Why You Should Pray Without Ceasing

Prayer power can change your life, even the world.

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Posted in , Apr 23, 2013

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Lately I’ve been rereading one of the greatest books ever written, Prayer, the Mightiest Power in the World by Frank Laubach. He believes that you should go around every day praying without ceasing, using fractions of minutes to pray. He believes you can change the world by doing this.

He has some curious methods. He will come to church, get in a back seat,  and pray against the backs of the heads of everyone within view. He says the results are absolutely astonishing. People will turn full around  and smile at him.  Once he prayed against the back of the head of a sour-looking  man sitting in front of him. Suddenly the man began to stroke the back of his head.

Once on a railroad train he sat praying at the back of a woman’s head.  Suddenly she turned around and said to him, “What this country needs is more religion.”

“Are you a missionary?” he asked, astonished.

“No,” she said, “I’m the wife of the conductor on this train.”

“Why, then,” he persisted, “did you suddenly turn and say to me that we need more religion?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “All of a sudden I got to thinking that it was a good idea.”

Does that sound peculiar?

I was sitting in the pulpit one day and I saw a face over near the wall. I could only  see the profile, and I said to myself, “That is the face of a saint.” Finally he turned and I recognized Frank Laubach. Prayer made him that way.

I have a method that I find most helpful. When I get up to talk to an audience I say to the Lord, “I love these people. They are all Thy children. Let me help them, won’t You?”

I was speaking at a Chamber of Commerce dinner in a large city. I saw a fellow scowling at me, or at least I thought he was scowling at me.  Before I started talking, I said, “I love that fellow, Lord.” And as I talked, I was thinking about him, practicing some of Frank Laubach’s prayer tactics on him. After the meeting when I was shaking hands with people, my hand was caught in a mighty grip and I looked up into the face of this scowling fellow, only he was smiling now.

“Something touched me in your speech,” he said. “The Lord touched me, I believe.”

It was not my speech: it was emanation of prayer that reached him.  I have no doubt the day will come when we can prove these claims scientifically.  Every one of us has in our brains and in our nerves thousands of little batteries.  The human body’s magnetic feeling has actually been tested. The human brain is  sending off this power in its thoughts. It has been scientifically demonstrated that we have sending stations in us. But this goes deeper.

There was a man with whom I had been working, an alcoholic, who had been “dry,” as they say, for about six months. He had gotten out of my sight, and one day about four o’clock I had a strong impression that I could not shake off. It kept coming to me, so I started praying for him. I prayed for about an hour. Then the impression seemed to let up, and I stopped.  A few days later he called me on the telephone.

“Norman,” he said, “I have been in Boston and I’m still dry. But last Thursday I had a hard time.”

“About four o’clock?” I asked him.

“Yes,” he said, astonished. “Who told you?”

“God did,” I replied. “But tell me about it.”

“I was in the Parker House and I got a whiff of the drinks as I was passing the bar.  I had a terrific struggle with myself. I thought of you and said to myself, ‘I wish Norman was with me.’”

He did not have Norman with him, but he had God with him. His thoughts, sent toward me,  got me to work praying for him. What did he do? He went into a drug store, bought a box of candy, went to his room and ate all of it. That seemed to be a good idea: candy and prayer. That got him over the crisis.

We are living in a difficult time. Would you like to help the leaders of this country, or of any other? Do not doubt but that you can. Send spiritual power to them. When you read the President’s name in the paper, send a fragment of prayer toward him. We know that there is in this universe an enormous force called prayer-power. Do not be a kerosene-lamp, horse-and-buggy individual. Spiritual power can change people’s lives and the life of the world.  Generate it in your prayers and send it out by a sort of radioactive prayer-power.

Book cover for Norman Vincent Peale's NavigateThis article is excerpted from the book Navigate: How the Bible Can Help You in Every Aspect of Your Life (Guideposts 2013), a collection of writings by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale which consists thoughts and anecdotes on how to apply specific Bible verses to daily life. The book is available from ShopGuideposts.

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