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The Secret to Answered Prayer

***All quotes are from Chapter 1 of Neville Goddard's "Prayer: The Art of Believing" 
unless otherwise indicated.***

Have You Ever Thought of Prayer as an Art Form?

We’re starting a conversation this week around Neville Goddard’s book “Prayer: The Art of Believing.” In the first chapter of this book, he talks about prayer as an art form that you must practice.

Every art form has a set of skills that, when mastered, make you an expert in that art form. For example, you cannot become a master at music without becoming highly proficient in the skills that make one a master of music.

Mastering the art of prayer requires you to develop proficiency in the following skills:

  • controlled imagination
  • inner tranquility
  • peaceful state of mind
  • faith

Mastering these four components makes you an expert in prayer.

Skill #1: Controlled Imagination

A central tenet of Neville’s teaching is that the Christ of your being is actually your imagination. That statement threw me for a loop when I first read it. I wanted to understand how it fit with the metaphysics I was already studying.

Originally I thought Neville’s position on imagination stood in opposition to what I was studying through the Universal Foundation for Better Living. But, when I looked up the definition for imagination in The Revealing Word, I found that Neville and Charles Fillmore were saying the same thing.

Charles says of imagination: It is the “faculty of mind that images and forms; the power to shape and form thought… What man pictures or imagines in his mind will eventually appear in his body.” Neville agrees. The differences between them seem to be one of semantics. Fillmore talks about imagination being a faculty of mind developed under the direction of the Christ; whereas Neville talks about the imagination¬†being the Christ.

Both agree that the secret to answered prayer begins with a controlled or disciplined imagination.

Every Process is Reversible

Neville writes in chapter 1: “The universal law of reversibility is the foundation on which [answered prayer is] based.”

Huh? What?

Let me explain. I’ll be using Neville’s example.

We know that electricity creates friction. That fact was known for a long time before it was discovered that friction could produce electricity. Your voice produces sound currents; in reverse, those sound currents can produce a voice. Heat produces mechanical movement; in reverse, mechanical movement produces heat.

Every process can be reversed. This is a principle that repeats across all creation. In Neville’s words: “Cause and effect, energy and matter, action and reaction are the same and interconvertible.”

So, what does that have to do with answered prayer?

Prayer and the Law of Reversibility

Feelings and emotions are the end products of experiences. Everything we do is in service to creation of some desired feeling and/or emotion. We do not want the car; we want the feeling and emotion that comes from having the car. It’s not about the house; it’s about the feeling and emotion that comes from having the house.

So, the law of reversibility says, “what is the feeling that you’re reaching for with the thing you’re praying about?” Give me the feeling and emotion you’re going for and we can reverse engineer the experience.

In Neville’s words: “The injunction, to pray believing that you already possess what you pray for, is based upon a knowledge of the law of inverse transformation. If your realized prayer produces in you a definite feeling or state of consciousness, then, inversely, that particular feeling or state of consciousness must produce your realized prayer.”

God Does Not Change

The laws governing this Universe are consistent. They never change. If a process is reversible anywhere; it is reversible everywhere. You can count on the consistency of God. Whatever happens anywhere can happen everywhere. Water can become steam; steam can become water.

The secret to answered prayer is that everything is reversible.

Start with the finished product (i.e. the feeling or emotion you want to experience). Reverse the conditions that created it and, by law, you must produce the other form of it. As metaphysicians, our job is to master the art of expansion and reduction.

Can I take a feeling or emotion and hold it until that feeling or emotion objectifies itself in my life? Inversely, can I take an experience I don’t want, identify the feeling it’s supplying me and stop supporting that feeling until the experience disappears from my life?

All Experience Is Objectified Feeling and Emotion

We’re going to talk about this further in tonight’s Bible Hangout. I am praying for open ears because if we get this, baby, we’ve got it!

“The feeling of the wish fulfilled, if assumed and sustained, must objectify the state that would have created it.” To objectify means to express something abstract in a concrete form. Feelings are abstract. Held in mind consistently they develop skin and become living realities for us.

“Assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled and continue feeling that it is fulfilled until that which you feel objectifies itself. If a physical fact can produce a psychological state, a psychological state can produce a physical fact.” Can you put yourself in a psychological state that represents how you would feel if you already had what you wanted? Then, can you HOLD that psychological state until the physical fact materializes?

That’s why you must master the skill of a controlled imagination.

Develop a Controlled Imagination

In his book Christian Healing,¬†Charles Fillmore says that “To allow the imagination to drift in daydreams never brings anything to pass. Ideas must be worked up into living, breathing, thinking things.” You cannot work up an idea into a living, breathing, thinking thing¬†until you learn to control your imagine.

Do not let your mind just run all over the place. Why? Because you waste your creative power on forms that are not worthy of the energy of God that indwells. Your imagination never stops creating. “Whatever we mirror in our minds becomes a living, active thing” (Fillmore, Christian Healing).

Many times we thoughtlessly bring into expression things we definitely do not want. But because we remain ignorant of the way life is created, we believe something is being done to us from an outside force. In reality, we create our own experience.

When you allow your imagination to run on in a thoughtless way, you set yourself up for experiences that you do not want. Here are some things you can stop doing that will work wonders for your imagination:

  • Watching the news
  • Gossiping
  • Having conversations about your shortcomings
  • Reading negative information about yourself and the world

All these things become fodder for your imagination. And, because your imagination never rests, these negative habits become the raw material for future experiences.

How to Develop a Controlled Imagination

There are many schools of thought on how to develop a controlled imagination. Rather than create an exhaustive list of things to consider, I will share with you the things I do on a daily basis to discipline/control my imagination.

I treat the process of disciplining my imagination like I do my physical workouts. I know that I have to be in the gym a certain number of days per week and doing a certain amount of exercise. If I hit that minimum (and manage my diet), I can trust my body to look the way I want it to look.

I approach the effort to discipline my imagine in the same way.

Morning Habit Stack

Every morning I get up before Jordan and complete the following practices:

  • Personal Wealth Commercial
  • Meditation
  • Mental Rehearsal
  • Prosperity Conditioning
  • Gratitude Expressed
  • Reading

Midday Habit Stack

The time for this habit varies. In general, I work in 25-30 minute blocks of time. I set a timer. When the timer goes off, I take a break and, if I do not have to go to the bathroom, then, I set the timer for 5 minutes and work with an entry from UFBL’s¬†The Daily Inspiration or¬†Science of Mind Magazine.

Once the timer goes off, I start working through the next 25-30 minute block.

Evening Habit Stack

Before I go to bed, I do the following things, which take about 30 minutes:

  • 5-minute devotional with¬†Daily Inspiration, Daily Word or¬†Science of Mind Magazine
  • Journal 3 thing I learned today
  • Journal 3 things that made today great
  • Focus on forgiveness (lately I’ve been concentrating on self-forgiveness)
  • Journal 1 new dream I am adding to my goal list
  • Read some positive literature (currently I’m reading Angela Duckworth’s Grit)

Now I want to hear from you. Have you ever worked on disciplining your imagination? If so, what tips can you share? Put your thoughts in the comments below. You never know whom you might inspire with your response.

The Secret to Deliberate Creation

The idea of deliberate creation can seem like a pie-in-the-sky philosophy. To say that you are the cause of all that happens to you appears insensitive. In the face of a debilitating experience or a prolonged condition, a statement like that sounds ridiculous. It suggests that you wanted what is happening to you right now.

In a moment where everything seems so much bigger than you feel and no one — not even your own family — has extended a helping hand, the last thing you want to hear is that you are the cause of all that happens to you.

Yesterday I had the chance to attend a private training with the venerable Rev. Ed Bacon. He said, “Religious people are trying to keep you from going to hell; spiritual people have already been there.” I write today as one who has been to hell, survived what felt like the worst and come back to tell the story of how to get out of hell.

Understanding Turns On the Light

I learned that darkness cannot survive light. The moment I shined light on the darkest places in my experience, darkness disappeared. You can shine the light on your darkest experience. When you do, light floods your entire being and darkness flees.

Understanding controls the light switch. Everywhere you develop understanding shines light and erases darkness. Rev. Della often says, “You cannot do what you do not understand.” Every seeming rut indicates can be erased by developing the understanding of what caused it.

