Your Most Important Conversation

Norman Vincent Peale's tips on harnessing the power of prayer.

By Norman Vincent Peale, New York, New York

WEB EXCLUSIVE

Prayer. It’s one of the first spiritual exercises most people practice. Even children often say bedtime or mealtime prayers. But what, really, is prayer?

Prayer is simply a conversation between you and Jesus. Do not overcomplicate the process. Do not feel you must fill the conversation with strange, pious words or utilize any particular traditionally accepted jargon. Just talk to Jesus in plain everyday language. It is a matter of simple, honest expression, of opening your heart to him and telling him all about your hopes, dreams, fears and failures. Join with the Psalmist in saying, “The LORD has hear my cry…the LORD accepts my prayer” (Psalm 6:9).

To pray properly, you must also get on a good basis with Jesus. Sometimes this is called “Getting right with God.” It means you have to come clean with him and ask forgiveness. God already knows you better than you know yourself, so you must honestly and contritely tell him of any wrong you have said, thought or done. He will flush out these barriers to communication. “God answered their prayers, because they trusted in him” (1 Chronicles 5:20).

Talking with Jesus is a two-way process; you must practice spiritual listening to hear his voice. Another term for this is receptive meditation. Get your body relaxed, sit quietly and imagine all the tension flowing out of you. Discipline your mind to make it completely quiet, so Christ’s thoughts can come through unimpeded. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Prayer is the most powerful force in the universe!