"The first step is to ask. Make a command to the Universe. Let the Universe know what you want. The Universe responds to your thoughts." - Lisa Nichols
Somehow, the idea that the Universe responds to clear and sustained intention seems obvious to me. Of course, we are inundated with fear thoughts and worst case scenarios, so its hard to keep an optimistic outlook, or it is?
A belief is an idea that has been rehearsed until it was accepted as true. Why do we believe there is a god (or, if we don't, why do we believe there isn't one)? Why do we believe that in the end Good will prevail (or, if we don't, why do we believe that Good is fighting a losing battle)? Why do we believe that we may have a soul-mate somewhere, or that medical science will eventually find the cures for most diseases? Why do we believe anything? Because we took an idea, held it and repeated it until it became part of us, and then we started to see evidence that our belief had merit. We may or may not have made the connection that the belief itself produced the apparent evidence.
If we practice optimism consistently enough, our outlook will more often than not be optimistic, and if that is our outlook most of the time, our experience (or at least our interpretation of our experiences) will be positive. It's as if we gave the Universe a clear request, and expected it to be fulfilled, and in time, of course, it was!
There is a Christian myth of a heavenly battle (there are similar myths in other traditions as well). The battle takes place between angels of goodness, and selfish, power-hungry former angels that have become diabolical beings. It takes a long time, but since the demons are outnumbered 2 to 1 and since the angelic beings don't give up, ultimately Good prevails and evil is defeated forever.
The myth seems to speak to the very "battle" between "good" thoughts (thoughts that empower, give hope, bring peace, etc.) and the negative thoughts (those thoughts that bring fear and despair and regret and shame). We must work to make sure that our "good" thoughts out-number the "demonic" ones, and even then, we must not give up too soon. Finally, Good must prevail and our lives manifest hope and peace and joy and abundance and vitality ("heaven").
So, we keep praying. We keep working. We keep hoping. We keep asking for what is just and good, and if our good is delayed, we keep praying and we keep working and we keep hoping. That's how we build up the angelic forces of consciousness that will eventually out-number all negativity and finally bring about the Good we all deserve.