Can people really materialize their needs through spiritual practices? So very many people over the past 100 years have been attracted to metaphysical New Thought by the lure of what they personally can acquire. Certainly there are human needs of a roof overhead, food on the table, clothes on one's back, and other basic necessities. It is then certainly understandable that a person would be attracted to a philosophical theology that offers promise or hope that a person can meet his or her basic needs, and yes, be a prosperous person materially. And, all this is in direct contrast to more fundamentalist religion that has either directly or indirectly suggested to followers that being prosperous is somehow sinful or not being religious.
Over many decades it was my God-bestowed privilege to speak before many metaphysically-oriented audiences. I did so often experience sadness as I did, because the vast majority of those who had practiced Metaphysical New Thought had not, in metaphysical New Thought vocabulary, demonstrated or materialized what they had hoped. Yes, they had prayed, affirmed, thought positively, meditated, and engaged perhaps in a vast array of other metaphysical practices---and yet---there was not anything even near to what they had been seeking; and when I say they, I mean what their personal egos said they should have. In such a state of personal ego consciousness, the best that can be achieved, which is what most metaphysical New Thought followers acquire, is to feel a little more positive about their lives and live in the hope that somehow their metaphysical practices will finally bring them great materializations or demonstrations.
And herein lies spiritual quicksand. For to let one's mind get so caught up in getting so as to satisfy what the personal ego believes it needs and in many cases has been led to believe it needs is to have a whole life through the influence of others. To the point---the personal ego or illusionary identity does not really know what Reality, Universal Consciousness, or God knows---which is what is best for one's soul self. To then practice any of the teachings of metaphysical New Thought without first setting aside the personal ego's illusionary needs and wants and replacing them with real identification with God's inner Presence is an exercise in futility.
The Christ Mind that was in Jesus expressed it this way, "Seek first the kingdom of heaven [contact with Universal or God Consciousness] within you---and all things will be added unto you." By way of practical example, let's say a person has a new smart television able to hook up to the Internet, produce 3D images, et cetera. Now a person can stand in front of this device and pray to it, affirm to it, meditate on it, think positively about it, but none of its features---no picture, no sound, no Internet---will be activated, demonstrated, or materialized unless---it is plugged into the wall!
Real Magic alone is the Power and Will which created life and sustains it and which alone can materialize anything and everything in a human's life. What this means is that praying, affirming, meditating, visualizing can only be productive if the personal ego and its will are set aside and the will of the Universe and God are given absolute control over one's life. God's Universe will then intuitively lead and guide one as to what is really best for the soul within oneself. All the praying, visualizing, meditating then are not causing God to improve one's life---rather, being in a state of cooperative consciousness with the Universe or God brings about improvements in one's life according to Universal Will or God's Will.
Downgrade the false personal ego identity to the nothingness that it really is. Upgrade your identity to Reality by entering into cooperative consciousness with God's Presence and Will for life's experience---on this physical plane of existence and beyond it through eternity.
For further clarification, prayer, visualization, affirmations, et cetera are effective if your conscious awareness is connected to the Universal God Consciousness within you.
When this Mystical Connection is present, prayer becomes Universal Consciousness thinking through you. Prayer becomes God's Thoughts in Self-contemplation, which are attuning your body, mind, and soul to be in harmony with what is best for you. Visualizations are God's Pictorial Images being placed in your consciousness---again, for the purpose of attuning your body, mind, and soul to be in harmony with what is best for you.
When you affirm, it is God and God's thoughts you are affirming for your body, mind, and soul. It is good to point out again that without Mystical Connection, the false personal ego identity is in charge of one's affirmations. The Christ Mind that was in Jesus spoke of this in the words, "for all their vain [personal ego] repetitions [affirming], they will not be heard."
Prayer, visualizations, and affirmations are effective when no longer practiced by one's false personal ego but under the control of God's Universal Consciousness within oneself. Real Magic is to be found in the words, "not my will [false, personal ego sense of identity]---but Thy Will [Universal God's Will] be done."