PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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x                SUGGESTION AND THE FACTOR OF FAITH            383
conflict is resolved, the repression is lifted, and the soul is conscious of freedom, enlargement and blessedness. Its powers are set free and it is put on the way to all good. Speaking as a student of human life, Mr. H. G. Wells says : ' Prayer is a power. Here God indeed can work miracles. A man with the light of God in his heart can defeat vicious habits, rise undaunted after a hundred falls, make headway against despair, and thrust back the onset of madness/ 243 The experience of ministers of religion, mission workers and ethical teachers confirms this. Prayer can make bad men good, can inspire the conventionally good with a passionate zeal for righteousness. This is the empirical fact, on whatever theory it is to be explained. Edward Smith, in Studies of Men Mended, tells of a man who in early life had fallen into drinking habits. He had become a confirmed drinker. His friend, a man of religious faith, refused to give him up, and yet in spite of all his efforts the drinking spells came on again and again. He was dismissed from his situation as gardener and fell into great disgrace. One night when he was thinking over his miserable position, little work, poverty in his home, loss of a good job, he felt he had come to the end of his tether and nothing was before him but a drunkard's death. He jumped out of bed, knelt down and prayed for forgiveness and help. From that moment the desire left him, and after years he testifies that the cure was permanent. Such incidents might be multiplied indefinitely. In these cases the root of the mischief lies in the individual's belief in the power of habit. There is a large measure of truth in Baudouin's saying that a man is a slave of a bad habit as long as he thinks he is, and no longer. In other words, the sinful self is the victim of a bad autosuggestion. Prayer is a power which brings about a new orientation of energy and