The Science Of Prayer by Ernest Holmes
THE SCIENCE OF PRAYER One of the outstanding things about the teaching of Jesus was that he did not reserve the use of spiritual Power for some future event, but boldly proclaimed that the kingdom of God is here and now and that the Law of Mind is available for every legitimate and constructive human purpose. Jesus said that whatsoever things we desire, when we pray, we should believe that we have them. He said that unless our prayers are amiss, that is, unless they are contrary to good, they will be answered. Jesus healed the sick, and yet one of his immediate followers was a physician. I think one of the things the world should be experimenting with today is exactly what Dr. Robert A. Millikan suggested: combining religion and faith and prayer with all the wonderful things now being worked out in the field of medicine. I believe that when we combine psychosomatic medicine, which is body-mind relationships, with spiritual Power, we will have gone a long way toward finding the road to health. Most physicians prefer to have a patient who has faith, and the more observing one prefers a household of faith surrounding his patient. Jesus, in many ways, demonstrated the availability of the Law of Mind to meet human needs, wherever and whenever they arose. Perhaps we have fallen into the mistake of thinking that the Law is available only for a few purposes. We should use spiritual Power in everything we do, and we should have such a complete evidence that this Power actually exists that there will be no question about it in our minds. Jesus said, “These signs shall follow them that believe.” Taking his teaching as the great example, we should expect signs following our prayers of faith. The question then arises: If there is such a Power, why is it that our prayers are not answered? A great many sincere people believe that God answers only certain prayers and not others. But another smaller group believes that all prayers will be answered when we pray aright.
It was this latter position that Jesus took. He very carefully explained what he meant by right prayer. Right prayer, according to his teaching, includes the good of
the other fellow as well as ourselves. For instance, he said that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. But in saying this, we should carefully note that Jesus did not say we must hate ourselves in order to love our neighbors. He knew that we are all important to God. We should love ourselves for what we really are, and we should love our neighbors for what they really are. We should wish to do good to others, and we should desire that good will be done unto us. I believe that we pray aright when there is nothing in our prayers that would hurt anyone. I believe we pray aright when we pray unselfishly. This does not mean that we should exclude ourselves. It does mean that we should include others. Then surely our prayers will be in accord with Divine Love and Wisdom. What can we do with the spiritual Power that is closer to us than our very breath? How shall we so attune ourselves to It that good will flow out in all directions and return to us a hundredfold. I think that first we must come to believe that there actually is such a Power and that we can really use it. We believe that there is a law of gravitation, which holds us in the position in which we place ourselves, and we have implicit faith in this law. We have faith in it, and we are so accustomed to the idea that we never question it. This is the first great requirement of the teaching of Jesus that we must believe. Let us think of spiritual Power, then, as a natural Law, and let us think of faith and prayer as the right way to use this Law. For prayer is our communion with the Spirit and faith is our definite acceptance that through this communion, the Law of Mind reacts to us and to others according to our belief.
Here is where religion, faith, prayer, and science can combine. For communion with the Divine Presence helps us to arrive at the place of faith and acceptance, and it is this faith and this acceptance that make prayer powerful. But it might be asked: Why can‟t you have the faith without the communion? My answer would be another question: Can an artist paint a beautiful picture unless he communes with beauty? I believe that this is true when we seek to combine the prayer of faith with communion with the Spirit. God is peace. God is love. God is life, and God is beauty. When we become peaceful and commune with this life and love and beauty, something happens to us inside. It is as though a great power were flowing
into us. And so, if someone were to ask: Why can‟t we have faith without communion? My answer would be: it is communion that gives us faith. The next step is to make God real to our own mind. This is something each has to work out for himself. God is love; therefore, we should open up our minds to love. God is peace; therefore, we should become receptive to peace. God is good; therefore, we should meditate on goodness. When we sit quietly by ourselves and think of God as very close to us, and think of love and peace and goodness as the great Reality, a surge of faith uplifts our mind. Now we are ready to pray effectively, which merely means we are ready to make our spiritual affirmations with complete conviction because we know that we are dealing with a Power greater than we are, a Power that we do not coerce or coax or intrigue, because It is already here. It is right where we are. This Power apparently flows through our words and is a Divine Law, which always tends to produce the good we have accepted. We should train our minds to think affirmatively. This means that we must winnow out all negations. We must dispel the darkness of doubt and fear. We could not do this if we felt we were depending on our own personal power, anymore than we believe we could use any other law in nature through exercising will power or coercion. When we use prayer affirmatively, we get results. So, we should train ourselves to expect definite results when we use spiritual Power. This is done through what is called meditation or affirmative prayer. We start with the thought that God is all there is. “There is one Life, that Life is God, that Life is my life now.” If we are praying for physical well-being, we might say: “There is one Life, that Life is God, that Life is my life now, that Life is animating every organ and every function of my physical being. It is circulating through me, filling me with perfect Life. All the energy and all the action and all the vitality that there is is pouring through me now.”
If we wish to pray affirmatively for someone else, we would say: “This Life is flowing through him now.” When we pray affirmatively for another we are recognizing God in him, we are thinking of God as being his life, his power, his strength, his vitality. We are definitely stating that this is the way it is.
If we will practice this, patiently and persistently, over a period of time, we will be amazed at the results. What a wonderful experiment this will be! It is perhaps the greatest adventures we will ever make. As we begin to see the signs following our spiritual communion and our affirmative belief, we will be given an assurance, a faith, and a conviction such as never came to us before. We are already familiar with the idea of psychosomatic medicine, or body-mind relationships, but now we are adding to this spiritual-psychosomatic medicine, or using the power or the Spirit to so direct the mind that the mind will rightly control the body. This is the next step to be taken in the advance of the curative arts. In doing this we do not deny the mind nor the important place it must have in our everyday lives. But we do affirm something else – the presence of the Spirit, the realization of the Divine Presence in everything and through everyone and the Power of the Law of Mind. Gradually, as we reach out and begin to use this Power for definite purposes, it will become as natural to begin to affirm the Divine Presence when we get up in the morning, as it has been to wonder what is going to happen during the day. For we will feel that we are no longer alone, buffeted by fate; we have a Divine Companion, an infinite intelligence, and an all-powerful Good cooperating with us.