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Denials and Affirmations

Denials and Affirmations Cover

Denials and Affirmations

Laura Barrett Bennett

"In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there he light’; and there was light.” —Genesis 1:1-3

The Great Cycle of Life

From the beginning, all creation has been in a great cycle of denial and affirmation. The process that began with the void and was followed by the great breath and word of creation brought all things and beings into existence, and the pattern continues in each particle of creation—including you. By touching your wrist or your neck in just the right spot, you can feel life coursing through your veins. This is just a microscopic reflection of the great pulsating life force underlying everything in our universe. The expansion and contraction of galaxies, the birth and death of stars, the ebb and flow of the tides, the shift from day to dark and from dark to day—all are expressions of the great life movement from creation to destruction and back to creation again.

When we practice the affirmative prayer processes of denial and affirmation, we immerse ourselves in this great universal cycle of life. We actually tap into the universal life energy of God. Like closing your eyes and listening to the gentle and cyclical movement of the ocean breakers, the effect of affirmative prayer is a relaxed and energized Body and a clear and focused mind. Through denials and affirmations, we press out the frenetic tension of old, unwanted thoughts and pull in the fresh vitality of new and inspired ideas.

The Power of Denials

What are denials and affirmations? When we hear the word denial, many of us may tend to think in terms of the psychological equivalent of putting on blinders and refusing to see or accept what is so about a particular condition in life or in the world. This is indeed a form of denial, but it is not the denial of the affirmative prayer process. The denial of prayer does not ignore or turn a blind eye to the challenges of life. In fact, it allows us to face them head-on and to find the blessings in them by denying their power over us and over what we have to contribute to life.

I once knew a woman who lived in a neighborhood that had a reputation for high crime. This was her beloved home, and she was not going to give this reputation or the statistics that created it any power over her enjoying where she lived and contributing to her community. Every evening she would venture out with a prayer on her lips that was something to this effect: Nothing can stand in the way of God’s love. She would initiate conversations with people who were drunk or high or just out asking for money and invite them to be part of an early-morning prayer group made up of ministers and congregants from different churches all over the city. At breakfast, the group would pray for the community and thank God for all of their blessings. No money was required, for those who had money would pay for the food of those who did not.

I met some people who were part of what this woman was doing. They shared experiences of physical healing, of giving up a life of crime, of pursuing and fulfilling personal dreams. Many said they owed their lives to this woman and the power of God’s love working through her. She acknowledged the statistics and the reputation of her neighborhood, yet if she had believed that they had any power to dictate who she was going to be in the community, countless individuals never would have experienced the blessing of being loved and of knowing their own potential in life. It was her power to deny that anything could stand in the way of God’s love which allowed for the positive transformation of lives throughout her entire community.

A denial such as Nothing can stand in the way of God’s love is a specific statement that transforms the stumbling blocks of challenging situations into stepping-stones. It does this by clearing away the belief that the challenge is a stumbling block. Jesus said, “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes,’ or ‘No, No’ ” (Matthews 5:37). To practice specific and prayerful denial is to say “no” to what one of my great friends and mentors, Ed Rabel, once called “useless, unnecessary suffering.”

Denial alleviates the soul suffering that so wants to wrap itself around any challenging condition or circumstance. It alleviates suffering, not by ignoring the feelings and experiences we so often have as human beings, but by letting go of the belief that those feelings and experiences can control us and our lives. A good analogy might be how we respond to rainy days. If it is raining outside, we may not wish to step out while repeatedly saying, “It is not raining,” only to experience the frustration and disappointment of unfulfilled prayer when we get wet. What we may want to do instead is hold this thought: Rain cannot keep me from enjoying this day. Then we can imbibe and embrace the beauty and power of this very natural phenomenon and do what there is to do on that day.

If the body is experiencing disease or disorder, a good statement to hold in our minds and hearts could be this: No condition is greater than the power of God’s life in me. Such prayer practice clears the way for healing, either through a direct reversal of the physical condition or through a new outlook on life itself. What if the challenge is one of experiencing financial lack or anxiety or loneliness or concern over worldly or community conditions? Try these on for size:

I release and let go of all ideas of lack or limitation.

Nothing can disturb the calm peace of my soul.

I am not alone.

Nothing can stand in the way of
God’s love bringing peace
and prosperity to my world.

You can choose these, or you can choose to tailor your own denials to fit your being and circumstances. If you create your own, remember these elements of a powerful denial: First, find a word or phrase to describe the unwanted belief. Those used in the denials provided were “stand in the way of God’s love,” “greater than the power of God’s life,” “ideas of lack or limitation,” “disturb,” and “alone.” Second, negate that belief with one powerful and brief phrase or single word, such as “nothing,” “no,” “release,” and others along these lines. Then put them together in a single powerful statement that is easy to remember and repeat, silently or aloud, as you go through your day.

Can repeating denials over and over again actually clear the way for conditions to change in our lives and world? Indeed they can! But that change may or may not come through some miraculous event which can only be explained through divine intervention. That change may come through the change in you, in your perspective and your actions, as you allow denials to sweep away the cobwebs of old, dusty beliefs and prepare the way for new, inspired, and transformative ideas.

The Power of Affirmations

As the first part of the cycle of affirmative prayer, denial is most effective, but for the prayer to be complete it must be followed by affirmation. Even my friend who contributed to people in her community followed her practice of denial with an affirming prayer breakfast every week. By itself, denial leaves a great vacuum, or void, to be filled. For example, I am not alone does not, in and of itself, make much sense if there is no one else around, no one with whom to interact or to carry on a conversation. Yet, if we follow it up with the affirmation God is always with me, the inspiration to look for ways in which God shows up in our lives and to contribute to the lives of others may actually transform the condition of loneliness itself.

