sensitiveness, all the little raspings of everyday life—just this hour of calm, quiet waiting alone with God. Never let it be an hour of bondage, but always one of restfulness."
The Psalmist described meditation and silence as the "secret place of the Most High." Jesus spoke of it as going into the closet and shutting the door. Carlyle wrote: "Consider the significance of silence; it is boundless, never by meditating to be exhausted, unspeakably profitable to thee! Cease that chaotic hubbub, wherein thy soul runs to waste, to confused suicidal dislocation and stupor; out of silence comes thy strength."
After meditating upon God's goodness and being renewed, uplifted, and inspired with new ideas, there is an effective way to utilise meditation and silence in relation to your problems: Take any problem or question and meditate on this thought: "There is a divine solution to this situation. I accept and claim the divine solution in this situation now." The mental energy spent in worry and battling with the problem will then be used constructively to give you the right ideas and right solution. When you have a problem, if you will go into silent meditation and contemplate its solution from a divine standpoint, you will be shown what to do.
An engineering executive has told me of his use of meditation as a problem-solver. When his employees run into difficulty on an engineering project, he goes into his office, silently meditates on the problem from a divine standpoint, and inevitably gets the right ideas for its solution. One of his junior executives once asked him how he managed always to have the right answer just when it was needed most. When he explained his simple method, the junior executive skeptically asked, "You mean you just meditate on the solution, rather than fight the problem?" The engineering executive believes that the world is full of harried, tense people who have become that way through trying to solve problems in outer ways.
Let the practice of prayer, in one of the four forms, help you solve life's problems in inner, true ways. Let communion with God and His goodness open the way for greater peace, health, and plenty in you and in your world. The writer of the Third Epistle of John might have been describing the prospering power of prayer when he declared, "Beloved, I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."
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