The secret to getting out of hell (and staying out) lies in understanding the laws of cause and effect.

Once you understand how your experience is put together, life changes. The moment you understand¬†that everything that “occurs on the physical level has been created on the physical level has been created on the spiritual or mental level…” you turn on the light and free yourself from darkness.

Laws of Cause and Effect Don’t Have Caveats

But what about other people? What about the government? What about factors beyond my control?

Nothing ever happens by chance. “The fact that large numbers of people are involved does not change the fact that those individuals, through the choices they have made over long periods of time, have brought themselves to that place, circumstance, and involvement” (McArthur).

The key phrase in that statement is “…through the choices they have made over long periods of time…” Everywhere we have been, everything we have been through came about through a season of sowing (or making choices). Every choice points you in a particular direction. Choices strung together, over time, lead you somewhere.

Jesus expresses the same understanding when asked about the people killed after rebelling against Pilate and the eighteen people “randomly” killed by the tower that fell in Siloam (see Luke 13:1-5). He explains: “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did” (Luke 13:5).

Our choices produce our chances. Think different thoughts and you change your mind. Change your mind and you make different choices. Change your choices and you change your chances. The laws of cause and effect have no caveats. “Repent or you will perish just as they did.”

Every Thought Has a Purpose

Nature helps me understand every thought has a purpose. For example, the purpose of an apple seed is to deliver apples. Now, purpose does not determine the kind of apples delivered. That depends entirely on the kind of seed planted.

There are more than 7,500 different known varieties of apples throughout the world.

So, what¬†kind¬†of apple will you get? Well…what¬†kind of seed did you sow? To understand the fruit, study the seed.

Like the apple seed, your thought seed has purpose. Its purpose is to become an experience. What¬†kind¬†of experience will you get? Well…what¬†kind¬†of seed did you sow? To understand your experience, study the thought seed that produced it.

The only purpose a thought of lack can fulfill is to produce experiences of lack. The only purpose a thought of fear can fulfill is to produce experiences of fear. When you find yourself in the midst of unwanted experience, know in your heart that the seed that produced it can only fulfill according to its purpose.

Purpose Does Not Suggest Inevitability

“Everything happens for a reason,” is a popular response to unwanted and/or negative experiences. Yes, your experience has purpose because the thought seed that produced it had purpose; but that does not mean it had¬†to happen.

You do not have to go through a specific experience to achieve a specific outcome. We draw our lessons in life according to the beliefs we hold about ourselves and others. Life can be a battle but it does not have to be.

The moment you change your belief, you shift the experiences that you have to go through.

Assign Meaning That Empowers You

No matter what happens assign an empowering meaning. Life gets better when you “learn how to think rightly instead of wrongly” (McArthur). When we assign an empowering meaning to experience, we think rightly. When we assign a disempowering meaning to experience, we think wrongly.

We have naming power. We decide whether an experience is good or bad.

The meaning you assign to any experience charges the atmosphere around you so much so that whatever you call it, that’s what it becomes to you. And, you respond, “I knew this is why I needed this to happen,” not realizing that it was your assignment that controlled the outcome.

That’s why James told us to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2). When you consider it joy — no matter what it is — you change how it processes in and through you. You change what it means for your experience.

Do the Work to Think Better

No garden grows overnight. A single choice did not put you where you sit. You are where you are because of a series of choices.¬†“There is no such thing as luck. Nothing ever happens by chance. Everything good or bad, that comes into your life is there as a result of unvarying, inescapable law” (Emmet Fox).

That’s great news!

Why? Because if you will “learn how to think rightly instead of wrongly,” you can make immediate improvements in your life. Today you can turn the tide of fortune in your favor.

Let’s prove God. I recommend you get a journal to keep track of your dominant thinking. Make a point to check in with ¬†yourself every three to six hours and reflect on your thinking. What kinds of thoughts dominated your thinking? What kinds of things caught your attention? How did you feel during that block of time?

In time, you will learn how you think and you will be in a position to change or improve it.

Your Job Happens Before the Seed Gets Planted

It may help to know that you have influence over the outcome of any situation. “Like a gardener, you have a part to play in the manifestation of your creation” (McArthur). Before the gardener plants, he selects the best seeds and tills the soil. To the best of his ability, ¬†he makes sure that he establishes the best environment¬†before planting.

