Monday, January 31, 2011

Discover the Steps to Effective Prayer

This essay by Norman Vincent Peale appeared in Guideposts magazine.

And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend .... Exodus 33:11

1. Effective praying is talking naturally, honestly, sincerely, and in a straightforward manner to God. Do not feel that you must clothe your speech in stilted, traditional language. The language God wants to hear is that of the humble, contrite heart.

2. To get answers to your prayers, keep praying. Don’t stop, go deeper; just keep on praying, until prayer wells up in full measure within you, until you really mean your prayers with all your heart. Wrestle with your problem in prayer. Really go after an answer, strongly believing you are going to get it. Ask... knock ... seek. The Lord, Himself, advises us to do so:
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)

3. Believe that you are receiving answers to your prayers. Belief tends to create that which is held in the mind by faith. In other words, faith itself is creative. The Bible tells us that in proportion to our faith shall we receive. Apparently, we are unable to receive more than we can believe. So, read and ponder the whole 11th Chapter of Mark. This chapter is one of the most dynamic and creative expressions of faith in the entire Bible. Whoever masters this chapter will certainly receive answers to his prayers. Read and meditate upon the following verses:

And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him. Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them. Have faith in God.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain. Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
(Mark 11:20-26)

4. Saturate your mind with the tremendous words of the Bible. There is value to memorizing Scripture. By urging you to commit certain passages to memory, we are using one of the soundest of all psychological principles, that the mind can be changed by changing its thoughts. We are what we think. Therefore, as we think God’s thoughts, we become God’s strong people.

5. Accept God's will. We must realize that we will not get everything we want when we pray. If we did, our prayers would then be only a dictating to God. The secret of creative prayer is to accept and be in harmony with God’s will. Even though it requires agony, we must pray out our desires and pray God’s will in. Jesus, when He prayed went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:39)
And later: He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. (Matthew 26:42)

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