Don’t be a ‘praying beggar’!

Many religious people believe that prayer is about pleading for miracles or flattering a supernatural being into taking pity on them. They assume that some higher power is able and willing to intervene directly in earthly affairs.

A more enlightened approach is to reject the notion that prayer is for acquiring things or having our problems solved for us by an outside force. Instead it is to help hasten our personal growth.

All change starts from within. We get inspiration not in the form of miraculous interventions, but ideas, ideas that bring motivation and solutions and guide us towards constructive actions that bring the right results.

Prayer changes the person who prays

When you pray, don’t ask for changes in your circumstances, but in yourself. Prayer brings about changes in the character of the person who prays:

  • Our perceptions The world becomes a more peaceful and loving place, reflecting back the changes taking place within us.
  • As we incorporate more of the higher qualities into ourselves, we are able to make a real difference to our own and other people’s lives.

Pray alone, in private

Spend regular quiet time in prayer and contemplation. Go to a quiet place, put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door and close it behind you. Focus on noble ideas, ideas of truth that come from the heart. Invite your Inner Power to guide you. You don’t have to pray to an outside ‘presence’ unless you want to – ask your inner self for ideas and for the means to actualize them.


©David Lawrence Preston, 21.6.2017

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Affirmative Prayer

Affirmative prayer is not like the sort of prayers that many of us grew up with. It is not about pleading with a G_d to do something for us, but directing our self-talk to our inner selves in a positive and life-enhancing way.

We know there is an Intelligence in the universe that shapes energy into matter and responds when we direct our attention to it – in recent decades scientists (quantum physicists) have confirmed that this is so. We are an integral part of this Intelligence. We are each an individualized expression of the whole, like musical notes contributing to a complete composition. Our aim is to express more of the attributes of this Intelligence – life, love, joy, wholeness, harmony, freedom, abundance, peace and so on. But it does not come from ‘out there,’ but from ‘in here’.

Iris Murdoch called prayer, ‘the most essential of human activities.’ Why? As the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard said, Prayer does not change G_d, but it always changes the one who prays.’

Just as everything in the universe – including you – is energy in vibration, prayer is energy too. Prayer-energy is a form of higher vibration. So pray often, whenever you feel a need. Pray in silence and feel that inner peace. Pray in the morning, before your mind has turned to other things, to start the day in a centred, peaceful frame of mind. Pray in the evening, to wind down and go to sleep.

How to pray

Affirm and deny. There are two main mechanisms:

  • Denials – in this context, letting go: releasing the energy you have been putting into the appearance of spiritual lack.
  • Affirmations – establishing in your mind the attributes you wish to acquire and thinking, speaking and inwardly feeling them taking form.

Affirmations and denials can produce immediate changes in the mind, especially if the word ‘now’ is included.

Example of denials

Use the word ‘release’ in denials and ‘establish’ in affirmations as reminders of the changes you want. Identify and be clear on the mental and emotional conditions you want to release and those you wish to establish, and be conscious of what you are denying and affirming.

‘I now release from my life all negativity, all lack, all sickness, resentment, jealousy, fear…..’ and so on.

Examples of affirmations

‘I now establish in my life perfect health, forgiveness, courage, strength, prosperity, happiness, love and peace. I am whole and free, and I am grateful……’

‘The vitalising energy now floods my whole consciousness.’

‘I am now aware of the Presence in me that is whole and complete, that heals, and inspires and harmonises. It is the source of my Inner Power and my power to think, my power to achieve and the glory of all my accomplishments.  This is the Truth, and it is now done.

  1. Pray regularly

Set aside time every day for quiet prayer.

2. Pray in the silence

Enter the silence and mentally relax. Go to a place where you will be undisturbed and close the door. Quieten the mental chatter.

3. Pray to the Source

Address your prayers to the Source (however you envisage it) within. Realise that you have always been part of the Infinite Intelligence.

Remember, all visible things come from the invisible and are dependent on the unseen for their existence, and you have a part to play in this process. Prayer brings into play forces that change the character of every cell in your body.

  1. Do not become a ‘praying beggar’

Do not misunderstand the purpose and effects of prayer. It is not to get a ‘Higher Power’ to intervene in the world; this is not prayer is for; nor does it work. Instead, ask for strength, wisdom and guidance from within.

Don’t ask for solutions; ask for the wisdom to find them for yourself and the strength to put them into action.

