Monday, September 27, 2010

The operator of a health club used a clever strategy to promote a positive message to his clients. While he probed his patrons for physical flabbiness, he also probed them for spiritual flabbiness. He placed a sign on his wall with the following letters: A P R P B W P R A A. His goal was to attract the curious who would ask him the meaning. When questioned about the unusual group of letters, he would laugh and say, “They stand for ‘Affirmative Prayers Release Powers By Which Positive Results Are Accomplished.” He believed affirmative prayers always got results. He practiced praying positive prayers to God instead of whining to God.

Affirmative prayer is a prayer that focuses on a positive outcome rather than a negative situation. The prayer affirms that your desired intention has already happened.

Affirmative prayers are rooted in the New Thought Movement that developed in the United States during the late 19th century. This movement promoted the benefits of positive thinking and was the forerunner of our self-help books and positive thinking books we read today.

Jesus, our greatest teacher, guided us in the use of affirmative prayer when he said, "So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours" (Mark 11:24).

Suggestions for Affirmative Prayer:

1. State the positive intent without mentioning the fear or the opposite of what is desired.

2. State the intent as if it has already occurred and/or as if it is presently occurring rather than stating it will happen in the future.

3. Express the prayer with gratitude and emotion.

God, in the uncertainty of daily living, I’m grateful that you are my rock, my anchor, my guide. As I turn over my thoughts, words, and actions to you today, I thank you for the peace and blessings I receive from you.

Vacuum Cleaner Method

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I read a story about a leader who uses the “vacuum-cleaner method” with his staff when they are discussing a work dilemma. Through a series of questions he “sucks the dust” out of his associates minds. He uses this strategy to draw out their negative attitudes. First he presents potential solutions to a problem, then he asks them to share all the possible ways that these resolutions will not work. One after one they have their say. While many of their comments would provide sound reasoning, I imagine some of their comments might sound like negative mind chatter familiar to all of us.

“That’s a crazy idea!”
“That would cost too much.”
“That will take way too much time.”
“We’ve never done it that way before.”
“We’ll never get finished at this rate.”

After hearing their remarks, the leader dismisses the meeting and asks them to return the next day to finish the dialogue. At the second conference, he tells them that no negative talk will be allowed. Then he quietly suggests positive ideas concerning the proposals. He asks them to participate in the discussion offering their own constructive suggestions. Eventually the team develops a new set of attitudes. They begin to explore the possibilities of the solutions instead of the improbabilities.

Maybe we need to use the “vacuum-cleaner method” on our own negative thinking. Sometimes we view our situations through a “dusty” lens. We focus on the depressing, gloomy aspects of our circumstances. Our negative mind chatter overtakes our thinking. We tend to build up obstacles in our imagination and these barriers often become reality. Difficulties must be studied and dealt with in order for us to eliminate them, but we must see them for worth they are worth. We should seek to minimize them and not inflate them.

Like the business leader, we too can acknowledge the challenges of our circumstances and then move forward to positive solutions. It’s often a daily challenge to clean out the dust of pessimistic thinking. When a negative thought enters your mind, try replacing it with a positive one. When life’s predicaments try to get the best of me, I recite the following personal affirmations based on scripture.

“If God be for me, who can be against me? (Romans 8:31)
“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
“I am in God’s hands” and “The kingdom of God is within me.” (Luke 17:21)

Flash Prayers

Sunday, September 12, 2010

In his book, Prayer, the Mightiest Power in the World, Frank Lauback, wrote that he had a habit of “shooting” prayers at people as he passed them. He called them “flash prayers” and bombarded passers-by with prayers of love and good will. He proudly swished love and prayers all over the place. These flash prayers send out positive power and good will that passes between human beings.

Our brains have 2 billion little storage batteries providing us a huge capacity to send out good thoughts and prayers. Our bodies have thousands of little sending and receiving stations to handle all the prayers that are transmitted throughout the day.

Consider shooting these Flash Prayers by Norman Vincent Peale as you encounter people throughout the day.

When someone on the street looks tired or sorrowful:
God, put your hand on that person and lift their spirit. Comfort them in whatever makes them sad.

When unexpected bad news hits:
Lord, help me to take this. Help me to meet it with dignity and courage. Don’t let my faith sag. Lord, I need you now. Be with me.

When you’re feeling stressed:
God, don’t let me get too frazzled. Keep me calm and doing one thing at a time. I feel your presence. Thank you.

When you read about a family that has suffered a tragedy:
God, with your great love bring comfort and peace to that sad family.

When someone is frustrating you:
God, give me self-control. Don’t let me say anything I will regret later. Also, keep me from looking like I am fighting for control. Help me to say the right thing now.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Did you know that your thoughts affect us physically? If you mind tells your body that you’re tired, your body accepts the fact. However if your mind is intensely engaged in an activity, your body will continue indefinitely. This is what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (chick-SENT-me-high-ee) calls flow.

In his work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Csíkszentmihályi writes that people are most happy when they are in a state of flow— a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity they are involved in. It’s often called being in the zone or in the groove. In the flow state a person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. We all have the feeling at times when we are fully absorbed and can ignore concerns such as time and food. In an interview with Wired magazine, Csíkszentmihályi described flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one.”

Flow happens when one has an optimal experience. Flow and religion have been connected from earliest times. When we have a profound spiritual experience of fullness, we experience flow. Our religious activities are designed to connect us with God. When we worship God with all our heart with all our soul and with all our mind, we are connected to God. When we connect to God, we experience spiritual flow.

Let’s experience flow with God this week as we meditate on his Word and fellowship with him in prayer.

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. Matthew 22:36-38

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