The equivalent for us is giving careful attention to our thoughts, purposes, aims and desires. The law of cause says, “as thought and purpose and aim and desire are set in motion by minds, their effect is a condition that is” (McArthur).

In other words, the way that we think, the purpose and the intention of our heart and what we truly want all come together to influence the “soil” into which our thought seed gets planted. God handles the details after the seed is planted but your job happens before the seed gets planted.

How Is Deliberate Creation Possible?

The thing to remember about deliberate creation is that “the Universe handles the details of growth and gives the increase — your creation. The creative process is impartial, so we can create our lives as well as the good and the beautiful” (McArthur).

How can you call it deliberate creation if the Universe controls growth and increase?

Let us remember the example of an apple. An apple seed will produce an apple. But the kind of seed determines the kind of apple you receive. And, the quality of the seed and the quality of the soil determine the quality of the apple you receive. Everyone who plants an apple seed does not receive the same kind and quality of apple. They receive according to the kind and quality of the seed planted.

So it is with experience. The fine details of your experience cannot be determined but the kind of experience you can expect, where that experience takes place and the quality of that experience all lie within the realm of your control.

Because we often do not know all that we believe, we get experiences that turn out very differently than what we imagined in our hearts and minds.

Name Everything and Everyone Good

“None of us likes to think that we don’t know what is good or bad for us. Yet so often what we think will be good for us seemingly turns out otherwise and that which we consider bad eventually proves to be a necessary step in our growth” (McArthur).

Because the Universe is friendly and is biased toward our success, it really makes sense for us to see everyone is good for our personal growth and transformation. Don’t take my word for it. Try it.

Give yourself a 7-day window and record your impressions over that time in a journal. No matter what happens to you in that 7-day window, name it good.

Test this stuff out. If you choose to reject idea that calling everything good, try it before you dismiss it. And, I encourage you not to accept it blindly. Prove it to yourself by experiment.

Do you know the #1 reason most people lack peace of mind around money? They have the WRONG ATTITUDE, which chases money away. Few people can afford this reality in the new ‘gig economy.’ Too many people hold multiple jobs just to piece together a full time living.

With 20th century job security gone, we must respond differently. People everywhere keep asking, “How can I begin to plan to my life? How can I know I’ll have enough work to put a meal on the table for my kids, to pay bills, let alone to save for a mortgage or get a roof over my own head?”

Nearly 50% of the workforce lacks a full-time job. The gig economy’s feast or famine cycle demands a new attitude. The Money Poems will teach you the right attitude toward money.

Success is Inevitable…If We Do Not Get In Our Own Way

God intended every individual to succeed. It is God’s purpose that man should become great. It is God’s will that man should not only use, but enjoy, every good in the universe. That law of God denies man nothing (Holliwell, p. 178).

What a powerful assertion! We are made for progress. Each of us contains within ourselves the capacity for endless development. What you imagine to yourself as success can be reached!

So, why isn’t everyone successful? How is it that success eludes us when it is so accessible by everyone? Holliwell outlines 6 primary ways that we interfere with the Law of Success that governs our being:Why We Don't Succeed

We Let Fear Stop Us

“…if a man is timid, backward, or fearful, fear will act as a brake to retard his progress. If a man is an efficient engineer, yet has an inferiority complex, that complex will make him mediocre and he will not be able to extend himself according to his skillful training” (Holliwell, p. 183).

Being good is its own reward; it is not a requirement for success. “The fact that a man is honest and truthful and industrious does not insure his success. More may be necessary than this…” (Holliwell, p. 183).

How many of us know someone who is super talented and a good person but lacks the confidence to “put themselves out there”? Or perhaps we are that good person who is super talented but we lack the confidence to just go for it.

“The only remedy known for fear is understanding” (Holliwell, p. 183). We get over the fear of “putting ourselves out there” by developing an understanding that this universe is filled with the presence of God; there is nothing to fear. When we know within the deepest parts of ourselves that we are safe, the fear of going for it will fade away.

