Affirmative prayer — aka spiritual mind treatment or, simply, treatment — is a metaphysical approach to prayer that focuses on the good we desire rather than the negative condition or situation we are praying about. We recognize that we’re not changing God’s mind about anything. God’s will is for our good. In fact, everything in creation has already been created in its perfection.
In Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes calls affirmative prayer “a recognition of Spirit’s Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence, and a realization of man’s unity with Spirit.” It is a logical explanation of what is true about God and, therefore, true about God’s image and likeness, divine reflection – man – God giving evidence of Itself.
So in affirmative prayer, we’re simply opening our conscious awareness to the fact of God’s allness and onlyness and acknowledging that God’s good is everywhere present. We’re not begging a capricious, withholding God outside of ourselves or trying to convince Spirit that we’re worthy of our request. We turn away from the conditions around us and recognize that God is all there is – omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, omniactive – and that everything we experience in the world we walk through is God in expression, God giving evidence of Itself. All the good there is is available now in the midst of whatever situation or condition you’re praying about. And in affirmative prayer (spiritual mind treatment), we recognize and acknowledge this spiritual Truth as our understanding.
The Steps of Affirmative Prayer (Spiritual Mind Treatment)
When we consciously pray from this understanding of our Oneness, without allowing fear, doubt and other thoughts that deny the Presence of Spirit to creep into the process, then we are truly praying affirmatively with a full recognition of the spiritual power behind our words. In the Religious Science philosophy, affirmative prayer is comprised of five steps:
Recognition: In this step we recognize that God is all there is. There is One Life that is the life of God, everywhere present – whole, perfect and complete by its very nature. Feel free to use Spirit, the Universe, Source, God, or whatever term for the Creator of All that feels most comfortable to you.
Unification: In unification, we acknowledge that we are one with this Presence – that all that God is, we are. We can never be separate from or outside of Spirit, because God encompasses all. As such, we recognize the Truth of ourselves as powerful, spiritual beings.
Realization: In realization, we declare and accept the spiritual Truth of whatever it is that we are praying about. I like to think of this step as a series of affirmations because it really is about affirming the spiritual Truth about our lives and realizing that it is already complete in Divine Mind. This step is not about outlining the exact outcome – again, we’re not changing God’s mind about something, and we’re not dictating to Infinite Intelligence the specifics of what the outcome must look like. Rather, we acknowledge the force for Good that is eternally available to us, open our awareness to this limitless good, and accept the best and highest good for all involved in the situation. When we leave the actual “look” to Spirit, we move away from our limited notions of good, and allow for something better than we could even imagine.
Thanksgiving: in this step we give thanks for the good that is already ours, acknowledging that everything is already complete in the Mind of God.
Release: Finally, we let go and let God and hand it over in grateful surrender, knowing that Divine Mind is already at work, revealing the perfection that already exists within the situation.
It’s Not About the Words, It’s About the Understanding
Sometimes when folks get started with affirmative prayer, they get hung up on the words they use. I know I did! When I first learned affirmative prayer, I was completely in my head about it, not wanting to “do it wrong” (as if there’s a wrong way to do it!). I ultimately learned through practice that when I got out of my way (and out of my head), the words just flowed. And when I got out of my head and allowed the words to flow, I was able to sink into the feeling tone of the prayer. When I felt the words — really connected with them at a deep level — I knew I wasn’t just going through an intellectual exercise.
Through that process I learned that the feeling tone trumps the words when it comes to the effectiveness of the prayer. Even if I say the “perfect” words, if I haven’t been able to sink into that feeling of the complete presence of whatever I was praying about, the prayer ends up not being effective.
So in the midst of prayer, if you’re unable to find the feeling tone of the completeness of whatever you’re praying about, keep praying! Sometimes we must pray for alleviation of fear or doubt by knowing that there is no power to them. So whatever is keeping you from feeling that your prayer is complete, pray about that — and keep praying until you find the feeling. Because that’s when the seemingly magical power of prayer really takes root. The change we’re creating is within ourselves, and when we feel it on the inside, we can’t help but see it on the outside.
Check out the videos below for some examples of affirmative prayer. Want more? Just visit my prayer page.