No. 827


Back in May of 1970, I went into business with my former Dale Carnegie instructor, the late Bob Gannaway, to distribute the Earl Nightingale attitude motivation programs that were being produced on cassette tape. A few weeks later, I was explaining to a lady what we did, and after a few minutes she said, “Oh, you’re the Norman Vincent Peale of Little Rock.” At the time I did not know much about Dr. Peale, but at least had heard of him. Suffice it to say, this lady was paying me a high compliment and I didn’t even know it. Since the day of that conversation I have learned a good deal about this amazing man who, over the years, has been an inspiration to millions of people.
Dr. Peale was born on May 31, 1898, in Bowersville, Ohio, and died on Dec. 24, 1993, at the ripe old age of 95. For 52 years he served as pastor of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. He is the author of a great number of books, the most notable being “The Power of Positive Thinking” and “Enthusiasm Makes the Difference.” In 1945, along with Raymond Thornburg and his wife Ruth, they founded the famous publication Guideposts. Most older Americans have read or at least heard of Guideposts, and it has continued publishing after the passing of its founders. Today it has a weekly circulation of 2.3 million copies.
Sometime back I discovered a copy of his book “A Guide to Confident Living” in my library and began to read it. I am not even sure where it came from. In the book he shares story after story of how, over the years, many top business executives came to him who were deeply discouraged, hurting and sick, not physically, but in their mind, spirit and in their soul. As in the case with many people, the last place they wanted to turn was to God, but they were desperate. Dr. Peale, in a very gentle way, encouraged them to attend church, be quiet and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to them. In the vast majority of cases, the outcome was life changing.
One of the things in his book that struck me as being of value was his 10 rules for saying your prayers. Without any precondition, I pass these along simply for any interest and value they may be for you. 1. Set aside a few minutes to be alone and quiet. Relax body, mind and spirit by turning the thoughts away from problems and fixing the mind on God. 2. Talk to God simply and naturally, telling Him anything that is on your mind. Do not think you have to use formal words and phrases. Talk to him in your own language. He understands it. 3. Practice talking to God as you go about the business of the day. On the subway or bus, or at your desk, close your eyes for a moment to shut out the world and have a word or two with God. This will remind you of His presence and give you a sense of His nearness.
4. Affirm the fact that God is with you and helping you. That is to say do not always beseech God for his blessings, but affirm the fact that He is now giving you His blessings. 5. Pray with the thought that your prayers reach out and surround your loved ones with God’s love and care. 6. Think positive, not negative, thoughts when you pray. 7. Always state in your prayers that you are willing to accept God’s will, whatever it is. 8. In your prayer, simply put everything in God’s hands. 9. Say a word of prayer for people who do not like you or have treated your badly. 10. At some time during every day, say a word of prayer for this troubled world, for our community and for lasting peace. And peace to you, too!
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit www.bookcaseforeverychild.com. You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)