We Let Our Religion Narrow Our Vision

Everyone has a “religion,” including atheists. Your religion is not the church you belong to or the denomination you are a part of. Your religion is your concept of how this world works.

“A true religion serves to expand or enlarge man’s vision…” (Holliwell, p. 184). If you find that your vision for your life is cramped, narrow and limited, then you need a new religion, a new way of looking at the world.

For example, some of us have a “religion” that says our supply depends upon other people or material conditions. Then, when people fail us or outer conditions change, we get worried. In truth, God only needs your agreement to bless you. No one has any power to stop you from flying high.

The remedy for this success-killing “religion” is to recognize that God alone is your supply. Know this on a gut level. Get it in your bones so that when circumstances change and people let you down, you don’t lose a step. “If we desire success, we must think success, we must talk and act success” (Holliwell, p. 184) and we can do that more easily with a “religion” that expands us.

We Won’t Play Full Out

“Half our failures…are that we pull in at the moment when we should let all our forces out to have full vent as we make a leap. We jerk ourselves back into failure just when we could be riding on to victory” (p. 184).

Have you ever done that?

A few years ago I hired a voice coach to work with me on my singing. In one of our sessions together, I had difficulty singing a note full out. She said to me, “don’t be afraid to get ugly.” When she saw the puzzled look on my face, she explained further, “When you’re singing, you cannot be concerned with how you look. Sometimes you might have to make an ugly face to get the note out.”

Later I reflected on all the times in life that I “couldn’t sing a note full out” because I was concerned about how I looked. I thought about times when I didn’t play full out as an entrepreneur because I didn’t want to seem needy or desperate or greedy or I didn’t believe everything would work out. So, I pulled up early to avoid giving everything and being disappointed.

The remedy for limiting ourselves and not playing full out is to realize that we are hardwired for success. “Every mind can develop greatness…Success, therefore, is within the reach of every aspiring [person]” (Holliwell, p. 179).

We Refuse to Train

“Success is a matter of advancement by grade. No man can become a success except by training” (Holliwell, p. 186). At the time of this writing, tennis great Serena Williams is advancing through the ranks of the 2015 U.S. Open, on her way to earning her 22nd major title.

Shortly after winning in the 2nd round, she went to the practice court. To tennis outsiders that might seem like overkill for a superior athlete like Serena Williams. But for Serena, it was a chance to decompress as she worked on her serve and consult with her coach on the mini-timing issue that plagued her game in the 2nd round.

“Success is bringing one’s self and one’s actions to a standard higher than the ordinary human standard” (Holliwell, p. 182). There must be some reach inside of you to be better, do better and have better. If you find that it is not there in your chosen line of work, look for something that you do want to be better at.

Your capacity to develop yourself is endless. There is no ceiling on where you can go, who you can and what you can do. Whatever you are willing to put in the work for can be yours.

We Let Our Attitude Sink Us

The difference that decides success or failure is our ruling mental attitude. Adopt an “I can” attitude and nothing shall be off limits to you. “Persistently think you can do what you want to do, and it will not be long before you find yourself actually doing that thing (Holliwell, p. 188).

We have the wrong attitude about obstacles. They are opportunities to draw out sides of ourselves that we didn’t know were possible. They develop within us an endurance that makes us more perfectly suited for the success we seek.

“…the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:3-4 NRSV). Stop resisting the obstacles in your path.

If you had nothing to change about yourself, you would already be the person you want to be. Obstacles are the Universe’s way of disciplining us into the people we need to be in order to have what we want to have. Learn to see obstacles for the character-refining tools they are.

We Misuse Time

“The worse enemy you will encounter on life’s highway is within your own self. Its name is procrastination” (Holliwell, p. 191). Procrastination gets us into the habit of indecision, which causes failure. Do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

Instead become a master of time. Our success depends upon it.

We all have the same 24 hours but we do not all use that 24 hours in the same way. Every 24 hours you waste is 24 hours you cannot get back. We kill our chances of success when we invest time in everything but the thing we say we want the most.

Resolve now to give a portion of your time each day to what you truly want. Even if you can only give 30 minutes to practicing your craft, be intentional and committed to that 30 minutes. Make it a non-negotiable. Over time those half hours add up.

