When I was 4 years old, my mother and I were driving down the highway when she noticed my door was not closed. She cautioned me to move away from the door. I said with complete confidence, “If I fall out and break, God can put me together.”
I did not “fall out and break” that day, but throughout my lifetime God has indeed put me back together—and held me together—through the challenges and opportunities of life. From my youth, prayer has brought me peace of mind and produced tangible results.
As a teenager, I started an affirmative approach to prayer after hearing Rosemary Fillmore Rhea deliver The Word on the radio. The positive message struck a chord in me, and I sent off for the free literature offered.
At 16 I was a dedicated reader of Daily Word and other Unity literature. I learned there is a lot more to prayer than doubtfully asking for help. Denials and affirmations (spoken and written), mental picturing, times of complete quiet (“the Silence”), statements of gratitude, praying with others—all of these round out and strengthen my spiritual practice.
I discovered the Truth in the words of Unity minister Catherine Ponder after starting a business. “Let go of striving,” she advises. “Surely it is easier and more natural to pray and prosper,” she states in her book The Prospering Power of Prayer.
Throughout my life, prayer has proven superior to willpower. Among many specific demonstrations, two occurred during a period when Florida’s weather was even more unpredictable than usual. My wife, Laurel, and I were remodeling a building for our new book-printing business. We needed an additional $5,000. In prayer, I asked for guidance and affirmed God would provide the money at the right and perfect time. A few days later, we had a torrential rain. I heard a tremendous crash and thought lightning had struck a tree. When the storm passed, I walked outside and discovered that an unneeded aluminum structure attached to our building had collapsed. Three days later, our insurance agent handed me a check for $5,300—and my brother, who was building a shed for his boat—hauled off the scrap metal.
By the time our shop was up and running—with employees and a weekly payroll—prayer was still at the center of operations. It occurred to me that more commercial printing jobs would help cash flow as we acquired book-printing customers. I asked God to show me where this business would come from—if this were, in fact, the divine solution.
The next morning a friend called with surprising news about another printer. He said, “Jerry’s shop got hit by lightning last night and burned to the ground.” I was shocked. “I am sorry to hear that,” I said.
My friend replied, “Well, he’s not too upset, because he is ready to retire. He’s looking for someone to take over his commercial accounts.” I drove out to meet Jerry at the charred remains of his shop. I could see where lightning had hit a tree and jumped to the corner of his building. He didn’t want any cash, only a percentage of sales from his accounts for two years, which proved to be a mutually beneficial arrangement.
These experiences taught me prayer is not only for times when we find ourselves wounded or broken; it is also a practical skill for everyday life. Your answers may not come in lightning bolts, but during every stormy challenge or sunny opportunity, prayer can renew your mind and transform your world.