How to Make Prayer More Effective
by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, PhD
Prayer is effective when we establish sound prayer
habits. These habits include praying daily in an
affirmative manner, disciplining our thoughts, applying
virtues and the principles of Truth in our lives, and
living our prayers. When we live as we pray, we pray
without ceasing, as St. Paul taught.
Prayer is a means to know God, and through knowing
God we receive the blessings and abundance that are
ours. We should pray joyfully in trust, for when we do
so, we connect fully with the zest and true purpose of
living. We awaken new trains of thought. We unleash
powerful healing forces.
Here are ways to strengthen the power of prayer in
Pray in affirmation
Affirmative prayer acknowledges, accepts and give
thanks for what we have faith will come to us.
Affirmative prayer is in direct opposition to begging
prayer, which pleads for lack to be filled. An
affirmative prayer for health might be, "I enjoy
the blessing of perfect health." An affirmative
prayer for finding work might be, "I have the
perfect job which is right for me." Affirmations
declare the ideal and desired state of being as though
it were already obtained. Through affirmative prayer, we
set in motion the forces that enable us to manifest what
we pray for.
Prayer is ineffective when it is accompanied or
followed by negative thinking, or the mindless repeating
of affirmations. We have to put power and intensity into
our thought, change our thought, and believe in the
guidance we are receiving. If we spend energy on
negative beliefs and feelings, we will get negative
results, even if we and others pray daily for us. For
example, if you pray for a job and then complain to
others that you have no job or can't find one, you are
undermining your prayer.
Truth is all that is good. God is Truth, and thus
Truth is Creator of all that is real. The virtues and
God's moral laws are Truth. Our unique understanding of
our relationship with God is Truth.
Jesus talked about the Spirit of Truth as a force
that represents God and dwells within. "If you love
me, you will keep my commandments," Jesus said.
"And I will pray the Father, and he will give you
another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the
Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because
it neither sees him or knows him; you know him, for he
dwells with you, and will be in you." (John
14:15-17) When the Spirit of Truth comes--that is, when
we awaken--we are guided into "all the truth,"
he said. (John 16:13)
No one can make us see or understand Truth. Rather,
is it something we come to know through our prayer and
spiritual study. Prayer lifts our consciousness so that
we naturally inclined to live according to the virtues.
Pray for the highest good
We often think we know what is in our or somebody
else's best interests, when in fact we don't. We might
be short-sighted, intent on immediate resolution, or
even have misplaced values. Praying for an outcome that
is in the highest good of all is open-ended, does not
limit possibilities, and ensures harmony and balance in
Pray in faith
Faith is the foundation of successful prayer and the
spiritual life, and is our most important power. Faith
connects the realm of spirit with the realm of matter.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith "is the assurance
of things hoped for, the conviction of things not
seen." Through faith, we see the possible and know
we can make it real, no matter what circumstances are in
front of us. Jesus told us that through faith, even a
tiny amount the size of a mustard seed, we can
accomplish anything--we can do all of the great works
that he did, and more. "According to your faith, be
it done to you," he said. (Matthew 9:29) No matter
how dire our circumstances, faith enables us to create
and transform anew.
Regardless of what happens in the outer world, we are
always guided to perfect our expression of God. When we
pray in the faith that there is a flawless pattern for
wholeness within every person, we enable that pattern to
be expressed. The highest good always manifests when we
are open to receiving the answer that is right for us.
Be open to possibilities
Jesus told us, "Ask and it will be given you;
seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened unto
you." (Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9) If we ask, why do we
not always receive? Understandably, we then wonder if
some prayers are answered and others are not. Why is one
person helped through prayer, and not another? Does the
way we pray make a difference? Is God simply selective
about his answers?
All prayers are answered, and are answered
immediately. Psalm 139:4 tells us, "Even before a
word is on my tongue, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it
altogether." God hears our prayer in the moment we
conceive it. And in that same moment, the answer is
There are three fundamental answers to all prayers:
"yes," "not yet," and "another
way." God never gives us a "no" and
leaves us hanging. God always gives us the opportunity
to manifest our highest potential, whether it be through
accomplishment, love, forgiveness or even sacrifice.
Our answer may be in a form unexpected to us. We
often have a desired outcome in mind when we pray, but
the answer that is in the highest good may be something
else. Thus, we may not see the answer when it is
presented to us.
Sometimes our answer takes time to manifest because
circumstances must come together first. Or, perhaps we
are not ready because we have not done sufficient inner
Be alert for answers
Answers to prayers come in many ways. God can respond
directly, and we hear or understand the words in the
mind. Answers can come through dreams. The old saying
goes that we should "sleep on it" when we are
faced with a vexing problem or a decision. If we pray
before retiring, the energies set in motion by prayer
can clear the fog during sleep. We may dream about an
answer, or a resolution may be crystal clear to us upon
Answers to prayer can come through the words and
actions of other people, through opportunities that open
or close, or through things we happen to read. God is
constantly feeding us guidance. If we are open to all
possibilities, we see that many events of synchronicity,
or "meaningful coincidences," are really
purposeful messengers for us.
Our intuition can prompt us to take action that may
seem mysterious to us at the time, but which reveals the
answer to a prayer.
Every time you pray, remember to be thankful. Give
thanks for all that you are blessed with in life. Give
thanks for the answers to your prayers, even before you
know them. Acknowledge that the answers are in concert
with divine order, working out for the highest good of
In our challenges and trials, prayer helps us to
restore balance, and to find God. Once we discover the
power of prayer, it becomes the guiding beacon in all
matters--truly the light that shines for all.
Visionary Living, Inc. 2001. All Rights Reserved.
Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Ph.D. is the best-selling
author of 30 books on visionary living and experience,
including prayer, dreams, intuition, miracles, angels,
saints and other topics. This article is adapted from
Prayer Works, published by Unity House. Ms. Guiley has
additional articles and a complimentary e-newsletter on
her website, Visionary Living, at www.visionaryliving.com.
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