Pray it up to bring it down.
This may be the riskiest tip I’ve ever offered. After all, we’ve been taught that we should never discuss religion. Well, believe it or not, today’s tip has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with power–spiritual power.
One of the great discoveries of my life is that prayer is not a formal procedure or a recitation of memorized words. It is not a task performed by pious do-gooders every Sunday or holy day. And it is not getting down on your knees and saying a few perfunctory words.
Prayer is a pathway to power. It is a way for spiritual power to flow into the lives of every human being. Prayer throws a switch and releases forces that will help you resolve your problems, reach your goals, and restore your health.
Simply put, it works. That’s why I offer every “Tuesday Tip.” I want to share those things that work. If you pray it up, your problems will be brought down. As one scientist said, “The most powerful form of energy one can generate is prayer. Prayer is a luminous and self-generating form of energy.”
But don’t take my word for it. Look at the research. Take the recent and startling scientific study of prayer at the Mid-America Heart Institute at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.
Volunteers from a variety of Christian traditions prayed for four weeks for half of the 1013 patients in the hospital’s coronary care unit. They repeated the process for a year using a scoring system for various outcomes. They assigned a few points to patients who needed medicine or contracted pneumonia, several points in cases where patients needed major surgery or pacemakers, and the most points to patients who died. The scores of the prayer targets were 11% lower than the scores of the patients who weren’t prayed for.
You might attribute the results to some psychological placebo effect, except that those who prayed were only given the first name of a patient and didn’t otherwise know who they were praying for. And the targets of their prayers had no idea anybody was praying for them. Psychology had nothing to do with the results.
The only natural explanation of the prayer study, according to Dr. William Harris, the study’s leading investigator and professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, was that prayer works. He said, “I have trouble with mental energy as an explanation, because there was no unique identifier for the intercessors to pray for. There were probably 25 Bobs in the hospital when they were praying. How did it get to the right Bob? Our results are hard to explain without some kind of intervening intelligence to know to whom the prayer is directed.”
Of course, you may say you’ve tried to tap into the spiritual power of prayer. It doesn’t work. That depends.
Some prayers don’t work as well as others. The famous singer Roland Hayes asked his grandfather about that one time. The old man said, “Some prayers just ain’t got no suction. They don’t go down deeply enough. They don’t take hold.”
YOU’VE GOT TO RELAX, PRAY, LISTEN, AND ACT. Start with relaxation or righteousness. Now “righteous” sounds like a fancy religious term, but it actually means being “right minded.”
Many people are ineffective pray-ers because their minds are filled with tumult, stress, and apprehension. They are “wrong minded.” If your mind is racing, empty your mind of everything negative before beginning to pray.
Once you’re a bit more relaxed and “right minded,” then pray, listen, and act. That was the approach J. L. Kraft, founder of the Kraft Cheese Company, took. In fact, he said he owed all his success to prayer and hard work.
When Kraft was interviewed, he said, “When you really need an answer, if you are a believer in prayer, your answer will be there for you. For example, if I needed an answer to an urgent business problem by next Thursday’s board meeting at 9 a.m., I would tell the Lord so. I wouldn’t dictate to Him; I would just tell Him I needed guidance by then, as I had to come up with a decision at that hour.”
The interviewer asked, “Do you get answers that way?”
“I sure do,” Kraft said. “At the appointed time, whatever thought comes into my mind I take as the answer I had prayed for. It is remarkable how many times it is just right.”
Notice Kraft used simple words from the heart. There was nothing formal about his prayers. He just spoke out his needs and believed he would get an answer.
The actor Walter Huston told a similar story upon visiting a health club in Chicago. The club was run by a former prize fighter, a man who called himself “God’s Roughneck.”
Huston noticed a big sign on the wall that read “APAGPR.” Of course he asked what it meant. The “roughneck” said “It means ‘Affirmative Prayers Always Get Positive Results’.” He said he put the sign there so people would ask about it, which gave him a chance to talk about the power of prayer.
So relax, pray, and then listen. Prayer is a conversation, so after you’ve said what you need to say, then listen. Open yourself to God’s guidance. Ask God to impress upon your receptive mind the understanding and power that you need. Simply listen until you hear inwardly.
Then you’ve got to act. In other words, after quietly waiting for an answer, you must be willing to have your mind changed. What is the point of praying if you merely tell God what answer to give you? All you are doing in that case is having God ratify what you have already decided. And what you have decided may not be wise.
One of my audience members, a brilliant young attorney, said that was one of the greatest spiritual truths he had learned. He said when he receives an answer to prayer that is not what he expects from God, he later finds that his answer would have been wrong. He continued, “Although at times I resent God’s answers, they always turn out to be the right answers.”
Do you have something you want brought down in your life? Some financial hassles? Some health problems? Some career obstacles? Some relationship difficulties? Then you might try today’s “Tuesday Tip.” Pray it up to bring it down.
Action: You can access spiritual power by taking the four steps outlined above: RELAX, PRAY, LISTEN, AND ACT Most people skip the third step. This week, take five minutes each day to relax and pray. Then take another five minutes to listen.