384 PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
minimizes the processes of disease till the man is cured. It is the most searching, inclusive and profound activity possible for the individual, since it reaches to the depths of personality and frees its most powerful motives. As a great mystic poet puts it, ' Prayer attains its highest stage when it comes out of a great burning love to God and to man '. The true test of prayer is found in the extent to which it inspires the praying soul to adventurous action, unselfish and noble living, and constructive vision realized in ways of practical service.
Jesus gives us two statements regarding prayer which show us its nature and purpose clearly. The first is, ' Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.' The second is, ' Whatsoever ye pray for believing that ye have it, ye shall receive \ Studying the quality of prayer as shown in the first statement, we find it involves three distinct forms of action. First, it postulates a subjective mental activity, which is of the nature of supplication ; second, an objective mental action requiring thought, intelligence, and need of concentration (the mind cannot be thought of as in a passive state while seeking to find) ; and finally, knocking, which implies a full physical and properly externalized activity.
The ability to pray with the conviction of the possibility of an answer is essential to the first stage of prayer. When understood and trained into action it will make possible, and indeed eventually inevitable, the progressive activity of the other links in the whole. While the conscious expression of the mind admits awareness that what is prayed for is not already possessed, it is natural for the mind at its imaginative level to conceive of the thing desired as being within its grasp. The idea of what is desired becomes impressed upon imagination as a realized fact.