of prayer is speaking, yet much of it is listening. And the
speaking we do in prayer is important, but the listening is even more
important. For it is as we listen that God speaks. And it is
when we are still that God acts. It is in the silence that the
word of God is uttered and the work of God is done.”
James Dillet Freeman, "Be"
There are so many
ways to pray, and for most of us we have experienced more than a
few. And most of us have had times when our prayers were not
answered in the way in which we hoped they would be. But, whether
our prayers were answered or not, and whether or not we understood later
why they were not, our prayers did change us. It is the nature of
prayer to do so, for prayer is always within the mind of the person
praying and this is where we connect with God, Infinite Spirit.
Many people pray for trivial things and often
do not experience the results of their prayers. But, all too
often, we do not pray for the greater things for we are uncertain of the
answer or believe that we do not have the faith for the prayer to be
answered. Faith, according to the ancient scriptures, "is the
substance of things hoped for." And in this, we can be
certain that this "substance" requires us to be focused.
It is the greater things that we pray for that truly unify us with God,
for it is in the greater things that we realize that God is necessary
for their fulfillment ... and so this desire for the greater things is
what impels us to seek to know God in a greater way. If I were to
pray that my dinner would be tasty and satisfying, my attention to God
would end at the end of my meal. But as I seek that something
greater to have, to do, or to be ... I am going to be spending a great
deal more time focused on God.
Prayer does not change God ... prayer changes
the one praying. And no matter what method of prayer that we may
use, we must "recognize" God, first, and always, if we plan to
be successful in our prayer life. It has been said that the
"highest prayer" is not the one where we ask for things ...
but I don't believe this is necessarily true. I believe that the
prayer that causes us to have a continuing personal relationship with
God is the "highest prayer" ... no matter what it is that we
seek. For in Truth, things are effects ... success is an effect,
prosperity is an effect ... health is an effect ... but they are effects
"caused" by our relationship with God ... or lack of it.
Prayer that is Life, brings us the
"experience of God" in our lives. In back of every Good
desire that enters our mind and heart, is our underlying desire to know
that God is for us. Few can deny this as the truth. And
those who do, will never experience the fullness of Life. We know
how to walk, by walking ... we know how to talk by talking ... to sing
by singing ... to know God is to experience God, not as just a
Principle, or as a word, but as a Presence in our life.
Many of us have arrived at the point in our
spiritual development where we realize that prayer is simply recognizing
that God Is. And in knowing that God Is, we know that our Good Is
too. But, without prayer, we can easily lose sight of this and
find our faith diminishing. There is little difference between an
atheist and someone who says they believe in God but does not
pray. For to believe in God is to believe in prayer.
"Faith without works is dead ..." we can read in the ancient
scriptures, because the author of these words knew that faith must have
life to it. Answered prayer gives our faith life!
Throughout the scriptures there are
stories of prayers being demonstrated in the lives of simple
people. People who were blessed with greater abundance, greater
health, and greater success. These stories of successful prayer
have continued throughout history, proving that prayer has life to
it. Everyone can pray and everyone can have their prayers answered
in the affirmative. As I mentioned above, there are many ways to
pray, and it is up to us to find the one that works for us. We
must seek the right way for us and be determined to experience God as a
Presence in our life. We must be willing to learn as much about
our personal relationship with the Infinite as we can. As we
discover new ways of expressing our desires in prayer, we will find
ourselves more and more confident that the Presence of God is with us,
that God is working for us.
In this work I teach
affirmative prayer and I personally practice affirmative prayer every
day for myself and others. I know and affirm that the Truth of
every illness is that there is perfect health waiting to be
revealed. I know and affirm that instead of financial lack, there
is an abundance that will flow into our lives as we accept a greater
measure of it. I know and affirm that beyond the appearance of loneliness
there is loving companionship waiting for us to attract it into our
lives through faith and prayer. "It is the Father's Good
pleasure to give ..." ... let's make it our good pleasure to accept
SO IT IS!
Dr. Henry Lee Bates
Visit Rev. Bates BLOG: Living
the Science of Mind