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Seven Steps to Effective Prayer

Prayer is an important part of my life and I believe very strongly that there is a God and that he both hears and answers our prayers when we pray in faith. I've had some marvelous blessings given to me as a result of prayer and I believe that the whole "law of attraction" principle (that we reap what we sow) to connected to the principle of prayer. The vibration we put out from out soul is a form of prayer that is always being answered.

Over the years, I've learned seven principles that have helped me pray in a way that my prayers get answered and I'd like to share them with you.

1. Take time to really think about what you want.

If you want a relationship, don't just pray for a relationship, define what you want that relationship to be like. What kind of a partner do you want? How do you want to interact with this person. Same thing for a job or anything else. Think very carefully about what you want and write it down. Be as specific as you can.

2. Make certain that what you are asking for is a "good" thing.

In other words, is this a “righteous” desire that will actually bless your life and the lives of those around you, one that you actually believe the Creator of the Universe would want to help you fulfill? Or is this just a vain, self-serving, egotistical request born out of your own laziness, need to feel important or self-centered desires? Once you've determined a prayer is based on a righteous desire, you can ask in confidence knowing that God grants all righteous desires.

Along this line, my father once told me that he never asked God to give him things, instead, he asked God to give him knowledge, strength, wisdom, etc. in order to be able to get them for himself. I've always followed this pattern. To just ask God for something and then sit around on your behind waiting for him to do it for you shows you have no faith. On the other hand, I've received guidance many times that showed me what to do to achieve what I wanted to achieve. God can also give you the courage, strength, energy, etc. to do what he shows you to do. But, quite honestly, unless you're completely incapacitated, I doubt God is going to do it for you. So, construct your prayer accordingly.

Also, never pray for revenge or ask God to punish or hurt anyone. This is using God's name in vain (i.e., without any power) because God only blesses. People's “curses” only occur because they reap what they sow. God doesn't need to do that, it is automatic.

3. Pray from desire not lack and confidence, not fear and lack.

When you pray for whatever you've decided to pray for, you aren't going to pray from “need” or “want.” God always says, “yes” to the energetic substance of our petitions, that is, to what is in your heart. (Which is why if you pray for God to cause harm to someone else, it will only hurt you.)

Knowing this, don't pray from the energy of lack. In other words, if your whole energy is “God, I want…” or “God, I need…” then the energy you'll get back is to perpetuate want and need. A better way to approach this is to say, “I have decided to achieve this goal….(explain what it is you've decidedness would like Your help and guidance.” Or, “I would like to experience (or the experience of) the following….please guide me to obtain it.” Remember you're not passively asking God to just give it to you, you're asking to be shown how to put forth (sow) the right energy or vibration (thoughts, feelings and actions) that will attract back (reap) the thing you desire.

4. Ask only once.

Once you have determined what you want and you know that it is a good request (that is it will bless your life or the lives of others and not bring harm to anyone), you are ready to ask for what you want. You are only going to ask for what it once, so it's a good idea to write your prayer down and then ask for it, so you keep a record of what you asked for.

There is no point asking over and over again. Asking over and over again for the same thing demonstrates a lack of faith. God hears you the first time, so you are going to believe that He heard you the first time and that He set things in motion to start you on the path to obtaining what you desired the moment you asked. By writing down what you asked your you can go back and review it periodically and affirm to yourself that God is helping me to obtain this thing I desire.

5. Exercise faith (commonly called positive thinking).

Now that you've asked for what you want, you have to exercise faith that your prayer has been heard and that God is setting in motion the series of events that will bring you what you want. Faith is an exercise in mental discipline. What is commonly called positive thinking is really faith. Fear, worry and doubt can't exist in the same mind and heart as faith. So, when you're worrying, doubting, fearing, etc. you aren't exercising faith. It's easy to change this. Simply create a positive affirmation that replaces the negative thoughts.

I find my affirmations are stronger when I include God in them. When I wanted to overcome my poverty mentality and my fear of lack, I created the affirmation, “God provides sufficient for every need.” When concerns about money would arise I would repeat this over and over again until I felt calm and confident. This is how I trained myself not to worry about money. What I found was that when I wasn't worried about money, I could see the opportunities God placed in my path for me to earn money. When I was worried about money I couldn't see them because my state of mind was blocking my ability to perceive them.

I change my affirmations from time to time. Now that I've decided it is all right for me to experience abundance in my life, my new affirmation is, “God abundantly grants me every righteous desire of my heart.” So, create your own positive affirmation that affirms your petition is being granted. Then, whenever worry or doubt come into your mind replace them with this positive affirmation, by repeating it (out loud if necessary) over and over again until you start to feel confidence replace doubt and fear. Remember, fear and faith can't exist in your mind at the same time, so practice controlling your thoughts by affirming that God is in the process of answering your petition.

6. Have the courage to act upon the opportunities and inspiration you are given.

When you put in place the previous five steps, opportunities will start to show up in your life. Doors will start to appear. Little “hunches” or “ideas” will come to your mind and heart. This is how God answers prayer. You must learn to act on the answers you will receive. This demonstrates your faith or belief.

To believe is to “be and live.” It's not just about positive thinking, it's also about believing. Believing separates positive thinking from wishful thinking. If your thinking is just “wishful” you will passively wait for what you want to come. You will not believe the answers you receive. If your thinking is genuinely positive you will believe the answers you receive enough to start "being and living" them. You will take steps to move towards your goal as opportunities and ideas are presented to you.

In fact, if you've put yourself in the correct frame of mind, you'll start seeing opportunities everywhere that will help you move towards your desires. Celebrate and acknowledge these intermediate steps. That is, what is in front of you may not be exactly what you ultimately want, but if it is taking you closer to what you want, then take that step and the next one will appear. In other words, no matter how far away what you desire seems, be willing to take the small steps that move you in that direction and as you do you will start moving faster and faster towards your desire.

7. Have a gratitude attitude.

The seventh key, a gratitude attitude, is the golden one that unlocks the highest potential inside of you. Too often, we get caught up in our minds with all the things we don't have. We look at how the people and things in our life are less than “perfect.” Why should God bless you with more when you don't appreciate what you've already been given? How do you feel when you give someone something and they act like, “Oh, that's nice, whereas the rest of what I want?”

So, look around you. You are greatly blessed. Even if you consider yourself poor, I bet you have central heating, indoor plumbing, a fridge, a car, etc. Do you realize that very few people in the world have these things? The poorest Americans live better than 50% of the people in the world. If you have shelter and food to eat be grateful. Half the world goes to bed hungry. When we were in China in 2006, one of our guides told us that the most popular Chinese greeting is “Have you eaten?” Because if you had eaten you must be doing well. Most of us are overfed and overweight. We have more “stuff” than the rest of the world and yet, a higher percentage of Americans are depressed. Why is this so?

You are already in a very small minority of people who are blessed with an affluent lifestyle. Learn to fill your heart with gratitude for this and every other blessing you have. The more you are grateful for what you already have, the more blessings will flow into your life. Remember that God's only answer is yes. When you see yourself as abundantly blessed, God says, “Yes, you are abundantly blessed” and so it will be.

I don't care what religion you are. What I have just shared with you works. The most oft repeated message in scripture is this, "ask and ye shall receive." God is ready and willing to abundantly bless you, guide you and prosper you if you will just learn how to ask and then act in faith on the answers he will give you.


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