Listen to Dr. Norman Vincent Peale's most popular sermons on hope and prayer.
Posted in , Jan 7, 2020
Did you know you can listen to a Norman Vincent Peale sermon whenever you like? The Power of Positive Thinking, right at your fingertips.
Recently, I was feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed, and I clicked on the “Power of Positive Thinking” app I loaded on my phone. And there was the sermon I needed, “A Sure Cure for Worry.”
There Dr. Peale says, “Say to yourself in the morning, at noontime, when you go home and before you go to sleep, ‘The Lord is with me.’”
Just hearing that booming, kind, wise and good-humored voice was more than enough. As always with Dr. Peale, you can tell he’s not just sermonizing about something you should do. He’s talking about something he does, too.
The "Power of Positive Thinking" app comes to your phone, courtesy of the Ruth Stafford Peale and Norman Vincent Peale Foundation, founded by Norman and Ruth Peale years ago and now operated by all their children and grandchildren. I was talking to Pepper Peale—great name—who is married to Cliff Peale, one of Norman and Ruth’s grandchildren, and she told me about why the Peale Foundation developed the app. Turns out, the foundation is just continuing the long, innovative tradition established by Ruth and Norman by providing access to digital versions of Norman Vincent Peale’s writings and sermons.
Pepper related a couple of stories you may have heard about the way Ruth and Norman Peale started out. Early in his pastoral ministry in New York, he wondered how he could get more people in the pews. He ended up reaching out to ConEd (the local utility provider) and got a list of customers who had just moved nearby. He mailed them letters, then visited and invited them to church. This was years before the onset of direct mail and data targeting. Dr. Peale was decades ahead of his time.
But just getting people in the pews wasn’t enough. The Peales wanted even more people to hear the lessons and inspirations offered from the pulpit. One Monday, someone called the church office and asked if they could have a copy of that week’s sermon. No, they said. There was no printed copy to share. He would write out his sermons longhand ahead of Sunday, but then spoke extemporaneously. That was part of his charm.
Ruth Peale happened to be in the office that day and she lived by that wonderful notion “Find a need and fill it.” This was a need she could fill. She found a secretarial school near the church, hired two stenography students to attend Sunday worship and transcribe the sermons. By Monday, the church had the finished documents to share.
According to the Peale Foundation, that desire to more effectively provide Dr. Peale’s sermons beyond the pulpit was the beginning of sharing those messages with an even wider audience. It was even the beginning of what you’re reading here on Guideposts.org too! The Peales always believed in reaching people where they are. Nice to think that their family is continuing to do that today, through the latest technologies available.
This was the point of Pepper’s stories: the extraordinary ministry Dr. and Mrs. Peale started continues to grow. It lives a new life through the app that delivers hope and help wherever people need it. Thanks, Pepper. So glad to have Dr. Peale’s sermons right on my phone!