Now I have a challenge for you. In the comments below, let me know how you have been interfering with your success. More importantly, include how you plan to change it. You never know whom you might inspire with your response.

The Unavoidable Truth About Spiritual Obedience

“Whatever law you obey will in turn serve you” (Holliwell, p. 172).

This one idea has haunted me as I worked with the concept of the Law of Obedience in Holliwell’s book Working with the Law.

I’d never considered my life or my business in this way before. Whatever law I obey will in turn serve me. It made me ask the question, “What law are you serving Sherri?”

He explains further: “If you plant a turnip seed, Nature does not make a mistake and bring forth a giant oak tree. On the same reasoning, if you plant thoughts of worry, the law you obey will give you something to worry about. It will produce more and more circumstances to increase your worries. If you think of disease and lack, you will receive exactly what you are expecting…The most important thing then is to know what to obey” (Holliwell, p. 172).

I would add that we should not just know what to obey, we should understand what law we’re already obeying.

Everything has a law that governs it. They all fold into the one great spiritual law – as within, so without. But each has different nuances. For example, some plants need sunlight; others don’t. Some plants need a dry climate; others can’t survive unless kept in a humid climate. To grow the plant you have, you must follow the law that governs it.

So it is with our lives. Based on the gift mix we each have, there is a law that governs us personally and professionally. “We are dependent entirely on obedience for our success or failure in this life” (Holliwell, p. 168).

That idea is a radical idea for me.

In the U.S. we make such a big deal about being free and having personal freedom. But, in truth, we are each subject to the law we are serving.


So, how does this spiritual law apply to our businesses? Because that’s what this series is all about. How do we work the law of obedience in order to grow our business?

Here is the single most important question to ask yourself to know whether you are cooperating with the Law of Obedience:

Whom or What Are You ObeyingSpiritual Obedience

Are you obeying Spirit (your intuitive voice) when it comes to your business or are you obeying the conditions around you?

Nothing just appears in the material universe without first being thought into expression. As you grow your business, are you taking time to meditate on the ideas that come to you to be certain that the idea you have is the right idea for this time period?

Chaz Dean, creator of Wen Hair and Body Care speaks openly about relying on prayer and meditation to re-locate his salon to Hollywood, an area that seemed, at the time, a potentially fatal mistake. He’d previously been in areas like Bel Air and Beverly Hills. His clientele included wealthy and well-known women like Nicole Murphy and Alyssa Milano. When the fruit of his meditation led him to a location in Hollywood that was pretty rundown, he had to be obedient to Spirit and trust that he was being led to the right location for his new salon.

When he acquired the property where his salon now sits, it was way before the revitalization that swept through Hollywood and turned it into a desirable place to live. Plus, there was a homeless woman named Spirit who was living on the property he intended to purchase. Spirit lived on the property all through the rehab process. In the end, Chaz chose not to ask her to move. His clients would simply have to get used to seeing this homeless woman when they came to his salon.

CLICK HERE to listen to Chaz tell the story of Spirit who was living on his property when he bought it and how she impacted his life.

If he had been obeying the conditions around him, he would have bypassed this building. But because he was obedient to Spirit, he purchased a property whose value has appreciated considerably with the massive revitalization effort that swept through Hollywood several years later. And, though he lost a few of his high end clients who turned up their noses at traveling to Hollywood to have their hair coiffed, he gained an entirely new set of clientele that were not turned off by the fact that this homeless woman lived on the property.

“We either serve principle or things in all that we think and do” (Holliwell, p. 173). Principle is First Cause. Things are the result of our thinking about Principle. When you consider your work, are you serving the things or the Principle behind the things? For whatever you serve serves you through the fruit it produces.

  • Serving Principle produces the fruit of Spirit: love, joy, happiness, kindness, peace.
  • Serving things produces the fruit of the flesh: worry, doubt, anxiety, frustration, anger.

How do you know what you are serving? Well…what kind of fruit are you getting? Whatever law you obey will in turn serve you.

Did you like this post? Did it open up a new idea about spiritual obedience and how it can apply to your business? Let me know in the comments how you can incorporate spiritual obedience into your business practice. You never know whom you might inspire.

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