At a time in my life when I was experiencing a heart-wrenching sort of loneliness, I felt so sorry for myself that to hear someone tell me that I was not alone and that God was with me only moved me to sarcastically respond, “Yeah, right!” Somehow I had the idea that because I grew up around the practice of affirmative prayer, I had reached some sort of spiritual graduate level and didn’t need to use it anymore. It almost seemed too simple to be really effective on a loneliness as deep and strong as mine. Then I finally got so desperate that I used the prayer anyway. I am not alone, I would say to myself while I was driving the car or doing housework, for God is always with me. I am not alone, for God is always with me. I repeated it and repeated it like a sacred chant. At first, I only proved myself right—it made no difference. I was still alone. I was still lonely. Then one day I went to a Chinese restaurant and opened a fortune cookie.

I knew that loneliness had started to dissolve when I paused before breaking the cookie and thought: Okay, God, I know You’re there. Tell me about my life. The cookie said, “This year holds much happiness for you.” I looked up and said, "I’m ready anytime.” I took the fortune home and put it where I could focus on it every day, like a new affirmation. I was still alone. I was still lonely, but there was a difference. I had a sense of expectation. Every time I saw the statement “This year holds much happiness for you,” I said to God: “Where? I’m ready anytime.” Two weeks later I went back to the same restaurant, and an answer to my question of “Where?” came. The fortune said: “Look around you. Happiness is trying to catch you.”

I took the fortune home and started looking for happiness in the things I was doing and the people I was seeing eveiy day. And happiness came, not like a great, miraculous revelation, but more like a deep contentment with myself, just the way I was, and my life, just the way it was. I didn’t need anyone else to provide happiness and companionship for me. I looked forward to keeping my own company and to enjoying the company of others while at work or on errands, while volunteering for community organizations, or while just taking myself to the movies. Today I am not alone, for God is with me—and so is my wonderful husband Larry, whose enthusiasm for life and whose love for contributing to people are in perfect alignment with my own.

Denials dissolve limiting beliefs. Affirmations make firm unlimited possibilities. The vacuum created in our minds and hearts by our prayerful practice of denials is filled by whatever we affirm. We could easily say I am not alone, but it sure loolcs that way, and our lives would be experiences of intellectually grasping the idea that God is with us, but not really feeling or experiencing it. Instead, to complete our denials we can choose affirmative statements like these:

No condition is greater than the power of God’s life in me. I am filled with that life, and I am made whole!

I release and let go of all ideas of lack or limitation. I accept the truth that God is my unlimited source of abundant supply!

Nothing can disturb the calm peace of my soul, for I am safe in God’s love and poised in God’s power!

I am not alone, for God is always with me!

Nothing can stand in the way of God’s love bringing peace and prosperity to my world. I know it, I accept it, and I am that love in action!

What are the key elements for creating an affirmation? There is first a word or phrase representing an idea of Truth. In the examples given are “life,” “made whole,” “unlimited source of abundant supply,” “safe in God’s love and poised in God’s power,” “God is,” and “love in action.” Then, if you really want to transform your own perception, and therefore your experience, of life, put yourself in there! “I am filled,” "I accept,” “I am safe,” “always with me,” “I know,” and “I am that love” are just some examples. You may already have noticed how God shows up in each complete affirmative" prayer and how you can show up in the denials as well. Although putting yourself in there is not necessary, it actually is very effective in worldng where the work is most beneficial—in you.

Praying for Others

Can affirmative prayer also work when you are praying for others? Yes, it can! One wonderful way of practicing affirmative prayer for yourself and others is to say the denials and affirmations using the pronoun I. Then whenever you are praying for others, you can substitute you or even we for I, and then make the appropriate word and grammatical changes so that you are actually praying with and for others in a simple, yet powerful way. Here is how you can use the previous affirmations and denials with the pronoun you.

No condition is greater than the power of God’s life in you. You are filled with that life, and you are made whole!

You are released and set five from all ideas of lack or limitation, for God is your unlimited source of abundant supply!

Nothing can disturb the calm peace of your soul, for you are safe in God’s love and poised in God’s power!

You are not alone, for God is always with you!

Nothing can stand in the way of God’s love bringing peace and prosperity to your world. You can know it, accept it, and be that love in action!

Because of our connection with the great universal life energy, we are also connected with the particles of that life. That is to say, we are connected with one another. When others find it difficult to pray for themselves, we can hold affirmative prayer thoughts with them and for them, just as my friend must have done for so many of the people in her neighborhood. Then, whatever the outcome of our prayers, we’ll have the assurance that God is in charge, and we’ll be clear on what our greatest contribution can be to the lives of those for whom we pray. Wiry? Again, affirmative prayer alters the one who is praying—and from that prayerful foundation, one person can make a difference in the world.

An Invitation

With the practice of affirmative prayer, you become part of life’s great cycle. With each denial, you breathe out, or expel what is old and no longer necessary. And with each affirmation, you breathe in what is fresh, new, and revitalizing. I invite you to practice denials and affirmations. Play with them. Create some of your own, and see what they can do through you for yourself, for the other people in your life, and for the world. Speak them over and over and over again. In this way, you plug yourself back into the universal source out of which all things have come: the great pulsating energy of life—God’s life—ever present, ever new, ever expressing itself as you!

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