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Faith and Prayer In Personal Development
Learning About Faith and Prayer From An Unlikely Source
There are plenty of books, courses and studies on faith and prayer. One book that has been responsible for many people achieving goals is “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. In his book he says “Faith is the “eternal elixir” which gives life, power, and action to the impulse of thought!”
Even though I talk about the principles of Christianity, I go to the secular world to see what they know. The thought here and the justification is knowing that many medicines, technologies and inventions are not credited to Christians. Christians go to doctors that are not Christians, they drive cars that are not manufactured by Christians, they wear clothes and live in houses and use appliances that are not entirely built or manufactured by Christians. So why shouldn’t Christians see what the world knows about personal development, about “success” and about having life more abundantly?
How does one gain faith?
In Think and Grow Rich it says “Repetition of affirmation of orders to your Subconscious Mind is the only known method of voluntary development of the emotion of Faith.”
Romans 10:17 (ESV) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
And Psalm 1:1-3 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Meditation according to the Bible is to fill the mind over and over with a thought. It is to read a verse and may include memorization, then think about the verse over and over again, maybe read it several times out loud or silently.
Christian meditation is life transforming. It will change the mind and the thoughts. Meditation will change the reactions to others and to circumstances. It will not be one of despair or defeat. The thoughts will be of victory, peace and joy.
The Christian faith will produce many benefits. From Psalm 1:1-3 we see that this meditation builds faith. This is a powerful faith that will not be moved or shaken. This faith produces fruit and the person is prosperous. Fruit is about taking nutrients in and giving life sustaining food that is enjoyable and tastes sweet to others. Fruit also produces seed that can produce more fruit later. Trees can not eat their own fruit. The person who takes the Word in produces fruit that will give life to others that is sweet and desirable.
Hearing and reading the Bible everyday will produce many benefits, including faith, strength and producing fruit.
Think and Grow Rich has this one aspect of faith correct. The way to build faith is to repeatedly read and hear.
Faith Plus Prayer
Napoleon Hill said “Faith is the element, the “chemical” which, when mixed with prayer, gives one direct communication with Infinite Intelligence.”
I don't know if Mr. Hill is saying God or a god when he writes Infinite Intelligence or if he is talking about the universe being intelligent.
The modern personal development thought is the universe is intelligent. Aaron Whiston wrote on Selfgrowth.com “Scientists who insist the universe is a meaningless accident are deliberately ignoring the obvious. The universe is creative and precise to a degree that indicates a vast intelligence.” However, I believe the universe is not intelligent but the Creator behind the universe is intelligent. I don’t know if the personal development group is trying to be inclusive by giving intelligence to the universe or if they believe it or they don’t believe in God or some other reason.
The Bible says Job 12:7-10 ESV 7 "But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
8 or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
9 Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.
For this is the word of the Lord who made the heavens; he is God; the maker and designer of the earth; who made it not to be a waste, but as a living-place for man: I am the Lord, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:18 Bible in Basic English
Wisdom Is In The Creator Not The Created
In Proverbs 8 Wisdom is talking
22“The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of old.
23Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
30 then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
God had wisdom and with wisdom He created everything that was created. God had set-up the laws of the universe. These laws were put in place to carry out His word. The Laws of the Universe are nothing more than God’s system of automation.
It is also our way of knowing with certainty that if we do an action there will be a consequence. Just like factory automation, home automation or automated car washes where one action takes place and then a predictable action follows we can be certain that God is the same yesterday toady and forever. The laws of the universe confirm this.
It was the intelligence and wisdom of God that created the universe.
Open and Honest Communication With God
Prayer is the direct communication with God. He has granted us access to Him through faith - which was a gift we have in Christ Jesus. The faith we have is that Jesus died for our sins and rose again to be with God the Father in Heaven. Prayer putting oneself in the presence of God.
Prayer is not about giving a wish list to Santa. It is more like having a conversation with a mentor or adviser. When we have that conversation and the mentor says this or that should be done then we should do it. God is giving us wisdom on on to handle our particular situations. He is not surprised by circumstances. Believe it or not He has a plan.
Don’t worry God is working things out for us. “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
We may think he is slow but His timing is always on time. It is like the calvary in a western movie it shows up just in time to save the people from total destruction. Habakkuk 2:3 “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”
These are some of the promises of God, he will strengthen us, he will help us, we will be held up - we won’t fall down.
When we pray, we get the counseling and the mentoring to help us wait, to be strong and to stand firm and to trust.
Does prayer always work?
At times prayer doesn’t work. At least we think it is not working.
R.A. Torrey wrote, “But some will say, "Is not all prayer unto God?" No. Very much so-called prayer, both public and private, is not unto God. In order that a prayer should be really unto God, there must be a definite and conscious approach to God when we pray; we must have a definite and vivid realization that God is bending over us and listening as we pray.”
One our prayers have to be in the presence of God. Second we have to realize God has a plan and we don’t understand it - we don’t have the big picture.
Our prayers must line up with God’s will. There are certain things He has promised us. Lining up with what God wants, is easy to do. He wants healing, prosperity, peace joy, restoration, strong marriages, honesty, integrity, safety, turn bad into good, love, courage, hope, motivation, more abundant life, encouragement, forgiveness, a future, eternal salvation, justice, us to overcome, strength, wisdom -revelation, assurance for believers.
Faith + Prayer = Results
Faith and prayer mixed together produces results. Sometimes He can’t move until we move. Through His mentoring we are urged to do. It is our job to do. Then God will do His part. Then we need more instructions and the cycle continues.
We have to get to know God and His promises. The best way to know is to read the Bible daily. Reading it will produce faith. When we become doers of the word then our environment will change. This is the best personal development one can have - a growing relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ.