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William James described affirmative prayer as an element of the American metaphysical healing movement that he called the "mind-cure"; he described it as America's "only decidedly original contribution to the systemic philosophy of life."
What sets affirmative prayer apart from secular affirmations of the autosuggestion type taught by the 19th century self-help author Émile Coué (whose most famous affirmation was "Every day in every way, I am getting better and better") is that affirmative prayer addresses the practitioner to God, the Divine, the Creative Mind, emphasizing the seemingly practical aspects of religious belief.
Some members of the self-help and self-improvement movements[attribution needed] advocate affirmative prayer in addition to or instead of secular affirmations. The choice is largely an individual one, based on the beliefs of the practitioner.
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