Norman Vincent Peale: How to Pray and Get Results

Try this prayer exercise excerpted from Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking.

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Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

The secret of prayer is to find the process that will most effectively open your mind humbly to God.  Any method through which you can stimulate the power of God to flow into your mind is legitimate.

An illustration of a scientific use of prayer is the experience of a man who opened a small business—as he characterized it, “a little hole in the wall” in New York City—years ago. He had one employee. In a few years they moved into a larger room and then into extensive quarters. It became a very successful operation. This man’s method of business as he described it was “to fill the little hole in the wall with optimistic prayers and thoughts.”

He declared that hard work, positive thinking, fair dealing, right treatment of people and the proper kind of praying always get results. This man worked out his own simple formula for solving his problems through prayer power. The formula is: Prayerize, Picturize, Actualize. By “prayerize” my friend meant a daily system of creative prayer.

When a problem arose, he talked it over with God simply and directly in prayer. Moreover, he conceived of God as being with him in his office, in his home, on the street, in his automobile, always nearby as a partner. He took seriously the Biblical injunction to “pray without ceasing.”

He interpreted it as meaning that he should go about every day discussing with God in a natural, normal manner the questions that had to be dealt with. He did not often kneel to offer his prayers but would, for example, say to God, “What will I do about this, Lord?” or “Give me a fresh insight on this, Lord.”

The second point in his formula of creative prayer is to “picturize.” The basic factor in physics is force. The basic factor in psychology is the realizable wish. When either failure or success is picturized it strongly tends to actualize in terms equivalent to the mental image pictured. Continue to surrender the picture to God’s will— that is to say, put the matter in God’s hands—and follow God’s guidance. Work hard and intelligently, thus doing your part to achieve success.

Practice believing and continue to hold the picture in your thoughts. Do this and you will be astonished at the strange ways in which the picture comes to pass. In this manner the picture “actualizes.” That which you have “prayerized” and “picturized” “actualizes” according to the pattern of your basic realizable wish when conditioned by invoking God’s power upon it, and if, moreover, you give fully of yourself to its realization.

I have practiced this prayer method and find great power in it. I have known many other people who have successfully applied this technique. When sincerely and intelligently brought into situations, this has produced such excellent results that it must be regarded as an extraordinarily efficient method of prayer. People who take this method seriously and actually use it get astonishing results.

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