Affirmative prayer or spiritual mind treatment is a form of prayer and one of the primary spiritual practices of the Science of Mind.
Afirmative Prayer or Spiritual Mind Treatment
At the heart of Ernest Holmes' Science of Mind, there is prayer. Praying, however, is not to a distant God. Prayer is not begging, beseeching, pleading or asking for something. Instead, affirmative prayer is a spiritual practice in which the participant aligns themselves with the understanding that they are One with Spirit and affirm the truth about who they are and their conditions.
What is God?
In New Thought philosophy, God is called many things, Infinite Intelligence, Mind, Source, Spirit, Infinite Being, and Ultimate Reality to name a few. However, what is God? It is probably easier to answer what God is not; for example God is not a masculine, distant power, sitting in judgment, deserving of our worship. In other words, in New Thought, God is not the God of dogmatic faiths.
In New Thought philosophy, particularly in Religious Science or the Science of Mind, God is a complete, indestructible and ever present Energy of everything, and everything is the embodiment of God. It is supreme, universal and good. There is only God, and It is personified in everything; every person, place, thing, situation, every event is a unique expression of God. This does not imply "I am God," although, it does imply "I am God-stuff" however.
There are different natures of God, God as Mind, God as Creation, and God as Creative Law. Creative Law is the power behind manifestation and responds to the words and thoughts of our prayers. Creative Law is also the Law of Cause and Effect and Law of Karma. Creative Law acts upon our beliefs, and our prayers are answered to the degree in which we believe. For this reason, if we are praying and in the back of our mind we have doubts, the prayer will not be answered.
Where does that put Jesus?
Conflicting with the doctrine of Catholicism and Christianity, In New Thought philosophy, Jesus is the great example (not the great exception) of the human experience. In all ways, he is the Wayshower. Jesus said that one day we would do the things that he did, and even greater things. (Paraphrased from John 14:12-14). Could it be that this time is coming and near? Humanity and the planet are currently experiencing a shift in consciousness in the form of an emerging New Earth.
Spiritual Mind Treatment
Affirmative prayer is also known as spiritual mind treatment. Ernest Holmes, the founder of The Science of Mind, initially proposed a three-step affirmative prayer process, though today Science of Mind typically practices five steps when "treating." This is a regimented and scientific discipline in which the power is generated from the first two stages, recognition, and unification. These first two steps form a portal for the "practitioner" (person praying) to feel and recognize their wholeness with the Divine. In this case, when the thoughts and words are expressed in the third stage (realization), they are fueled with power.
What are the stages of treatment?
Before a person prays using spiritual mind treatment, the practitioner generates a purpose statement for the prayer. This is usually a positive declaration about the desired outcome. As a way to get to the heart of the prayer purpose, it is helpful to identify the truth about the condition the person wants to influence change. To do this, assuming the prayer is for me, I identify the God qualities about the situation. For example, if I was experiencing a health challenge, my purpose may be "I know health, wholeness, balance, peace and harmony as my state of being." In other words, I know the God quality or attributes, which are the opposite of our current experiences.
The five steps of spiritual mind treatment are:
Recognition – In the first step of the affirmative prayer, I ponder the nature of God, by recognizing that God is the creator, the one source of everything, the only power. God is all love and that God is all there is, and there is no spot where God is not.
Unification – In the second step, knowing that there is only God, I consider my life as a unique expression of the One life. I contemplate this thing called Oneness and that God lives within me, and I live within God, that I am united with God, and that I am indeed God-stuff. I also identify in prayer the God qualities in my purpose statement.
Realization – Having united with the truth about who I am in the unification step, I know I have available to me all the treasures of the Universe. Here I speak my truth into the Law about my situation (my God qualities). I affirm the truth that I am whole, perfect, complete, and the inner attributes (God qualities) of the experience.
Thanksgiving – In this step, using my own words, I express gratitude that the prayer is already answered.
Release – Lastly, I release my Word into Creative Law knowing and trusting it is already done (as I believe).
As an example of a spiritual mind treatment I invite you to read a treatment by the Revered Cynthia James for "God's Vision as My Life."