12. If we divided the evils of life into two parts, one being those which Man cannot avoid and the other those tribulations of which he himself is the principal cause, due to carelessness and excesses, (see chapter 5, item 4) we would see that the number in the second group far exceeds those in the first. So it is evident that Man is the author of the greater part of his afflictions and that they could be avoided if he always behaved with prudence and wisdom.
It is no less certain that these miseries are the result of our infractions against God's Law and that, if we duly observed these Laws, we would be completely happy. If we did not exceed the limit of what is necessary for the satisfaction of our needs, we would not have the sicknesses which are provoked as a consequence of these excesses; nor would we experience the vicissitudes which derive from them. If we put a limit on our ambitions we would not have to fear ruin; if we did not desire to raise ourselves higher than we are able, we would not have to be afraid of falling; if we were humble, we would not suffer the deception of hurt pride; if we practised the law of charity we would not be slanderers, jealous or envious, and so would avoid arguments and fights. If we did no evil to anyone we would not need to fear vengeance, etc.
Admitting that Man can do nothing with respect to other evils, and that prayer would be useless in ridding him of them; would it not mean a great deal to have the possibility of exempting ourselves from those ills which stem from our own behaviour? Here it is easy to conceive the action played by prayer, which aims at attracting wholesome inspirations from the good Spirits, and in asking them for strength to resist our bad thoughts, whose realisation could be disastrous to us. In this case, what the prayers do is not to remove the wrong from us, but turn us away from our bad thoughts which cause us harm. The prayers in no way prevent the fulfilling of God's laws, nor do they suspend the course of the laws of Nature. They stop us from infringing these laws by guiding our free will. Yet they act by default, in an imperceptible manner, so as not to subjugate our free- will. Man finds himself in the position of one who solicits good counsel and then puts it into action; but is always free to follow the advice or not. God desires it to be like this, so that Man can have responsibility for his actions, thereby leaving him the merit of the choice between good and evil. This is what Man can always be sure of obtaining if he asks fervently, and this is the kind of situation where, above all, the words "Ask and it shall be given" can be applied.
Could not the effects of prayer, even when reduced to these proportions, bring immense results? It has been reserved for Spiritism to prove its action through the revelation of the relationship existing between the physical and spiritual worlds. But its effects are not limited just to these results.
Prayer is recommended by all the Spirits. To renounce it is to ignore the benevolence of God; to reject for oneself His assistance and for others the good that we can do.