5. Pray unceasingly

You can pray any time – indeed, every thought is a prayer in its own way. The more you pray, the more effective it is. Pray in the certain knowledge that your words will make a difference.

The words you use in affirmative prayer are like seeds planted in your mind. They bear fruit. They are prime causes that eventually create sought-after effects. Don’t take my word for it – try it for yourself!


©David Lawrence Preston, 29.6.2016

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Thoughts on Affirmations

What does ‘prayer’ suggest to you? A pointless ritual? A cleric recites from a prayer book while the congregation gives fixed ‘responses’ parrot-fashion? This is one form of prayer, but it is not the whole story.

As a child, I was taught to get down on my knees and plead with a supernatural being to take pity on me, give me what I wanted and solve my problems for me. I call this ‘begging prayer’. Needless to say, this kind of prayer hardly ever works. Nowadays I don’t believe that prayer is for acquiring things or having our problems solved by an outside force, but for hastening our personal growth.

Which brings us to a third type of ‘prayer’, one that does work. It’s called ‘affirmative prayer’. It is, in effect, concentrated positive thinking. It works directly on our consciousness, making us aware of limiting thought patterns and changing them so that new thought patterns manifest as life conditions. There’s no need to kneel or beg and you don’t have to pray to a G-d unless you want to. You can pray anytime, anywhere, and in your own words. It can be a one minute activity in which you pause, mentally switch off from your surroundings and take a few moments to centre yourself among the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Affirmative prayer has three main mechanisms – mindfulness, denials and affirmations. Denial is letting go of unwanted thoughts and limiting beliefs. The process is then completed by affirming the truth of positive thoughts and beliefs.


Mindfulness is simply going within and being aware of our thoughts and feelings and how we are responding to the world around us. It is taught in clinics, classes and counselling sessions all over the world as an effective psychological therapy.


Denials are akin to preparing the ground before planting seeds – first we dig up the weeds, clear the ground and prepare the soil. For example:

  • I now release all fear, all worry, anxiety and mistrust.
  • I am now letting go of all hatred, anger and all bitterness.

Allow yourself to feel the release happening as you interrupt the energy you have been giving to erroneous thoughts.


Follow each denial with affirmations. To affirm anything is to assert that it is so. It begins the process of making it so even if there is no visible evidence to support it. Use a form of words such as, ‘I now accept…..’ or ‘I now establish…..’ The word ‘now’ adds to their immediacy. For example:

  • I automatically and joyfully focus on the positive.
  • Perfect harmony is now established in me. I am at peace.
  • It is right for me to have happiness (or love, prosperity etc.). I claim it. I give thanks for it.
  • I resolve to live, love and be happy, whatever happens around me, with compassion for all.
  • I have time enough, faith enough, strength enough and enthusiasm enough to do the things that need to be done by me.

Create some affirmations for yourself. Write them on a card and carry them around with you. Use them often, both silently and aloud. You can adapt them any time to meet your own needs.

Intuitive ideas

We receive answers to affirmative prayers not in the form of miraculous interventions, but intuitive ideas. When they come, act on them. Keep your wits about you and let your inner self guide you.

 Don’t ask for changes in your circumstances, but in yourself. Affirmative prayer brings about changes in every cell in our bodies and in our energy field. And when we change, the world changes, reflecting back the changes taking place within us. Then, as we incorporate more of the higher qualities into ourselves, we are able to make a real difference to our own and other people’s lives.

Affirmative prayer has been shown to be effective in many scientific studies, and the explanation is not difficult to find. In quantum terms it aligns our thoughts with the highest vibrations of the universe.

Deep inside us, at our very core, is a place of absolute silence and stillness where we become aware of a peaceful Presence at the centre of our being. But first we have to clear away the foolish thoughts and emotional fog which obscure it. Thinking too much is like over-eating – it brings a kind of mental indigestion of anxiety and stress. That’s why every respectable spiritual tradition teaches stillness and silence to connect with one’s deepest self and strengthen our link with the Life Force, whatever we conceive it to be.

So put aside your negative preconceptions about prayer. Don’t be a praying beggar. Direct your thoughts positively, focus on the Power within you. Be inspired. When you’re calm, whole and centred on the inside, your life is complete on the outside too. That’s what the Buddha meant when he said, ‘Meditate and be mindful, and all else will follow.’

©David Lawrence Preston, 7.6.2018

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