Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Economy and Prayer

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Economy and Prayer

Article excerpt

Many people have been taught to believe that prayer is about asking for something, as in, "I need a car, so I'll pray for a car." Given the present state of the world's economy, some people may be also saying to themselves, "Where was God when I needed help paying my mortgage?"

Questions like these are important and encourage us to look more closely at what prayer is and what it does. Jesus' approach to prayer cut across what one of my friends refers to as the "determined outcome approach" to prayer. The few passages in the Bible on the subject record that his prayers were more about God rather than about a desired result or thing.

When he raised Lazarus from the tomb, for example, Jesus didn't ask God to restore his friend. Instead, he affirmed that God always heard him and his prayers (see John 11:41, 42). Evidently he understood the nature of God's love, and His ultimate control of every human situation, so well that he felt totally confident God would resolve the situation in the most appropriate manner.

Is it easy to trust God this much? It can be, if one has already seen proof of His care. But sometimes it's hard to let go and trust God's plan, especially if we formulate a particular outcome as the best way forward.

One thing that can help is to recognize that God is infinite Mind and that each of us is Mind's spiritual idea, a child of God. On the human scene, you and I may have a specific - and different - view of a given situation. You may know of resources that I'm unaware of, and vice versa. However, there may be other assets that we're both unfamiliar with. Briefly, we see some of the picture, but not all of it.

Jesus' teachings show that God is infinite and thus God can see the entire picture in a depth and richness that is beyond our human capacities. Once when he was in a rather intense discussion with one of his adversaries, Jesus declared: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). …

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