One of the final ways to practice the Presence of God, according to Anthony M. Coniaris, is rather interesting. He suggests that, like the prodigal son, we engage in speaking to ourselves, that is what has come to be known as a mantra. Mantras are statements we make to ourselves that will, by their very repetition, will become our automatic thoughts. The psychologist Beck also suggests this approach to reprogram our thinking and, hopefully, break the cycle of depressive thoughts. Depression is usually the result of constant, repetitious negative thoughts.
Coniaris suggests that the prodigal son’s conversion began when he spoke to himself and said, “I will arise and go to my father.” David the psalmist spoke to himself saying: “Why are you cast down, O my soul. Hope you in God.”
The author shares this insight. He says that when he talks to himself he most often is praying and claiming one of the Bible verses he has chosen for the day. For example, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Another affirmation he likes to use is: “I am loved by God the Father, redeemed by God the Son, indwelt by God the Holy Spirit.”
He also shares that he knows someone who has made this his affirmation: “I am eternally supported by the loving presence of God within me. I claim His beautiful promise: ‘I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.’” The use of positive affirmations is a well-accepted way to change our negative thinking and, hopefully, become a positive thinking person who truly experiences the presence of God. This is, of course, what the Pilgrim, in the Way of the Pilgrim, used in order to establish the Jesus Prayer solidly in his life.
A positive affirmation doesn’t have to be a bible verse. I have used all sorts of affirmations that have been of my own construction, although I suspect inspired by God. For example: Life’s Journey is an ascension to the Heavenly Father made through personal change of my mind and heart. An affirmation must be positive; state how you want to think; and eradicate a particular negative thought that keeps you from being completely open to life and God Who is within you. Try creating your own positive affirmation.